Youth Center Renamed

posted in: Cardinal Village, Latest News | 0

BY MICHAEL LIVINGSTON
mlivingston@registerbee.com
(434) 791-7993

 

Affectionately called “Grandma” by the people in Cardinal Village, it only makes sense that Constance Covington, the community’s matriarch, will have the youth center named after her.

 

“I’m still on cloud nine,” she said of the ceremony. “I like doing what I do on a daily basis … to have something named after me and I see it before I go to my heavenly home, it’s really wonderful.”

 

The board of directors and staff of the Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority will have a building dedication to rename the Cardinal Village Youth Center after Covington. The event takes place on Saturday afternoon at 1004 Bonner Ave.

 

The youth center humbly began nine years ago in the summer of 2006 in Covington’s residence in Cardinal Village. It lasted there for six months before she took her endeavor to the first floor of an apartment building owned by the housing authority on Chatham Avenue from the fall of 2006 to 2011.

 

From 2011 to now, the youth center has been at its Bonner Avenue location. It was created by Covington as a safe place for youth.

 

“I wanted to give the kids a place to go that was safe,” she said of the youth center. “It’s for them to come in and get help with their homework and school projects, and share what was going on with them.”

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The center is open to youth from Cardinal Village and the surrounding area. Along with games, arts and crafts and tutoring, the center provides etiquette and social skills training, and movie nights.

 

“We don’t turn anyone away,” she said.

 

Residents “ages 2 to 80 call me Grandma,” she said. Covington does more for the Cardinal Village community than just give the youth a safe place.

 

She is the president of the Cardinal Village Residents Association and a member of the housing authority. She holds monthly meetings with residents and management to discuss upcoming programs and issues within the community.

 

At the end of the meeting, residents are offered snacks, medicine, vitamins and other necessities as their reward for attending, courtesy of God’s Pit Crew. At Tuesday’s meeting, close to a dozen packs of Gatorade were available.

 

Local businesses, churches and organizations donate items, funds and resources to Covington to assist her. Whatever money Covington raises, the housing authority will match the funds, she said.

 

“I’m excited, but [the kids] are really excited about this name change.”

 

 

Livingston reports for the Danville Register & Bee.

(Reprinted with permission from the Danville Register & Bee, originally printed November 12, 2015)

 

Homeownership Program to Expand

posted in: Latest News, Seeland Crossing | 0

502 Franklin St

BY DENICE THIBODEAU
dthibodeau@registerbee.com
(434) 791-7985

 

Becoming a first-time homeowner has its pitfalls — and people who have only rented often do not take into account the expenses they will incur above and beyond a mortgage payment.

 

Kim Walker, a homeownership case manager for the Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority, said new classes and counseling soon will be available to help people budget not only for their mortgage payment, but also for the myriad home maintenance expenses renters rely on landlords to perform.

 

The authority last month purchased 502 Franklin St., a circa-1960 brick building at the corner of Monument Street that once housed the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers local union hall and has most recently been home of Johnny Newman’s Kids4Life program.

 

By the middle of this year the building will become the Center for Housing Education, housing Walker’s new office, homeownership workshops, budgeting classes for teens — “They need to learn the importance of money,” Walker said — and a summer program for children.

 

“As soon as I saw the inside of that building, I knew it was perfect,” Walker said.

 

Part of the building will be used for office space and workshops, while the rest will give potential homeowners hands-on experience with some of the typical repairs around the house, from repairing dinged up wallboard to replacing the flapper in the toilet tank and cleaning gutters.

 

“It will be about basic home maintenance, inside and out, to maintain the house — and the community,” Walker said.

Programs will teach potential homeowners
:

 

  • what to expect when applying for a mortgage and how to do so successfully;
  • determine how much they can afford to budget for a house, including unexpected repairs;
  • offer one-on-one counseling for any snags the hopeful homeowners face.

 

There will also be some financial assistance for people who enter into lease/purchase agreements, Walker said.

 

Currently, the authority offers workshops for low-income renters who want to become homeowners, but this project will expand services to anyone in the community interested in homeownership.

 

“It will be a one-stop-shop to meet all the needs of all citizens,” Walker said. “It will be all about what you need to do to be a homeowner.”

 

Walker said she is looking forward to the expansion of the program and the challenge of getting it up and running. She said she hopes to see open its doors in June or July.

 

“It’s such a big project, but everyone who hears about it sees the need,” Walker said.

 

 

Thibodeau reports for the Danville Register & Bee.

(Story reprinted with permission from Danville Register & Bee, originally printed February 9, 2016)