Residents set to be impacted by St. Paul’s redevelopment get help from advocacy group


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — An organization for the advocacy of public housing residents held a forum for those who will be affected by the St. Paul’s redevelopment in Norfolk.

Can I Live, Inc. was founded in 2003 in Long Island,  according to its founder, CEO and president Racquel Williams Jones.

Jones says it’s made of those who have lived in Section 8 Housing.

“We advocate for communities we call homes. These are our homes and there’s no one that would best represent our homes than us, who live here,” she said.

Williams Jones says the organization received a grant from the Virginia Department of Housing to hold the event in Norfolk.

They discussed tips and knowledge to residents and public housing staff on how to correctly benefit from the system.

Norfolk resident Alton Robinson came to pass on information to his daughter, who lives in public housing.

“Housing choice vouchers would give them an opportunity to pass down wealth to their children,” he said about the vouchers Norfolk residents being relocated could receive.

Williams Jones says up to 1,700 housing choice vouchers could be given to those in the redevelopment area in the next couple of years and many landlords might not accept them.

Thursday’s forum was an opportunity to teach residents other ways to use the vouchers.

“It’s one of the best kept secrets that you can use Section 8 to purchase a home. We’re preparing residents to be prepared to seize the opportunity the voucher gives,” Williams Jones said.

Williams Jones says they plan on traveling across the state providing other public housing residents with the same information, but hopes to return to Norfolk to help with the transition.

She’s encouraged by the residents’ willingness to learn and hopes that they will see the community’s investments.

“Public housing is family to homes dreams, aspirations, visions. They’re home to people with children. They’re home to people with children and they’re home to people with plans, desires to live. So we’re saying can I live? Can I get a piece of the pie? Can you not bring a billion into my community and I never get a dime?” she said,

To learn more or to get help from Can I Live, Inc. You can visit their website by clicking here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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