After learning about the Main Street Rockville from founders Jillian and Scott Copeland, a steering committee was formed to explore the viability of creating an inclusive, affordable community in Northern Virginia. Based on the statistics and the team’s own experiences, there definitely seemed to be a need for such a project and thus City Center NOVA was born.
The goal of the City Center NOVA mission is to work closely with the VA DBHDS (Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services), the VA HSS (Virginia Housing and Supportive Services) as well as local CSB (Community Service Boards) to help identify those City Center NOVA members most in need and ready to move to independent living. Once these individuals have been appropriately identified, we will help place them in thriving, integrated communities, in affordable housing, and support them through City Center NOVA membership and programming located within each housing complex.
City Center NOVA founders Paula and Joe Manion with Main Street founders Jillian and Scott Copeland.
A Phased Approach
Our goal is first and foremost to build the community through membership while working with our Affordable Housing Partners to reserve/set aside space for persons with ID/DD(Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) within apartment/housing complex’s that are close to vital services, such as transportation, grocery stores, retail shops and medical services. Finally, one day City Center NOVA hopes to have a place of our own where we can have a say in all aspects of the development of the community.
The Community Center
The Community Center is a place where City Center NOVA members can come to receive important vocational, therapeutic, and social programming and where other non member residents will also be able to participate if desired so that we continue to remain inclusive while educating the greater population at large about adults with disabilities. Each Apartment/Housing complex will have its own community space in which to carry out this programming. Non City Center NOVA members or persons who reside in the building may be required to pay a fee based on a sliding scale but will not be excluded from participating for financial reasons. We will work to obtain grants and funding through our partnerships to maintain this vital inclusive community.
The apartment communities will consist of a combination of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments. Each of these communities will have their own unique services or amenities so once we have signed a formal MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with our partners we will be posting photos and speaking to the community at large where these communities are located.
Within our current model as a partner with affordable housing corporations the most common scenario is that the entire building will be affordable with designated units set aside under the guidelines of affordability according to AMI(Area Median Income) including 30%, 40%, 50%, 60% and even at times up to 80% which gives us a beautiful, fully inclusive community.
With the enormous shortage of affordable housing, once the application process opens for a new apartment complex we will have approximately 50-60 days in which to help identify those members most ready to move to independent living. Therefore, it will be very important for City Center NOVA to work closely with the VA DBHDS, VA HSS, and CSBs to ensure we have correctly and fairly identified individuals most in need for movement to independent living. Once the 50-60 day time period has ended those units are open to the public, which is also very much in need.
The best way to ensure we have identified everyone is to have everyone join as a member and begin to take part in our events so we all get to know one another while learning about the complicated process involved for persons with disabilities to move to independent living.