Pro Bono News

Local Organizations Working to Tear Down Barriers to Housing (VA)

Monday, September 16, 2019

Local Organizations Working to Tear Down Barriers to Housing

"Gary Woodson has spent his entire life in Charlottesville. Right now, he works at White Horse Auto Wash while spending as much time as he can with his 3-year-old son. Eventually, Woodson hopes to become a peer support specialist.

His life today diverges sharply from that of two years ago — a time during which Woodson cycled in and out of jail and slept on the streets.

“I made a promise to me in my jail cell,” Woodson said. “That I would get out, straighten my life up and be there for my son.”

A year out of jail and two years sober, Woodson now lives at Oxford House, a drug and alcohol-free rooming home, and uses a Charlottesville Area Rental Assistance Program voucher to cover the difference between what he can pay and the cost of rent. The assistance allows him to save what he can while he works to maintain his job, which can be difficult given a back injury he suffered when he was 15.

“When it flares up, I was unable to even stand or sit,” Woodson said. “I just have to lay down and just relax.”

The city started its CSRA program in 2018 to supplement the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, a federal subsidy controlled by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. While the Section 8 waitlist has been closed for years in Charlottesville, CSRA has helped 89 individuals and families secure housing in the city and Albemarle County since 2018..."

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