Kathy Galvin

Kathy Galvin


Kathy Galvin has served as a city councilor since 2012. She is currently in her second 4-year term. She is a registered architect, a former member of the Charlottesville School Board, and a member of the Friendship Court advisory committee. She has been closely involved with the redevelopment process.


The Housing Needs Assessment done last year reports the city needs 3,318 more units of affordable housing — what is that going to mean for residents?

That’s 3,318 more units of affordable housing — are we really talking about 3-4 times that, in order to satisfy the high-income market as well?

How can our current city zoning be updated to improve access to more housing?

Can high-income housing developments be used to finance low-income affordable housing?

How do you see race and income interact and affect neighborhoods where gentrification is occurring?

How does Friendship Court’s redevelopment plan fit into the Strategic Investment Area plan?

What do you think of the Friendship Court redevelopment process so far, and how does that fit into the?

Should every neighborhood be responsible for providing its respective percentage of affordable housing?

Does a developer’s decision to build affordable units on site or off site simply depend on financing for them?

What are the tools in the city’s toolbox that can help us build more affordable housing?

How can UVa contribute to the construction of affordable housing, could it offer some of its land?

How does redevelopment of low-income housing intersect with income disparities and economic hardship in the city? Can it be used as a job generator?

What does success look like for the city in your opinion?

The Reimagining of Friendship Court

By Jordy Yager

The redevelopment of Friendship Court is slated to be the largest new construction of low-income housing undertaken in Charlottesville in more than two decades. The plan alone is groundbreaking, having been directly created by current Section 8 residents in partnership with Piedmont Housing Alliance. City staff calls it the most nuanced and complex plan they’ve ever encountered. It ambitiously attempts to balance promises of zero resident displacement with the city’s broader affordable housing needs, while also calling for hundreds of new, likely higher-income, residents to move in, as residents hope to de-stigmatize the lasting effects of poverty born out of generations of racist government policy and neglect.

This year will be the make-or-break year for Friendship Court’s redevelopment efforts. Millions of dollars in city, federal, and private funding stand between the massive plan and the highly anticipated 2020 groundbreaking. And while the green lights have begun to align and most residents are excited, the plan has its critics — those who call for greater levels of resident autonomy, greater security measures to guard against social and cultural displacement, and greater reparations for past wrongs.

In crafting this project, we’ve tried to tackle all of this and more by separating the longer narratives into five major questions:

Part 1: What is the plan?
Part 2: How did we get here?
Part 3: Does mixed-income housing work?
Part 4: Who does Friendship Court belong to?
Part 5: What’s next?

But we also wanted to give you access to as much of our reporting as possible, so we’ve created a timeline that details the history of this area, dating back 150 years, through the use of more than 130 maps, documents, archived articles, and photographs. Similarly, we wanted you to actually hear each of the two dozen long-form interviews we conducted, and not merely the portions we’ve included in the individual stories. So we’ve included more than 300 audio clips throughout the story: in the articles, the timeline, and on each person’s profile page. Our hope is that with all this, more of the picture will begin to emerge, and that, as we stand ready to make powerful and significant changes in the city, we all can help craft the solutions.