Grant funding to help Southwood revitalization

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A project to revitalize a local low-income community has received a big boost in a grant from Wells Fargo.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville received a $100,000 Neighborhood Revitalization Learning Cohort grant, which will support the nonprofit's partnership with Southwood Mobile Home Park residents to improve the Albemarle County community.

According to Habitat, the Southwood community is the area's largest concentration of low-cost housing with about 1,500 people living in the 120-acre mobile home park.

While the residents do own their homes, they do not own the land on which they sit, which makes them vulnerable to redevelopment and displacement.

The mobile homes are also aging and facing deteriorating infrastructure, which Habitat says makes the future of the mobile home park unsustainable.

Habitat bought Southwood in 2007 and has promised to redevelop the community without displacing any residents.

Since 2007, Southwood residents have been working with Habitat on a neighborhood revitalization project that will change the mobile home park into a mixed-income, mixed-use community of more than 800 homes.

The community recently got rezoning approval from Albemarle County for the first phase of construction, and the work is now focused on developing plans for the first neighborhood with groundbreaking slated for late next year.

In 2010, Habitat for Humanity International launched its Neighborhood Revitalization program in order to meet the aspirations of local communities.

This program offers various housing services and partners with residents, housing leaders, community groups and businesses to transform and enhance the quality of life in communities like the Southwood Mobile Home Park.

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