Neighborhood Magazin (Summer/Fall Edition)

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Table of Contents The Front Porch Family First: Our Beginning

The Big Issue A New Era of Philanthropists Donate to VBCDC VBCDC Board Members

The Front


There is something magical about sitting on a front porch having conversations with family, friends and neighbors. On a recent afternoon on the porch, I asked my six year old granddaughter, Austyn, what having a home meant to her. Her answer surprised me. She said that having a home means that when you go home, you get to see people that you love and who love you. I could have not come up with any better description of our work at the Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation. A lot of people know that we build,buy and preserve attainable housing. This is true, but it’s not the whole story. We also help people change their hearts and minds to understand how their neighborhood can grow into a vibrant, inclusive interdependent community.

Addie Wright Thomason

Austyn went on to ask me how she can help people have beautiful homes. Immediately she reached into her purse and gave me three dollar bills. She said that she would not be happy until everyone had a home like hers. At six years old, my granddaughter had connected this issue with her very personal need to give a donation that was meaningful to her- all of the money in her purse. Austyn understood the urgency of providing more attainable housing in our community. She had the foresight to donate immediately.

Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation

VBCDC receives no operating funds from the city, state or federal governments. Eighty percent of our neighbors (our name for tenants) work every day. The cost of real estate and the maintenance costs for our scattered site rental property is skyrocketing. So more than ever, our continued existence relies on donors like you, who give what they feel is a meaningful gift. Too many of our families are couch surfing (moving from one family member and friends, homes to another routinely, in order to keep a roof over their heads), and having to make choices between paying the mortgage/rent and buying food/medicines because their home costs them more than 30% of their income. Let's work together to increase the availability of attainable housing and stop housing insecurity and homelessness in our great City. I encourage you to become a Sustaining Donor. Sustaining donors make monthly donations. These contributions can be made through an automatic monthly deduction from your credit card or debit card. The amount that you donate monthly must be a minimum of $10 a month. Giving is Easy To make a SUSTAINING DONOR PLEDGE.... To make a one time financial donation ... To make a donation of stock or land, please contact Raven Keenan at rkeenan@vbcdc. org . Thank you, in advance, for your generous donation.

President and CEO


Our Beginning

Devoted single mother, Claudia Campbell came to Virginia Beach Communtiy Development Corporation fully motivated to push herself to the next level and support her family. Today, she joins us to talk about her journey with the Transitional Housing Program and the Permanent Housing Program

My name is Claudia Campbell. I am a mother of five beautful girls and a Grandmother to a robust and happy grandson. My family and I resided in the city of Petersburg, Virginia. I was a full time employee with Securias, I was financially stable and had my own home. At that time, my daughter expressed interest in attending the Art Institute which was located in the Hampton Roads area. I didn’t want the family to be separated so I asked for a transfer to Securias Norfolk location.

I wanted to support my daughter’s dreams and I was ensured that I would maintain full-time employment. However, when I transferred, I was only given part-time hours. Due to the decrease in income, I could not afford to pay the majority of my rent. Eventually, my family and I were evicted from Emerald Point apartments. We moved from hotel to hotel and I at that point did not know what to do. My daughter’s school was aware of my family’s situtation and encouraged me to contact Connection Point. That is when I was referred to the Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation (VBCDC).

Image used is a “likeness” of the neighbor

We slept in our car for 3 nights until VBCDC provided us shelter. We remained in the shelter until we were placed in our Transitional Housing placement unit. While I was in the program, I recieved case management as well as encouragement. Prior to becoming a client, the agency helped me gain employment and ater I was able to find another job working at Portfolio Recovery Associates.

We love our Mom’s strength! This made me eligible for VBCDC’s Permanent Housing program. I was approved and VBCDC paid for my first month’s rent and security deposit. It may seem strange to some but, becoming homeless impacted me for the better. It taught me that I could make it on my own as a single mother. I am more thankful of things God has given me to be a steward over. And, my family are closer than ever through our trials and tribulations.

It pushed me to the next level. So what is my life like now you wonder? Well, I have two highschool graduates. I bought a brand new car. My daughter, Marquia obtained better emplyment and my other daughter Myia is a student at Regent University. The best of them all, I’m PERMANENTLY housed!

Life is less stressed, and I am more blessed!


HOMELESS AND DISABLED VETERANS HOUSING IN VIRGINIA BEACH The face of homelessness is no new epidemic to the State of Virginia. A Point in Time Count (PIT) was conducted at the beginning of 2017 to track how many sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals and families reside in the state of Virginia. Researchers found that Virginia had a homeless population of 6067. Out of that, 5059 were sheltered and 1008 were unsheltered. Veterans make up 30% of the Greater Hampton Roads area population. For over 20 years, it has been VBCDC’s mission to house homeless veterans in the Virginia Beach community. With over 425 [attainable] housing units located throughout the city of Virginia Beach that serves low to moderate income families, persons with disabilities, elderly persons, homeless persons and, veterans. Protecting our veterans, by making sure their transition back into civilian, life is vital. Some veterans have a hard time transitioning due to obstacles that they may face, including; addiction, mental health or, disabilities. Source: VHA Office of Mental Health. “Homeless Veterans.” Go to, 8 Mar. 2012,

Cedar Grove apartments developed by VBCDC was created to offer permanent housing to homeless and disabled veterans.



A New Era of Philanthropists

Philanthropy has been an on-going practice to support various avenues of life. Through Art, Music, Education or children, philanthropy has continued to be an act of kindness to help sustain causes that support our country. As technology advances, we move closer to gaining easier access to give to more causes and non-profit organizations that fit our wants, needs and, beliefs.

Millennials, however, are taking advantage of the many ways to give back. Whether it is on-site volunteering or a monthly gift, young philanthropy is becoming a growing trend amongst the younger generation. In this first issue of “Neighborhood” magazine, we will be spotlighting young philanthropists who reside in the Hampton Roads area. Our six “New Era Philanthropists” have given back to many national and local charities. Each individual highlighted in this issue has given time or generous gifts to many causes including “Operation Smile”, AIDS awareness and, local churches. As a whole, The “New Era Philanthropists” offer insight on how impactful philanthropy can be in our communities.

How do you define a philanthropist? A philanthropist to me is someone who invests in their community without the thought of personal gain. Why is individual giving important? Individual Giving is important because that is the first step to philanthropy. Groups give after they’ve heard about it from an individual who may have given which then leads to big organizations and companies giving. Have you or your family ever benefited from the work of a non-profit? How? How did that relationship change your perspective on giving? I have been privileged enough to not need help from many nonprofits as others, so that is something I am thankful for. But, environmental nonprofits benefit my family and I everyday especially living near the water. However, due to my privilege growing up, I make it my responsibility to give back as much and as often as I possibly can. How do you define community development? What community development needs does Virginia Beach have? Community Development is keeping the community healthy by avoiding poverty, safe with infrastructure and into a community. Virginia Beach is hurting for attainable housing options and tend to focus on tourism rather than focusing on the people who live here. I believe that is the main community development need in the area.

Attainable Housing Advocates often run into the “not in my backyard” issue. What can be done to minimize this response in our community? Its kind of hard to blunt the initial response. People tend to have preconceived notions about people and certain groups. It takes an effort to speak out for underrepresented populations. The way that I have always thought of it was, they’re going to end up in “your backyard” regardless, do you want them in houses or tents? Do you have any final comments? We have the opportunity this election to allow council to reflect issues that we deem important more than ever before due to the wide ballot. Make those issues known by using your voice. Keep in mind that you can vote for any bureau despite where you live. Hopefully you all will get out and vote and vote Mike Maskell for Lynnhaven.

Mike Maskell

39, Patent Examiner and USPTO Attorney at the Law Office of Michael Maskell Running for Virginia Beach City Council

Amma Guerrier

Executive Director of Treasury services at J.P. Morgan Chase What is your vision for Virginia Beach and Attainable Housing? What I would like to see is that there is ample [attainable] housing because we need that to maintain our fire dept, EMT’s, teachers, really it must be that availability to be able to live here. You can’t have all of these great services in the How do Millennials view city and have people live in a philanthropy? How does their giving strategies differ from that nearby city.

Why is giving to good causes important to you? How does it make you feel? It makes feel good and that I am doing my part. I truly feel that we all have to be there for each, I feel like we each have our own individual responsibility to do what we feel makes a difference.

of the baby boomers? I think there are more platforms to be able to give, text to give, Venmo, go fund me, the list goes on. There are so many ways that you can give electronically which makes it more easier and accessible for everyone to give money versus writing a check.

Is there a connection between developing the Oceanfront and the availability of attainable housing? Explain. As we develop the ocean front with the entertainment and efficient hospitality, I think that would make it more attractive. At the ocean front we could have new arenas, boardwalk and great hotels but those amenities may drive up housing prices. But, I think people are willing to pay more if there is great city infrastructure.

Is there a connection between attainable housing and recruiting more national and international businesses to VB? There is a definite link in accessible housing and recruiting national and domestic entities. Think about it, if I own a company and I’m looking at different places like VB or Charlotte,Iwouldlookatthepricesof Do you have any final comments? housing but, the availability of houses, Charlotte may have more “If we don’t step in, then who will?“ housing available. You want pricing but also availability.

Jessica Abbott

29, Kempsville Representative Virginia Beach City Council Member How do you define Community Development? The way I define Community Development would be making sure that we have neighborhoods where 3 generations of families can reasonably find a place to live in walking distance to each other. That’s how I like to see the way we build and reinforce our communities, which is by really creating that bond between families and have that mix of [attainable] housing. What are the community development needs in Virginia Beach? I think that VB needs diverse housing. It’s a struggle because we have a aging population and the other half is under 40, and that group of people are looking for more options in [attainable] housing. Outside of town-homes or apartments, there isn’t that many options for small families. VB does not have that mix of suburban and urban with close amenities. I think we need to redevelop VB in a way that puts amenities closer to families. People want a sense of community.

How is VBCDC currently playing in addressing those needs? What else is needed? I know that VBCDC created The Spot and I am a big supporter of that project. Your scattered housing project is beneficial as well. My husband who is an educator said that the biggest thing they talk about is the advocates for children in terms of letting them see diversity in success. This basically means that if we can show children those real-life examples of success and that it is what can be obtained.

From your perspective, is there enough attainable housing available in Virginia Beach? Why or Why not? No, I would disagree, I don’t think there is. The estimated median household income in VB in 2016 is 71k. There is a really great resource called that breaks down specific segments of the city. The data in VB has a household income that goes as low as 38k/yr. For there to be pockets of the city that has a low household income, where are they living?

What other challenges would you like to see VBCDC take on? I think that if we can challenge traffic and the way we address it in the city should be our focus and we should figure out solutions. I am putting together a Traffic committee that can help find more unique ways to deal with traffic calming. The city does it in a traditional way which isn’t right or wrong, but if you do what I do in the wee hours of the night reading blogs about traffic, there is a lot of technology coming out for different communities and how areas around the world are dealing with their traffic issues.

BEYOND THE BOARD | What was the first time in your life that you made a donation to a What role can VBCDC play in non-profit? How old were you? keeping more millennials who What organization did you give grew up here to stay here? to? It was a while ago, when I I think what VBCDC can do is to was back home in Zimbabwe, I spread awareness to millennials. Before I met Addie, I didn’t know used to make donations to organizations that were under I didn’t know anything about the national aids council. I was VBCDC and after I knew Addie, 18 at the time. I gave because I knew something about it and my mother works for the then I became more aware National aids council in my because of your social media. country at its very dominant, at But I think spreading awareness, that time it was 1 in 4 people helping millennials know that were affected by HIV. The there is an organization that concept was raising money helps with [attainable] housing to raise awareness, so people can retain the millennials in the would know that AIDs/HIV in the area. area. How would you define a Why is it important that more “Vibrant” community? As a millennials become millennial a vibrant community is philanthropists? I think it is a community where there is a lot important that more millennials of activity. For example, lets take because now I don’t think Norfolk and VA Beach, there is a millennials know how much lot of community-based events power there is in giving back. during the summer, a festival While you are in position of every weekend, things to do, privilege and you can get what places to eat and the you want, there are some accessibility. So, to me, a vibrant people that can strive and do community is a community that better from striving from you. builds its events that locals can go to and be a part of. What role does attainable housing play in making Virginia Beach grow and be a more Do you have any final inclusive city? I think that not comments? If I could say everyone is created equal anything to the world it would because of where you are from, be, people think thatIN you have to EXCELLENCE SERVICE, COMMUNITY AND LEADERSHIP what you do, everyday living have so much success in giving but and I think [attainable] housing you don’t have to have that much should give a chance to have 28, Financial Advisor the comfort of a shelter but to success in giving, you can give right Merrill Lynch be able to drive back into soci- where you are. You can start where ety. If you don’t have any shelter you are, giving your time and yourself helps more you know! BEACHthan COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION BOARD MEMBER its hard to become an effective and it VIRGINIA member of society because everything else begins at home.

Nompilo Nyathi

Courtney LaLonde

How do you define a philanthropist My definition of a philanthropist is a person or entity that donates time, money or resources to an important giving cause. Why is individual giving important? Individual giving involves people to be engaged in their community and in areas where it may not involve them. Have you or your family ever benefited from the work of a non-profit? How? How did that relationship change your prospective on giving? More than anything my immediate endeavors have received scholarships from non-profits, so I think that is the way we have been affected by non-profits the most. I also was on the board for a non-profit through my solo practice and I saw first hand what access to services can do for an individual or a community. How do you define community development? What Community Development needs does Virginia Beach have? I would define Community Development as, making communities as attainable as possible. Whether that be making sure that people have access to quality food, access to other services that may involve health, commerce, and even education. I believe that VB needs housing needs for attainable housing for all people. Access to quality schools for everyone regardless of living or income. Attainable Housing advocates often run into the “not in my backyard” issue. What can be done to minimize this response in our community? You know people fear what they don’t know and so, probably more interactions from people from certain backgrounds. I assumed that can be facilitated by events targeted to having people from different socioeconomic backgrounds interact with each other. It should be about taking the fear out what people don’t know.

Stephen Teague 34, Hampton Roads Attorney Law Office of Stephen V. Teague

What was the first time in your life that you made a donation? It was Operation Smile, and it would’ve been when I was working with my Dad Zero’s on 21st Street in 8th grade or when I was 13 or 14. I gave because that was a big charity that my dad liked to work with growing up and, I thought it was really neat how they could come in a and help these children with cleft lips out in different countries. Why is it important that more millennials become philanthropists? It gives them (Millennials) a sense of being to learn about the world today and get outside of their bubble especially if a lot of stuff is given to them. It can show them how to give back not only in their area but all over the world. There are so many charities that can help you and take you all over the world. You can help literally, any person in this world and start at such a young age. It can teach you how to grow and be selfless. What role does attainable housing play in making Virginia Beach grow and be a more inclusive city? Hopefully it can house a lot of people (children, homeless, Vets) in our own backyard versus having to venture outside our area. We kind of take for granted what’s in here in our backyard. Being able to take care of children, the homeless and disabled vets is a task in itself. What role can VBCDC play in keeping more millennials who grew up here to stay here? I think that we need to get some younger people involved and show them what our mission is and what we are trying to do with the VBCDC to help our area. And get more people to stick around to see the beauty and potential that we have here instead of running off to major cities. If we could adapt to that culture and lifestyle here, then I can see more people staying here and more sustainable housing here. Now, how would you describe a “vibrant” neighborhood? I would think a vibrant neighborhood would be fun and crazy, full of life and joy. And there are neighbors helping neighbors. Everyone being happy, joyous and free. Not worrying about locking your doors. A Club like experience. Everyone is just HAPPY! Everyone is working together for a common goal, which is to live life and not sweat the small stuff. More like a Dr.Suess-esq neighborhood, inspired by “Horton hears a Who”.

Michael Palacios 36, Senior Vice President of Business Development Priority Title and Escrow


Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation Board of Directors

Wanda Cooper Chairperson (Not Pictured) Tammy Hindle Courtney LaLonde Treasurer/Secretary Anthony Nero Terron Rodgers (Not Pictured) Richard White