Virginia Beach Welcomes Apartments Built to Serve Families With Accessibility Needs

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Developer uses a mix of funding and sustainability construction to help familes with accessibility needs.

A unique, oceanfront apartment community opened recently in Virginia Beach, created to serve families with developmental disabilities, families with accessibility needs and the workforce.

Co-developed by The Lawson Companies and Samaritan House, the 76-unit Seaside Harbor utilized Virginia Housing and Development Authority (VHDA) Special Initiative Pool funding to create a unique housing opportunity.

After three years of searching for funding and interviewing developers, The Lawson Companies was chosen. Developers used this mix of funding and followed “green” energy-efficient construction to receive an EarthCraft certification:

  • Low Income Housing Tax Credits allocated by VHDA
  • VHDA low-interest mortgage REACH financing
  • VHDA Special Initiative Pool (SIP) funding to create housing for families with developmental disabilities in support of the Supreme Court’s 1999 Olmstead v LC decision

Located in the ViBe Creative District, Seaside Harbor replaced two aging 1960s-era properties owned by Samaritan House. The previous 39 units were no longer economical to maintain. However, they still provided much needed flow of rental income essential to operate Samaritan House’s programs and services for the community.

Seaside was designed with 19 fully-accessible apartments (25 percent of inventory), 11 of which were set aside for residents with developmental disabilities. The industry average for ADA-accessible units is just 5 percent to 10 percent.

Currently, Seaside Harbor is fully occupied with workforce from Virginia Beach and eight people with developmental disabilities who receive services through Hope House Foundation.