From Blight to Bloom:Carver's Revitalization

Neighborhoods in Bloom, is a revitalization program created by the City of Richmond to stabilize neighborhoods. The Carver neighborhood is one of six communities chosen by the city for revitalization.

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  1. Neighborhoods in Bloom, is an award winning neighborhood revitalization program in the City of Richmond. Created in 1999, the program aims to reduce blight, increase homeownership and encourage private investment to stabilize struggling neighborhoods. 
  2. Funding for the program comes from the allocation of 80 percent of the $7 million the city gets in federal housing funds. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation which helped the city implement the program did a write up of how the program works. 
  3. In order to qualify for revitalization efforts, neighborhoods had to have high levels of crime and poverty. The city also took into consideration the quality of houses, the number of vacant properties and the percent of homeowners in a neighborhood. 
  4. Carver, Newtowne West, Bellemeade, Blackwell, Swansboro and Churchill Central all qualified for Neighborhoods in Bloom.
  5. Carver is an historic neighborhood that was once prosperous. It declined after racist practices by banks prevented homeowners from qualifying for loans to repair their homes. Homes became dilapidated, causing the city to raze over 400 houses to make way for Interstates 64 and 95, which displaced residents. 
  6. I-64 through Richmond, VA
  7. As a side note Interstate 64 is still expanding...
  8. Through the help of community development corporations, like Better Housing Coalition, a nonprofit housing organization around 70 new homes have been built in Carver.  
  9. Better Housing Coalition
  10. A comprehensive study was commissioned by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond to track the progress of the program five years after its inception. The program was heralded as a success.
  11. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, from 2000 to 2005, house values increased by 10 percent in all six neighborhoods, crime decreased by 19 percent and over 400 homes were in the process of being built and sold.
  12. Neighborhoods in Bloom was awarded the HUD Secretary's Opportunity and Empowerment Award in 2006. 
  13. Although the program has been nationally recognized it has declined in the past seven years. This has led private investors to buy some of the homes and land left in Carver to create student apartments. Thus, decreasing the creation of single-family homes meant to increase homeownership.
  14. The campus that ate Richmond?
  15. Eugene Trani, the former president of VCU, signed an agreement in 1996 with the Carver Association agreeing to provide the community with educational, medicinal and security support. In exchange for the right to expand the university further into the community. 
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