ROANOKE, Va. – WSLS 10 News is about one month into this year’s “Home for Good” build as we work in partnership with Habitat for Humanity in the Roanoke Valley and generous community sponsors to build a home for a Roanoke native.
This year’s home and the work Habitat is doing is one part of a greater effort in Roanoke to invest in city neighborhoods and build up the community.
If you take a ride in Northwest Roanoke you can see the recent investments in the community, including the Feeding Southwest Virginia Community Solutions Center, the new Melrose Branch Library, Restoration Housing’s renovation of the Villa Heights Community Center and the Kiwanis Club of Roanoke’s all-inclusive playground by the library.
“There’s a lot of pride in what we’ve done over the last few years with the help of our partners,” said Keith Holland, the city of Roanoke’s Community Resources Administrator.
Holland said Habitat has played a big part in the work happening in Roanoke’s Northwest neighborhoods.
“Housing is what everyone needs, what everyone wants and is the catalyst for other economic development and human development throughout the city,” Holland said.
In 2014 the city started allocating funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Melrose-Orange Target Area, which encompasses portions of the Loudon-Melrose and Melrose Rugby neighborhoods. The purpose of the target area is to encourage investment in the community, with much of the work focused on improving housing conditions. It is a focus that aligns with Habitat’s mission to build affordable housing.
“By the time they’re done, they will have built 46 new homes,” Holland said. “That’s 46 families that five years ago did not have homes to live in.”
Brian Clark, Habitat’s Construction Director, said, “That sort of trickles down into other things and helps other opportunities come out in the community for economic development and other things. So lots of different partners in the community, it’s not just Habitat.”
Renovation Alliance, Total Action for Progress and Blue Ridge Independent Living Center are some of the organizations that have also been a part of the work in the Melrose-Orange Target Area.
As Roanoke’s target area now shifts to Belmont-Fallon in Southeast Roanoke, city leaders hope the work and investment happening in Northwest Roanoke are only the beginning.
“We couldn’t do it without the stakeholders, without the spark plugs out in the neighborhood that are driving a lot of this,” Holland said.