In 2007, Habitat purchased Southwood Mobile Home Park, a 100-acre wooded trailer park located in the Albemarle County Growth Area just south of the Charlottesville city line. Currently, Southwood represents the largest single concentration of affordable housing in our area. It has 350 trailers housing more than 1,200 residents.
Long-term, Habitat plans to redevelop Southwood into a model, mixed-income, transportation-oriented neighborhood for current and future residents.
Investment in Southwood
Since purchasing Southwood, Habitat has invested $1.5 million on deferred and emergency maintenance, including road improvements, sewer system upgrades and emergency electrical repair. In 2008, we partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Charlottesville-Albemarle to refurbish the community building at Southwood. The Community Building now serves as the hub of afterschool activities for Southwood children, the Habitat property management office and community meeting place where numerous partners from around the area provide needed services.
In 2009, Habitat hired a Community Coordinator at Southwood who is helping to better connect the residents with available local services and also prepare them for the transformation that will take place when Southwood is redeveloped. Groundbreaking for redevelopment at Southwood is anticipated circa 2016.
Commitment to Compassionate Redevelopment of Southwood
In October 2011, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville's Board of Directors made the commitment to redevelop the Southwood Mobile Home Park as a well-designed, sustainable, mixed income community of substantial benefit to the region guided by the following core values:
1. Non displacement: Facilitating healthy rehousing choices for each current resident of the trailer park.
2. Net increase in affordable housing: Causing a significant increase in the overall local affordable housing stock, responsive to the evolving regional need.
3. Community engagement: Creating a plan of development resulting from extensive interaction with Southwood residents - taking into account their needs, desires and abilities – and other stakeholders in the community (surrounding neighbors, County officials, etc.
4. Asset-based approach: Building on existing community assets by being responsive to what’s already good about Southwood, both socially and physically.
5. Self-help model: Basing redevelopment strategies on Habitat’s central belief that a “hand up” is better than a “hand out.” Redevelopment will include substantial opportunities for current residents and other low-income residents of the area to earn the chance to build and purchase Habitat homes and/or otherwise participate in the rebuilding of the community.
6. Fiscal responsibility: Managing the redevelopment process in a financially sustainable way that allows Habitat to continue with its core mission of building affordable homes into the future.
Ratified by Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville Board of Directors October 27, 2011.
The Roadmap to Redevelopment of Southwood
View the enlarged Southwood Road Map to Redevelopment here.