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HILOA and the Danville, VA Metropolitan Statistical Area

HILOA plans to develop and deliver a community including a midrise multifamily building for low- and moderate-income seniors 50 years of age and older and townhouses for low- and moderate-income families. 100% of the units will be affordable and meet Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification standards.


The community will primarily serve families in the districts of: 

  • The city of Danville 

  • Pittsylvania County 

  • Henry County 

In this third decade of the twenty-first century, the Danville MSA enjoys a hot job market with approximately 1,600 job openings. The approximate percentages of job openings by jurisdiction are as follows: 

  • Danville, VA: 57% 

  • Pittsylvania County, VA: 29% 

  • Henry County, VA: 14% 

In 2024, Caesars Entertainment will open a hotel, a casino, and an entertainment venue on the south side of Danville. The projection for permanent job creation for the Caesars Virginia venture is 3,000. In addition to hospitality, gaming, and entertainment, the most common job openings in the region include: 

  • Manufacturing 

  • Healthcare 

  • Education 

  • Retail 

  • Transportation

Historically, Danville benefitted from two healthy economic engines – tobacco and textiles. Tobacco was vertically integrated, from seedlings to warehousing, curing, and sales. In fact, during the first three-quarters of the twentieth century, the city of Danville and surrounding counties were nicknamed the “World’s Best Tobacco Market.”

Dan River Fabrics, Inc. was one of the world’s largest textile manufacturers. Most of the corporation's fabric manufacturing and product finishing was done at numerous sites

within the Danville city limits.


Tobacco and textiles, along with some other smaller manufacturing and service enterprises, allowed the population of Danville and the surrounding areas to thrive financially, including owning modest homes. However, the 1980s ushered in the demise of both of Danville’s major economic contributors. The vast majority of the textile industry was exported offshore. Tobacco use in the U.S. dropped off precipitously, virtually eliminating tobacco from Danville’s economic landscape.


The rapid decline of Danville’s most prominent industries and supporting services in the 1980s resulted in a corresponding population decrease. With the decline in the job market came a drop in the demand for housing. Some residential pockets fell into disrepair while property values across the MSA stalled or, in some cases, declined.


Recently, the area has begun to experience an economic renaissance. The historical and geographic value of the region is gaining prominence. Coupled with the Caesars Virginia location decision, the MSA urgently needs new housing units. The need includes pent-up demand for market-rate units and an acute shortage of affordable housing. According to a 2022 study funded by the West Piedmont Planning District Commission, the combined affordable housing shortage for the region is approximately 6,000 units.


Several initiatives are underway to address this affordable housing shortage in each of the jurisdictions in the MSA. The Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority is building new affordable housing units. In 2022, the West Piedmont Planning District Commission was awarded a $2 million grant to help fund the construction of new housing units in the region. The expectation is the grant will create over 200 new housing units. Pittsylvania County is working to attract developers to build new affordable housing units. 


Henry County provides financial assistance to help people buy or rent homes. Additionally, in Henry County, the Landmark Group is building a 52-unit apartment complex in Martinsville, VA. These initiatives are making a difference, but the region's housing shortage will continue for the foreseeable future despite these efforts. More must be done to address the affordable housing shortage in the area.

HILOA is in a position to help address the problem of the shortage of affordable housing in the region. Our team is developing plans to deliver two hundred to three hundred affordable green housing units, including a mid-rise seniors-only (age 50+) facility and townhomes throughout the planned community. All structures will be 100% Platinum LEED Certified. Transportation in the community will allow for electric vehicles (EV) only with charging stations throughout (including townhome garages). EV shuttle services to public transportation, schools as needed, retail, etc., will be available.


The site on which HILOA plans to build the community is approximately 70 acres of undeveloped land. The site must undergo thorough infrastructure entitlement iterations (impact assessments, planning, zoning, permitting, etc.) approvals. The objective is to build a new, carbon-neutral community.

Like the Danville MSA, many communities exist nationwide, especially in the so-called “rust belt” areas. This Virginia HILOA development will serve as both a pilot and a scalable prototype for replication to address the twin real and existential crises of the affordable housing shortage and climate change. Bold, large-scale action is needed urgently.

The HILOA vision will require public/private partnership action:

  • Federal – especially HUD, DOT, Commerce, and EPA 

  • State – Virginia Housing (the Departments of Housing in other states, respectively) 

  • Local – Housing Trust Funds and Local Housing Authorities 

  • Private donations to nonprofits like HILOA (donor tax credits and deductions) 

The HILOA business model is innovative in the affordable green housing space because of the perpetual aspect of unit delivery. NOTE: HILOA never impugns the work of other entities; the work of all giving nonprofits is essential - temporary food and shelter are always in need in times of storm. 

The HILOA programs are structured to enable families to grow their wealth. When a family thrives beyond needing HILOA, the funds to aid them on their journey will be redeployed to assist the next family needing help. The family advancing on their wealth-building trajectory can:

  • Purchase the home they live in (rent-to-own savings plans facilitated by HILOA). 

  • Purchase a different home of their choosing using their rent-to-own savings,  freeing up the unit for HILOA placement of another family needing affordable green housing.

Alongside the delivery of housing units, HILOA encourages the acceptance of assistance from the wraparound services we offer: 

  • Workforce development and training 

  • Home economics skills and training 

  • Financial literacy, credit, and banking training 

  • Training on home purchasing, mortgage lending, and wealth building 

HILOA delivers affordable housing to families earning from extremely low incomes (ELI) to 80% of the area median income (AMI). Our client families are the pillars of their communities, from hourly wage earners handling food and keeping spaces clean to higher earners in the AMI range, like nurses, teachers, and first responders. HILOA families’ monthly cash outlay for housing (rent or mortgage) is 30% or less of the family’s monthly income.


HILOA also provides green housing to deliver environmental protection and sustainability in conjunction with affordability. Green housing components aid families in keeping their monthly costs lower.


There are financial tradeoffs between conventional and LEED-certified construction. The LEED cost premium is approximately 1% to 2% per square foot. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, Platinum LEED Certified buildings consume an average of 26% less energy and generate 40% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional buildings.


A study by the New Buildings Institute found that the average utility cost per square foot for Platinum LEED Certified structures is $1.45, compared to $1.98 for conventional units. The difference is $0.53 per square foot or a savings of 27%. The HILOA minimum standard is Platinum LEED certification.

Ardith Collins

Executive Director, HILOA

Office: 703.962.7764

Mobile: 703.625.0183


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