Community Celebrates Seaside Harbor, the First-of-its-Kind Affordable Housing Community in Virginia

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA - Mayor Bobby Dyer joined Virginia legislators, business leaders and nonprofit partners to celebrate Seaside Harbor, Virginia Beach’s newest affordable housing with a special purpose. Co-developed by The Lawson Companies and Samaritan House, Seaside Harbor utilized Virginia Housing and Development Authority (VHDA) Special Initiative Pool funding to create a unique housing opportunity serving multiple purposes - for families with developmental disabilities, families with accessibility needs and for the workforce at the oceanfront.

Located at 509 18th Street in the ViBe Creative District, the new 76-unit apartment building replaced two aging 1960’s-era complexes 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.  

After three years of searching for funding and interviewing developers, the Samaritan House board of directors selected The Lawson Companies. Lawson secured the following funding to make this community a reality 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

The proximity to the oceanfront resort and the amenities offered in the ViBe Creative District are extremely favorable to residents. Seaside was designed with 19 fully-accessible apartments (25% of inventory), 11 of which were set aside for residents with developmental disabilities.  Industry average for ADA-accessible units is just 5% to 10%.

Currently, Seaside Harbor is 100% occupied with workforce from Virginia Beach and eight people with developmental disabilities who receive services through Hope House Foundation. The Lawson Companies invited Samaritan House to become a co-owner, and their organization benefits from a large portion of the community’s proceeds.

“At Lawson, we strive to positively impact the communities we serve and Seaside Harbor is an excellent example of this,” said Steve Lawson, chairman of The Lawson Companies. “We believe that this is a model that can be replicated in other areas of Virginia to demonstrate how effective partnerships can provide much needed affordable housing. We are very proud of the homes and opportunities we’ve created at Seaside Harbor.”

“Not only did Seaside Harbor meet a need for Samaritan House, it filled a housing gap for individuals with disabilities in the community,” said Robin Gauthier, executive director of Samaritan House. 

“The high cost of housing is the main barrier for people with disabilities to participate fully in community life,” said Lynne Seagle, executive director for Hope House Foundation. “This partnership aligns the interests of The Lawson Companies, VHDA and the people we support who have chosen to live in the ViBe Creative District and be part of this dynamic community.”

"Seaside Harbor is an incredible amenity to the oceanfront at large, and we are lucky that it landed in the ViBe District where many artists, young entrepreneurs and service industry staff can take advantage of a dynamic live-work neighborhood just blocks from the ocean," said Kate Pittman, executive director at ViBe Creative District.

About The Lawson Companies: At Lawson, we understand that what we do – and how we do it – affects the everyday lives of people we care about. Since 1972, we’ve focused on positively impacting the communities we serve, from team members and residents to investors and business partners. We manage and own approximately 5,500 units in VA and SC and have approximately 1,200 new units in development. Our business model provides vertical integration of development, construction, property management and asset management, which enables our team of experts to add value at every stage for our partners. When you act with integrity, focus on quality and work to find creative solutions, great things are possible. It’s how we’ve done business at Lawson for over 45 years. For more information, visit www.lawsoncompanies.com

About Samaritan House: Since 1984, Samaritan House has provided emergency and permanent housing, support services and community outreach to victims of violence and homeless families in the Hampton Roads region. We own and operate 12 emergency shelters for individuals and families fleeing violence and those at risk of losing their homes. Samaritan House utilizes a holistic approach to meet the needs of victims and their children. Our clients receive support through case management, counseling, victim advocacy, nutrition assistance, transportation, access to medical care and vocational training. We assist children and youth to establish healthy relationships so they can ultimately break the cycles of violence. For more information, visit www.samaritanhouseva.org

About Hope House Foundation: Since 1964, Hope House Foundation has worked on the frontlines of the battle for independence, community inclusion and true citizenship for people with developmental disabilities. The organization provides services for adults exclusively in their own homes or apartments. Currently, Hope House Foundations serves more than 125 people in Norfolk, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach. Hope House is known as an innovator and leader in the field, and in 2008, it received the American Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities national award for full community inclusion. In 2012, it was named ANCOR Foundation’s Service Provider of the Year. For more information, visit www.hope-house.org

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