Home Nursing home Abandoned nursing home to become affordable housing community

Abandoned nursing home to become affordable housing community


RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – The former Seven Hills Health Care Center in east Richmond and Henrico will soon become an affordable housing community.

Funding of $23 million will transform the derelict building into a Cool Lane Commons affordable housing community. This is Virginia Supportive Housing’s first affordable housing project in Henrico County.

Henrico, Richmond and local religious leaders inaugurated the site on Wednesday.

It will offer 86 one-bedroom, one-bathroom units with kitchens for homeless or low-income people. A fitness area, computer lab and laundry room will also be included for residents. The renovation comes at a time when rising rents are forcing people out of their homes.

“In Richmond we live – we have 19-20% of people living below the poverty line. A number of our children live in poverty,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said.

It’s a growing problem, he says, that takes an entire village to overcome.

“We always try to divide and say ‘church and state and church and government can’t work together,’ but we see it can be done,” Gould-Champ said.

Gould-Champ has pastored Faith Community Baptist Church, located across from Cool Lane Commons, for nearly 30 years. She has had her eyes on the building since it closed in 2008.

“I knew we couldn’t afford that building across the street, but I knew what we didn’t want it to be. We didn’t want to be another store or another this or that,” Gould-Champ said.

The City of Richmond promised years ago that companies must include the church in all future plans for the building.

“Everyone was turned down until finally they sent Allison to me with Virginia Supportive Housing [and] their vision for affordable housing, and I immediately reached out to her,” Gould-Champ said.

Its community empowerment mission will continue by providing on-site services to residents trying to get back on their feet.

“It will help with that because there is a group that comes from shelters who will be living across the street, but there are also apartments for those who cannot find affordable housing, and that is the greatest need,” she said.

Cool Lane Commons is scheduled to open in 2023.

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