Affordable Housing & Poverty

Vanessa spent months along Jefferson Davis Highway to understand why hundreds continued to call motels along the corridor home, about a year before The New York Times wrote about the Richmond region's high eviction rate. Her continued coverage of the disparity in treatment for people along the corridor and other populations in the Richmond region used Census, income, FOIA, state education data and years of reports to trace the origins of age-old local and regional divides as well as ways to close the gaps. 

Special Report: Poverty and Housing Insecurity Along Jefferson Davis Highway

Hundreds of people, including children, call hotels along Jefferson Davis Highway home. Many live among roaches and mold. This months-long investigative project analyzed building inspection and health inspection databases to explore the national affordable housing crisis in this part of the Richmond region. It revealed gaps in local and state oversight that allowed the hotels to remain in poor condition while families became increasingly desperate for a roof over their heads. This package won first place for Special Section from Virginia Press Association.

The story of Stonebridge: 'It could have been the next Jeff Davis'

Gone were the days of parking lots full of Buicks and the glittering chandeliers inside Sears’ Crystal Room. The dilapidated Cloverleaf Mall sitting at a major gateway into Chesterfield was an eyesore in a county that prided itself on a reputation as Richmond’s prosperous southern neighbor. Stonebridge’s success story came a decade after the county moved with an urgency and proactiveness that the Jeff Davis corridor, which continues to trail other areas of the county, didn’t see.

He shifted his tassel from the Bon Air correctional facility Monday. Years ago, this moment was only a dream.

Joana DeLaRosa slid on her headband lined with gold roses Monday morning, the one that matched her golden-hued dress. Her eldest daughter decided on a floral-print white dress for the graduation, while her middle daughter put on a X-Men T-shirt. They lined up with the rest of the families wearing sundresses and suits, moving past the fences topped with barbed wire.

She thought foiled Chesterfield megasite plans meant her home would be spared. But a freeway may still come through her house.

More than 30 years have passed since Larry “Sleepy” Belcher returned from a Chesterfield County Planning Commission meeting to deliver the news to his friends: The county wanted to build a freeway in this part of southern Chesterfield, and it would likely take their house on Happy Hill Road. But they shouldn’t worry, Johnnie Humphrey remembers Belcher telling her and her husband, Earl. “‘The county won’t have enough money for it while we are still alive,’” Humphrey recalled Belcher, a planning commissioner at the time, saying. His prediction wasn’t entirely correct.
Top notch reporting on a serious local problem with strong photographs and nice design. Truly a news-driven special section.

Virginia Press Association judge on first place award for Special Section on Poverty and Affordable Housing along Jefferson Davis Highway