Pictured from left are WPPDC staff members Sean Campbell, housing programs director, Michael Armbrister, executive director, and Brandy Dudley, regional housing planner.
Martinsville, Va. — The Harvest Foundation is funding a three-year investment of $75,000 at the West Piedmont Planning District Commission (WPPDC) to support its Regional Housing Initiative by adding a housing planner to the organization.
“This is a unique opportunity for Harvest to invest in a regional position shared among several organizations and service regions,” said DeWitt House, senior program officer at The Harvest Foundation. “With multiple funding partners at the table, this position is poised to maximize resources and leverage more dollars back into our community. We are excited to build capacity at the WPPDC and support housing from a regional perspective.”
House also said an added benefit to supporting this initiative is the chance to partner with Danville Regional Foundation, which provided a matching grant to fund the housing planner position.
The WPPDC was created by local governments to find regional solutions to challenges that impact its member jurisdictions, which include Franklin, Henry, Patrick and Pittsylvania counties, the cities of Martinsville and Danville, in addition to Rocky Mount.
As the need for quality housing grows throughout the region, the WPPDC Housing Initiative will launch with three key programs: a regional housing assessment and plan, a $2 million Affordable Housing Development Program, and capacity building to ensure that there’s someone thinking about regional housing opportunities every day.
Michael Armbrister, WPPDC’s executive director, said their goal is to develop a housing department that can facilitate the ongoing regional discussion around housing challenges, generate attainable solutions, and implement those solutions by obtaining funding and administering projects.
“Our housing team will bring together a network of partners across the region to serve as experts with common goals and the ability to partner on real solutions for housing,” Armbrister said. “The grant from The Harvest Foundation is critical to the success of the WPPDC Housing Initiative, and we value the foundation’s support of our communities.”
During the first two years of the housing initiative, the housing planner will focus solely on housing projects in Henry and Pittsylvania counties and the cities of Martinsville and Danville. In the third year, the planner will explore housing development opportunities in other WPPDC localities. The commission plans to fully fund the housing planner position in year four and beyond.
In addition to working on housing production/creation, and creating homeownership opportunities, this position will work with local governments to create a strategic pipeline and source funding for housing projects that will address a broad range of housing needs in the area.