Better Housing Coalition
P.O. Box 12117
Richmond VA 23241
Mission Statement

The Better Housing Coalition changes lives and transforms communities through high-quality, affordable housing.

Web and Social Media
BHC's Winchester Greens Community
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Greta J. Harris
Board Chair Mr. Michael J. Schewel
Board Chair Company Affiliation Tredegar Corporation
Contact Information
Address P.O. Box 12117
Richmond, VA 23241
Telephone 804 644-0546
Fax 804 644-1057
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1988
Former Names
Richmond Better Housing Coalition1999
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expense Bar Graph - All Years
Expense Breakdown Bar Chart - All Years
Projected Revenue $15,332,042.00
Projected Expenses $12,930,502.00
Additional Documents
2015 Annual Report2015View
2014 Annual Report2014View
Annual Report for 20132013View
Annual Report2012View
Annual Report2011View
BetterNews Spring2010View
Annual Report2009View
Annual Report2008View

The Better Housing Coalition changes lives and transforms communities through high-quality, affordable housing.



  1. Our Board of Directors completed its national search for a president and CEO to succeed T.K. Somanath, who retired in June. They tapped Greta Harris, who has extensive experience with community development at the national, state and local level.  Following a successful transition, Greta has developed a solid plan for 2014 that focuses on strengthening our finances and building our capacity.
  2. In 2013, BHC opened its eighth apartment community for lower-income seniors, Somanath Senior Apartments at Beckstoffer’s. The 39 units are housed in two new-construction buildings on 28th St. in North Church Hill where we are focusing our transformation efforts. One of the two new buildings is a first in Virginia – a net-zero-energy multifamily building. The other has 32 energy-efficient apartments. All units are fully leased, and the speed at which they became occupied is an indicator of the demand for affordable senior housing in this community.
  3. The Church Hill Awakening capital campaign had a successful year as we strive to raise $2M by July 1, 2014, in order to meet a $1M challenge grant from the Cabell Foundation. At the end of 2013 we had raised $1.4M toward the match. We have produced more than half of the 150 homes that we committed to as part of this campaign.
  4. We made great progress in producing single-family homes in Richmond’s Blackwell neighborhood. We have two more to build in the first quarter of 2014 in order to complete the 40-unit total development that’s taken place over the last three years. We sell to first-time buyers who are 80 percent of Average Mean Income and work to secure grant subsidy as well as homeowner education.
  5. The YWCA partnered with us to serve as an ongoing provider of temporary apartment housing to women and children who are leaving abusive domestic situations. Previously the YWCA offered communal housing and, as a result, many clients would not use it. They have also set up their domestic crisis hotline at one of the apartments and staff it 24 hours/day. During the day, that apartment serves as center to coordinate services for the families in crisis.



Goals for 2014:


  1. Improve our financial stability. We have a debt-reduction strategy and are conducting a third-party review of our property management operations to improve our portfolio’s performance. 
  2. Completing the Church Hill Awakening campaign. The campaign has strong leadership and a healthy pipeline of prospects and proposals in play. We plan to build/renovate 14 homes in the City’s Model Block in North Church Hill with campaign funds (and 6 more in 2015).
  3. Secure tax credits for two projects totaling $13M. One is for new construction of 47 units in Petersburg; the other is for the rehab of 40 units on Cary St. in Richmond.
  4. Refinance Winchester Greens – our largest multi-family community– for a $5M project to rehabilitate 240 units.
  5. Refine our business model and complete a strategic plan. With third-party support, we are examining our programs, lines of services and partnership opportunities to adapt to the changing affordable housing landscape.



Capital Needs

  • $6.5M to develop 47 housing units in Petersburg’s Halifax neighborhood.
  • $6.5M to rehabilitate 40 of our older units in The Fan.
  • $5M for an occupied rehab of Winchester Greens.
  • $1.5M to develop 14 homes in North Church Hill.

Cash Needs

  • $1M general operational support and to build infrastructure and capacity.
  • $600,000 for our Community Social Work program that addresses the “changing lives” aspect of our mission.


  • We would like to create a volunteer program in order to leverage volunteers who can interact with our residents and take on special projects. We have resources to provide technical advice in program development, however, we will need a volunteer coordinator to manage it and we do not have money in our budget for this position.
Better Homes. Better Communities. Better Lives.
Affordable housing is the linchpin of stable and productive communities. With a healthy stock of affordable housing, workers can live closer to their workplace, saving time, money and reducing environmental impact. Low-income seniors can age in place rather than in institutional settings. Families can develop roots that strengthen the fabric of the local economy and civic engagement. 
The Better Housing Coalition’s (BHC) mission is to change lives and transform communities through high-quality, affordable housing. Revitalized neighborhoods have a tremendous impact on long-term health of communities. We transform blighted properties into affordable homes that are attractive, architecturally compatible with the neighborhood, and that are built to the highest standards of eco-friendliness.

Since 1988 we’ve enabled thousands of people of diverse backgrounds and incomes to rent or buy energy-efficient homes, to gain self sufficiency, and to take pride and ownership of their communities. The programs we offer help residents become more self-reliant and successful, thus reducing the public burdens often associated with poverty.

To ensure long-lasting change in the 18 communities we’ve developed, BHC maintains an ongoing, active presence. Our on-site community social workers address the varied needs of our residents and provide a wide array of free and voluntary services. We help residents realize big dreams -- such as attaining higher education and home ownership -- and we address big concerns -- such as access to quality child care and coordinating healthcare for seniors. We are proud that many children in our after school programs have become the first in their families to go to college, and we have no teen pregnancies among any of the children regularly attending our after-school programs (boys or girls).
Our unique not-for-profit model encompasses several entities under the BHC umbrella. Our wholly owned construction company ensures high-quality, eco-certified construction and commits to hiring local and minority sub-contractors. Our mission-focused property management company serves residents and maintains physical assets. We partner with public agencies, businesses, and community and neighborhood organizations to develop and support vibrant, award-winning communities.

Our redevelopment efforts have a catalytic effect and often attract developers to continue improving and stabilizing communities.

National organizations that have recognized BHC’s leadership in developing sustainable communities include the Fannie Mae Foundation, the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, and Partners for Livable Communities.

Areas of Service
Areas Served
Tri-cities Region
Metro Richmond
Richmond, City
Chesterfield County
Henrico County
Petersburg, City
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Michael J. Schewel
Company Affiliation Tredegar Corporation
Term Dec 2016 to Dec 2019
Board of Directors
Board Members
Mr. Neil Amin Shamin Hotels
Mr. Ronald A. Bertolini Genworth Financial
Ms. Freda Green Bolling BHC Home owner and Community Volunteer
Mr. Philip A. Brooks Berkadia Commercial Mortgage, LLC
Ms. Regina Chaney HOME of Virginia
Mr. Anthony Clary Central Virginia Healthcare Association
Mr. Richard Dickinson TowneBank
Ms. Jane Ferrara City of Richmond Economic & Community Development
Ms. Veronica Fleming Partnership for Families, Inc.
Mr. Randy B. Gonzalez Virginia Community Capital
Mr. Mark M. Gordon Bon Secours
Ms. Greta J. Harris Better Housing Coalition
Mr. Atma Iyer Capital One
Ms. Laura Dillard Lafayette Richmond Association of Realtors
Mr. R. Wheatley McDowell Richmond Capital Management
Ms. Penny Johnson McPherson Wells Fargo Corporation
Mr. Walter J. O'Brien Jr.Advertising, Retired
Mr. Michael J. Schewel McGuireWoods LLP
Mr. Kenneth J. Shepard CFAUS Trust
Mr. R. Scott Ukrop 3North
Mr. Todd Waldo Royall & Company
Mr. Michael Williams Park Sterling Bank
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 9
Asian American/Pacific Islander 2
Caucasian 10
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 15
Female 7
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 73
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Housing and Community Development
Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Advisory Board Members
Ms. Barbara Abernathy Community Volunteer
Mr. Karl E. Bren Green Visions Consulting, LLC
Dr. Gary T. Johnson Ph.D.Community Volunteer
Ms. Susan Smith Community Volunteer
Ms. Yvonne E. Spain Community Volunteer
Ms. Barbara B. Ukrop Community Volunteer
Property management is a key component of the services delivered by BHC.  The BHC Management Company operates under its own board of directors.  Also, BHC receives valuable guidance from its advisory committee, which is composed of former directors who have retired from the board.
Executive Director
Executive Director Ms. Greta J. Harris


Greta Harris is BHC’s president and CEO. As an established leader with hands-on experience in Richmond, Greta oversees BHC’s strategic growth and mission, and leads BHC’s operational areas of real estate development, construction, property management, community social work, fundraising and administration. Before joining BHC, she was vice president for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). In this role, she provided strategic and managerial support to 10 of LISC’s local offices in southern and mid-western regions. Prior to that, she was the senior program director for Virginia LISC. Greta serves on the City of Richmond’s Economic Development Authority and has been a member of the Federal Reserve Bank’s Board of Governors’ Consumer Advisory Council, the Virginia Housing Coalition, the Richmond Community Development Alliance and Seven Hills Boys Middle School. Among other community leadership roles she has held within the region, she is also a member of LMR’s Class of 1995. Greta earned her bachelor of architecture degree from Virginia Tech, and holds a master of science in architecture and urban design from Columbia University.


Former CEOs
Mr. T.K. Somanath Apr 1990 - June 2013
Senior Staff
Mr. Jon Barrett VP, Property Management
Ms. Chris Hairston-White VP, External Affairs
Ms. Julie Hovermale VP, Chief Financial Officer
Ms. Joyce Jackson VP, Community Social Work
Ms. Marilyn McAteer VP, Planning and Special Projects
Mr. Bernard Rogers VP, Real Estate Development
Full Time Staff 72
Part Time Staff 1
Volunteers 100
Contractors 2
Retention Rate 82
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Jan 2012
Management Succession Plan? Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Achievement AwardGovernor's Conference on Housing1997
HUD's Secretary Award for Excellence - Gold Award - Best in American LivingHUD1998
Mary Wingfield Scott Award for PreservationHistoric Richmond Foundation1998
Achievement AwardGovernor's Housing Conference1999
Achievement Award - Best Housing Related OrganizationVirginia Housing Conference2001
Community Excellence AwardRichmond United Way Services2001
Maxwell Award for ExcellenceFannie Mae Foundation2002
Leadership AwardVirginia Housing Coalition2002
Golden Hammer Award - Best Residential RenovationAlliance to Conserve Old Richmond Neighborhoods2005
MetLife Award - Property and Asset ManagementMetLife2005
Leadership AwardU.S. Green Building Council - James River Chapter2006
Blue Ribbon Model Community AwardNational Public Health Association2006
Award for Excellence for Affordable Housing Built Responsibly - Honorable MentionHome Depot Foundation2007
Richmond History Maker Award - Promoting Stronger CommunitiesValentine Richmond History Museum2008
Virginia Housing Award - Best Housing OrganizationGovernor's Housing Conference2008
Golden Hammer Award - Best Residential RenovationAlliance to Conserve Old Richmond Neighborhoods2009
Builder Award - Affordable Single-Family Builder of the YearEarthCraft Virginia2010
Investing for Good AwardCapital One Services, Inc.2010
Neighborhood Excellence Initiative – Neighborhood Builder AwardBank of America2010
Builder Award – Multifamily Renovation Project of the Year – Lincoln MewsEarthCraft Virginia2011
Humanitarian Award – T.K. SomanathVirginia Center for Inclusive Communities2011
Virginia Housing Award – Best AffordableGovernor’s Housing Conference2011
2011 Vision Awards – Sustainable DevelopmentUrban Land Institute Richmond2011
2011 Vision Awards – Best Overall ProjectUrban Land Institute Richmond2011
Excellence in Virginia Government Award - Community Enhancement - Lincoln MewsVCU L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs2011
Jack Kemp Excellence in Workforce Housing Award - FinalistUrban Land Institure2012
J. Timothy Anderson Award for Excellence in Historic RehabilitiationNational Housing & Rehabilitation Association2012
Virginia Housing Awards - Best Housing Preservation/Revitalization CategoryVirginia Department of Housing & Community Development2013
Best Practice in Affordable Housing NationwideU.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development2013
Sustainable Leadership Award: Multi-family New Construction Project of the YearEarthcraft Virginia2014
Best Environmental DevelopmentGreater Richmond Awards for Commercial Real Estate (GRACRE)2014
Best Affordable Housing Energy Conservation EffortVirginia Housing Awards2014
Best Residential ProjectGreater Virginia Green Building Council Leadership Award2014
Charles L Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award - Green HousingAffordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition2015


While services are available to all of our BHC residents, the majority of the children and youth we reach are residents of Winchester Greens in Chesterfield County and Lincoln Mews in the City of Richmond, where we have community centers.

We serve nearly 200 children in the two centers year-round in an active youth development program. The program provides homework assistance, character and leadership skill development, mediation education, career exploration opportunities and resume building skills. All age groups are able to learn valuable life skills and receive exposure to a wide range of professions through pre-vocational programs. These programs help youth learn about handling conflict, meeting supervisor expectations, financial literacy, and working toward long-term goals. Each November, a college field trip to nearby colleges and universities is arranged on a weekday when public schools are not in session, but college campuses are alive with students so they have the chance to observe college-student life.

BHC collaborates with Boys to Men Mentoring Partnership, a character-building non-profit organization for young men aged 12 – 17 who live in our rental communities. The program pairs adult male volunteers with the boys to provide guidance and serve as positive role models.

Through team-building exercises, activities and community service projects throughout the year, the boys learn leadership and conflict resolution skills and qualities such as integrity, accountability, respect and compassion. The adult mentors help each teen discover his own potential, and reinforce the concept of personal responsibility to self, family, and community along the way.


Population Served K-12 (5-19 years)
Budget $200,000.00

Lower income older adults need consistent and committed health and wellness opportunities and services in order to successfully age in place in their own homes in the community with a high quality of life, dignity, and less cost to society. BHC has 700 seniors living in eight communities. Their average age is 75, and 25 percent are between 85 and 103 years old. Their average income is $11,546, and 56 percent have incomes of less than $10,000.

BHC provides a comprehensive health and wellness program to seniors. Our goal is to help our seniors stay healthy and active so that they can successfully age in place. We assist seniors to target and maintain chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes through education, exercise and nutrition. We also offer entitlements assistance as well as programs and activities such as reminiscence groups, painting and writers workshops that stimulate the mind and memory. Our planning services assist residents with end-of-life affairs and hospice support for those who want to remain in their home during life-limiting illness.

The cost to provide these needed services to each senior is low -- $7,300 a year or $21/day including their rent. This is about one tenth of the cost to taxpayers if a senior had to move to a nursing home with public assistance. The funds are raised from the private philanthropic community, and for every dollar raised, another four are leveraged from community partners which make these comprehensive services to seniors possible. The majority of our senior residents remain with BHC for the rest of their lives.
Population Served Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens
Budget $350,000.00

BHC provides a myriad of services and supports for our adult residents. Vocational training and support services are an integral part of a total self-sufficiency plan. Targeted services are provided by our on-site social work staff who also leverage a wide array of community partners and resources. These services are available to residents in any of our communities, but our concentration has been at Winchester Greens and Lincoln Mews. The services help eliminate the obstacles that keep residents from successfully gaining and maintaining employment that can move families toward greater security and begin to build family wealth.

Population Served Adults
Budget $200,000.00

The affordable high-quality homes BHC constructs and rehabilitates provide first-time homeowners with low to moderate income access to equity and wealth building. Home ownership helps stabilize neighborhoods and is an important component of healthy communities. By embracing green building practices by building to EarthCraft standards, a certification program which serves as a blueprint for comfortable, energy efficient homes, homeowners have lower maintenance and utility bills. While BHC single-family homes incorporate modern green features, such as solar hot water heating systems, they are designed with classic architectural details which blend seamlessly with the surrounding neighborhood.

To date, BHC has built and rehabilitated more than 180 single-family homes throughout the metro Richmond region in neighborhoods including Church Hill, Carver and Blackwell.

Through various municipal and private organizations, down payments and closing cost grants are available to qualified buyers. These grants can reduce down payments to as little as $2,000. Our homeowners have 30 year fixed mortgages with monthly payments between $800 and $1000. We also ensure that all of our home owners have pre- and post-purchase counseling. In more than 17 years and 180 homes we have had only two foreclosures.
Population Served Families

BHC currently serves more than 3,500 residents in 15 affordable multi-family communities, including the eight communities for seniors. BHC operates its own property management company, BHC Management, to oversee leasing, property management and maintenance.

Like BHC's single-family homes, the multi-family communities are equipped with modern energy efficient features which reduce utility costs for residents, enabling them to retain more of their income.

BHC stays in each community it enters. BHC Management works closely with BHC's Community Social Work Department to ensure both the satisfaction and success of residents. Having a nice place to live in conjunction with support services truly changes lives and brings lasting transformation to the community.
Population Served Families
Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $15,332,042.00
Projected Expenses $12,930,502.00
Form 990s
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$767,555$395,432$403,773
Individual Contributions$1,776,249$1,253,975$1,669,980
Investment Income, Net of Losses$96,569$91,368$82,706
Membership Dues------
Special Events$51,058($15,464)($48,247)
Revenue In-Kind------
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$2,867,566$2,374,496$4,636,876
Administration Expense$419,671$445,911$272,726
Fundraising Expense$242,668$159,031$146,270
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.002.020.72
Program Expense/Total Expenses81%80%92%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue9%5%7%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$10,427,089$10,350,859$9,174,706
Current Assets$7,202,955$8,760,595$1,964,069
Long-Term Liabilities$509,798$525,925$2,167,348
Current Liabilities$158,784$55,718$267,197
Total Net Assets$9,758,507$9,769,216$6,740,161
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities45.36157.237.35
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets5%5%24%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit ExemptionView
Foundation Comments
  • Consolidated financial statements represent the financial position of the Better Housing Coalition and its affiliates, Richmond Affordable Housing, a developer of affordable single family dwellings and BHC Management, which operates and maintains the rental properties of the Better Housing Coalition.
  • Form 990 represents solely the financial position of Better Housing Coalition.
  • Audited financial statements and Form 990 prepared by Dixon Hughes Goodman.