Editor’s note: Initially, this article incorrectly connected the September 21 HUD inspection of Midway Manor to the renewal of the Section 8 contract, but they are not related. The story has been corrected to reflect that information.
Last month, Charlottesville Tomorrow confirmed that the owners of Midway Manor, a subsidized apartment building for seniors and folks with disabilities, was in the process of renewing its Section 8 contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
At the time, the terms of the new contract hadn’t been hammered out, but a HUD official has now confirmed that the new Section 8 contract is for two years.
The previous contract, established in 1981 when the building opened and apartments were first made available for rent, was for 40 years.
Since Charlottesville city councilors discussed Midway Manor’s expiring Section 8 contract in a public council meeting last year, residents and community members have been wondering — and worrying — about what would happen to residents, all of whom are on a fixed income, should the owner choose not to renew the Section 8 contract.
Many were hopeful that those concerns would dissipate with a new contract, but the renewal for only two years has not done much to assuage those fears.
“Losing Midway Manor would be a catastrophe to the Charlottesville affordable housing market,” said John Sales, executive director of the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority (and former housing coordinator for the city).
“The property provides nearly 100 subsidized units to the market. If these units are lost it will add additional stress to the subsidized affordable housing market. We have nearly 1,000 families on our Housing Choice Voucher waitlist and over 1,000 on our Public Housing waitlist. We need to keep every current affordable unit while adding hundreds of units each year,” said Sales, adding, “the CRHA is prepared to play a larger role in the affordable housing market in Charlottesville.”
Midway Manor is owned by Midway Manor LLLP, based in Williamsburg, Virginia, and is managed at a corporate level by W.H.H. Trice and Company. Neither ownership nor corporate management have responded to interview requests from Charlottesville Tomorrow, including ones for this story, since we started reporting on recurring elevator outages and more in May.
The four-story building, located at 100 Ridge Street in Downtown Charlottesville, has 98 apartments (94 one-bedroom, four two-bedroom), plus a ground floor that contains a lobby, mailboxes, and a common area that has been blocked off since spring 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began.
HUD temporarily suspended inspections of HUD-assisted properties during the pandemic, but, the official noted, they’ve been resumed under Secretary Marcia L. Fudge, who took office in March 2021. “The health and safety of residents in HUD-assisted housing is a top priority of this administration and Secretary Marcia L. Fudge,” the official wrote in an email, and resuming inspections is a way “to ensure we identify and mitigate unsafe conditions.”
The Midway Manor property underwent a HUD inspection on September 21. According to a HUD official, the department’s Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) conducted the inspection, which covered “the property site, building exterior, building systems, common areas and a random sampling of apartment units.”
The official said that “HUD has successfully awarded the contract to the owner, securing affordable housing for Midway Manor residents for the next two years. HUD’s primary goal is to continue providing decent, safe and affordable housing to the residents for many years to come.”
However, since the September 21 inspection, Charlottesville Tomorrow has received multiple reports of elevator outages, including one on Saturday.
Longtime resident Mary Carey asked, “How did the building pass inspection when the elevators break down once a week? The building itself is filthy. The stoves and fridges are old and half-way working. Drywall peeling off in most apartments. […] How did it pass inspection?”