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Hills & Heights

New CARITAS Center is helping change the way Richmond thinks about affordable housing

This month, an old tobacco manufacturing plant is becoming a home. Richmond area volunteers and experts are making beds, cleaning floors, and more inside the future home of the CARITAS Center. As a part of the nonprofit’s plan for the space, 47 sober living apartments will welcome men and women transitioning from a crisis and into a stable, sober life.

RVAHub Staff

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This month, an old tobacco manufacturing plant is becoming a home. Richmond area volunteers and experts are making beds, cleaning floors, and more inside the future home of the CARITAS Center. As a part of the nonprofit’s plan for the space, 47 sober living apartments will welcome men and women transitioning from a crisis and into a stable, sober life.

This is important for a few reasons, according to the nonprofit.

Right now, half a million Americans are homeless. There is only enough affordable housing available for 25% of that population. Experts suggest that number has the potential to swell up to 45 percent before the year is over as a result of widespread unemployment amid the global pandemic.

Additionally, recent data from law enforcement agencies in Richmond, Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico shows a nearly 60% increase in overdose cases when comparing the first six months of 2019 to the same period this year. Nationally, more than 35 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality since the pandemic began, according to the American Medical Association (AMA). Reduced access to treatment and recovery services are cited among the reasons for this surge.

Affordable housing can help. People who suffer some substance use disorder make up 64% the homeless population, according to NCH. An affordable and supportive housing community is one of the most important factors to successfully reducing relapse rates.

Richmond-based nonprofit CARITAS has been working to fight the intertwined issues of homelessness and addiction since 1987. Last year alone, the organization served more than 4,000 people and provided 80,720 nights of shelter across its four programs. The addition of a sober living community to its family of programs is an exciting way for the organization to continue innovatively solving some of our country’s most challenging issues.

The nonprofit worked with a local designer Flourish Spaces to bring the concept to life. Every aspect of successful recovery housing and shelter environments have been infused into the final designs. The Flourish Spaces team also took cues from “residential and hospitality spaces as a jumping off point.”

“We didn’t want it to feel institutional,” owner Stevie McFadden said. “We also didn’t want it to feel traditional–there is nothing traditional about this organization. It is innovative.”

When completed, the 150,000 square foot building will feature:

  • CARITAS: The organization’s administrative offices will be centralized at this site.

  • The Healing Place for Women: A substance use recovery program available to low-income women in the region, a sister program to the agency’s current program The Healing Place for Men.

  • 47-Sober Living Apartments: For graduate’s transitioning and for qualifying community members.

  • Furniture Bank: A social enterprise accepting furniture donations and refurbishing them for sale or donation to low-income households.

  • Emergency Shelter: This new facility will replace the mobile, congregation-based model that has operated in the Richmond region for more than 30 years.

  • CARITAS Works: A workforce development program for men and women facing significant barriers to employment.

 

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Tacky Lights Carwash at Tommy’s

Clean car and check out over 50,000 lights at Tommy’s.

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Fresh off their successful haunted carwash Tommy’s Express (7048 Forest Hill Ave) is getting all lit up for the holidays.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and Tommy’s Express Richmond is going to ensure you get into the Christmas spirit!

Starting Friday, December 11th the express car wash will be hosting a Tacky Lights Car Wash! Decked out in thousands of lights and holiday décor, the wash will be transformed into a winter wonderland! There will be over 50,000 lights, animations, music, and even a mail box to send
your Christmas wish list to Santa!

For $20 per car you can get a top wash and experience a magical event! TommyClub Members admission will be included in the cost of their monthly wash membership.
A unique experience and Covid safe.

Tommy’s Express Tacky Light Car Wash will be taking place daily, starting Friday, December

11th, to Sunday, December 27th; 5pm – 8pm. Closed on Christmas.

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Learn More and Voice Your Opinion on Proposed Casino

The citizens of Richmond will have the final say in whether to bring a resort casino to Richmond via a voter referendum expected to appear on the November 2021 ballot.

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In January of this year, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe announced plans to build a casino resort on 36 acres of land near Ingram and Commerce Avenue. The tribe is in the process of securing all the land necessary. If everything goes according to plan the resort will be the home to a 275-room hotel, 1,000 space parking lot, restaurants and of course gambling. The estimated cost of the project is $350 million.

In April 2020, the Virginia General Assembly authorized 5 cities to allow full-service casinos to operate in their jurisdictions. The General Assembly Law requires that the proposed casino operator/site be approved by a voter referendum. In November 2020 Danville, Norfolk, Bristol, and Portsmouth voters approved casino operators/sites to establish in their cities. The City of Richmond is issuing an RFQ/P to select an operator and site. Following the City’s selection of a preferred operator and site, the citizens of Richmond will have the final say in whether to bring a resort casino to Richmond via a voter referendum expected to appear on the November 2021 ballot. For more information, visit www.rva.gov/economic-development/resort-casino.

Take the survey here to give your opinion of the effort.

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Friends of Rattlesnake Creek Protesting City Plans

The city has a plan for Rattlesnake Creek but a group of citizens believe that the city’s efforts are misguided. 

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Rattlesnake Creek flows into the James River right at the edge of Huguenot Flatwater. As with many creeks in our area, it has issues dealing with erosion and sediment. The city has a plan for Rattlesnake Creek but a group of citizens believe that the city’s efforts are misguided.
The Friends of Rattlesnake Creek outline their issues below and are urging folks to sign their petition.
  • The City of Richmond wants to remove over 100 mature trees from Rattlesnake Creek in a harmful, misguided attempt at “restoration.” The trees and understory span several acres and serve as a wildlife corridor, while also providing natural protections to the water quality of the creek. The stated goal of this ill-conceived project is to reduce sediment from erosion that flows into the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Although reducing dissolved sediment in our water bodies is important, it’s become increasingly clear that the real motivation – to collect tax credits at any cost – has seriously undermined any potential restorative value of the project.
  • The lack of foresight demonstrated in this “restoration” plan is anything but restorative. It sacrifices the local ecosystem and attacks the problem at the symptom level, not the source. It does not address the real issue of watershed remediation, and comes at great cost to ecosystems and taxpayers.
  • Best Management Principles were not followed. No Site Assessment was conducted. No Environmental Impact Report was done. The information needed to make an informed decision was not presented at public hearings.
  • Previous stream restoration projects the City has undertaken have had questionable outcomes; improperly stabilized banks have washed out in high water events, invasive species have negatively impacted new plantings, and newly planted trees have died due to lack of care.
  • The tax credit money the City would receive for this project will not make up for the ecological destruction that this shortsighted project will cause at taxpayers’ expense.
  • There’s still time to protect Rattlesnake Creek! Other RVA restoration projects, including the Reedy Creek Project, were abandoned or discontinued after citizen’s made their voices heard.
More information can be found here.

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