Southwest Virginia Population decline 2010-2018.

Federal Loan Helps Build New, Welfare Town Homes in Wytheville

by Lewis Loflin

Re: High Meadows Town Homes Rural Development Event

January 12, 2010 Let me understand what is going on here. The taxpayers will shell out as much as $9.5 million in corporate welfare and loan guarantees so a private developer can rent to mostly Section 8 welfare recipients? And like all of this kind of housing working people that earn a living I'm sure will be barred from renting them. And I'll bet anything they will refuse to check the immigration status of the renters. Let's see $9.5 million divided by 60 equals almost $160,000 per unit. on Wytheville:
Median price asked for vacant for-sale houses and condos in 2008 in this state: $286,347.
Median contract rent in 2008: $464 (lower quartile is $262, upper quartile is $627)
Median rent asked for vacant for-rent units in 2008: $402
Median gross rent in Wytheville, VA in 2008: $560

The cost of renting these new units will range from $375 to $575 per month. This is no radical change from existing rents, so why are the taxpayers funding this? It seems a lot of people won't rent to Section 8 renters and for good reason.

To quote Mr. Boucher:

I am pleased to join you in Wytheville today as a new, federally funded housing development opens, which will provide high quality, affordable homes for Wytheville residents. The new High Meadows Town Homes fill a great need in our community-the need for high quality, affordable rental housing.

The town homes will provide more housing choices for families who may not be able to afford to purchase a home in the Wytheville area. The new town homes have been built with the assistance of a federal guaranteed loan of $2,125,000 provided at my urging by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through its Rural Development Agency for which we will be presenting a certificate today.

This amount represents the first loan guarantee made through the Agency's Guaranteed Multi-Family Housing Loan program in Virginia. The program provides a federal guarantee for loans made by a private lender in developing high quality affordable housing.

With the benefit of the federal guaranteed loan of $2,125,000, High Meadows Associates, which is based in Radford, has constructed a town home community here on East Main Street in Wytheville. The community includes ten one-bedroom, twenty two-bedroom, and thirty three-bedroom town homes. The cost of renting these units ranges from $375 to $575 per month.

The total cost of building the new High Meadows Town Homes was $9.5 million. The construction and financing of the new homes is the result of a cooperative effort on the part of a number of partners. In addition to the federal guaranteed loan, the Virginia Housing Development Authority has provided tax credits to High Meadows Associates in the amount of nearly $700,000 annually over a ten year period.

This amounts to more than $6.8 million in equity to help with financing the new construction. I am pleased to note that new town homes are now available for rental by residents.

Virginia's First Multi-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Provided by USDA

A standing room only crowd welcomed Congressman Rick Boucher of the 9th District in Virginia and Ellen M. Davis, State Director for Rural Development at the January 12th funding event in Wytheville, Virginia. The ceremony highlighted the very first USDA Guaranteed Multi-Family Housing loan in the state. "The new High Meadows Town Homes fill a great need in our community-the need for high quality, affordable rental housing" said Congressman Boucher during his remarks.

The new town homes were financed by a $2.1 million dollar guaranteed multi-family housing loan made by Lancaster Pollard Mortgage Service. The total cost of the project is over $9 million dollars and will provide 60 new modern, energy efficient one, two and three bedroom apartments to the Wytheville main street corridor.

Submitted by Vern Orrell, Assistant to the State Director, USDA Rural Development, VA Jan 14, 2010


To quote the Bristol Herald Courier (June 11, 2008),

A third of Bristol's residents need affordable housing, said Mayor Jim Rector, and "public affordable housing is the way to go. In private housing programs, the only goal is profit, while public programs do what is best for residents."

To quote Rex Todd of Winston-Salem, N.C.-based The Landmark Group, "Rather than have the working-class people sequestered on one side of town and the rich on the other side of town, the idea is to integrate people..." More here...

To quote Washington County supervisor Paul Price, "The rich get richer, and the poor never catch up." More here...

Fat bonuses for failing institutions

(AP) Despite belt-tightening and possible layoffs, the University of Tennessee still plans to pay nearly $416,000 in bonuses to 202 employees who raise money from alumni and donors. The bonuses are for raising $184 million in donations in 2008, surpassing the year's goal by $9 million and putting UT $44 million ahead in a seven-year schedule to raise $1 billion by the end of from vacant positions has been used to pay the bonuses, but those vacant positions will be gone as UT works to trim $60 million to $100 million from its budget because of declining state revenue. January 28, 2009.

Fat Salaries and Cutting School Budgets

The Bristol Va. City Council and the School Board are pondering what to do for fiscal 2009-10 and see a world the press calls, "dark and gloomy." Their real fear is how much in cuts they face with Gov. Tim Kaine (Democrat) in his fighting with the Va. Senate over their almost $3 billion deficit. (Washington County Virginia leaders I spoke to are also fearful.)

School leaders (Bristol Va.) have submitted a draft plan of their own budget that seeks the same $8.87 million in city funding for the current fiscal year and claimed, "I promise you, when you see our budget, it will be basic with no frills." They fail to mention the absurd salaries they pay themselves.

Yet while the City plowed millions in corporate welfare into retail and tourism development in backroom deals, reality has finally hit for City Manager Bill Dennison: "It's not just Richmond. For every business that closes, that's a hit on our sales tax. For every restaurant, that's a hit on sales and the meals tax. Sales tax revenue has been down for some time and even the meals tax, which had been flat, has begun to decline." He failed to mention the corporate welfare and silly land deals that cost more than what they collected.

See Nicewonder Property Fiasco in 2009: $2.5 million Tax Dollars Wasted

Mr. Dennison has notified department heads to expect budget reductions, once the budget process begins in February and reports are coming in about other businesses in trouble. School Superintendent Ina Danko (who makes an absurd $95,000 plus salary) "outlined for the board an ongoing effort to reduce utility costs by turning out lights, turning off computers, lowering thermostats, buying energy-efficient light bulbs and closely monitoring transportation costs.

The majority of our budget is salaries. Our budget is much like the city's, where 83 to 85 percent of our costs is personnel." No kidding. Government jobs pay far more than most private sector jobs do in Bristol. Ref. BHC January 28, 2009 extracts plus additional information.

Back to History, Causes of Poverty in Southwest Virginia

To quote Lenowisco Broadband Study Warned against Call Centers (PDF file):

"The region has been replacing traditional (better paying) manufacturing jobs with (low paying subsidized) call center jobs, which provide limited advancement and work opportunities. Call centers represent the factory floor of the Knowledge Economy; they are an important part of a diversified economic development strategy, but the region must be careful not to rely too heavily on them, as the work is easily moved to other regions and/or other countries."

Lenowisco Broadband Study Warned against Call Centers (PDF file)

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