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Housing Agency celebrates renovation, expansion of New Clay House

RICHMOND, Va. -- A long-time supportive housing agency recently celebrated the renovation and expansion of its flagship property.

Virginia Supportive Housing (VSH) cut the ribbon on New Clay House (NCH) on May 7 after the completion of the $19-million dollar project.

NCH was first converted into supportive housing apartments in 1992 and provided 47 units to homeless single adults. Along with providing housing, VSH provides on-site supportive services.

"What we provide is ongoing support for our residents, just to continue to build confidence in themselves," said Aaron Alexander, VSH's Lead Case Manager. "A lot of our residents don't have access to, or don't have knowledge of the resources that are available to them in the community."

VSH's executive director, Allison Bogdanovic, said back then it was groundbreaking literally and figuratively.

"Considered to be, sort of an experimental type of housing for people who experience homelessness and 30 years later, we know it's evidence-based and a real proven solution to ending homelessness," added Bogdanovic, who said that 97-percent of their residents do not return to homelessness.

Since NCH was opened, VSH also opened 16 other properties across the state. Bogdanovic said they took everything they have learned in those 30-plus years and applied it to the revamped NCH.

NCH took control of the building next door and allowed them to increase to 80 units. 67 of the units are for homeless individuals and 13 are for individuals who make 50-percent or less than the Area Median Income.

Each unit also grew from 150-square feet to 350-square feet and each now has its own full kitchen and bathroom. Previously, residents had shared kitchens and shower facilities. Bogdanovic said people can now also control the heat and air-conditioning in their own units versus having one unit for the whole floor.

"We've found over the last 30 years is giving people more independence makes them more successful and so they're able to dictate their own schedules," added Bogdanovic.

The new NCH also have a fitness room, computer room, commons room and on-site laundry services

Bogdanovic said now that NCH has been finished, work can focus on VSH's next project: an 86-unit supportive housing complex in Henrico County on the site of the old Seven Hills Nursing Home.

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