It seems like such a simple solution. Homeless people are at great risk on the streets, so move them into apartments. But setting it up involves incredibly complex planning and financing. That’s what Allison Bogdanovic lives for.
Her nonprofit has put together 353 units of affordable housing worth $46 million in six Virginia cities. It plans 101 more units worth $16 million within six months. Much of it is government subsidized, but tenants pay too. The units include on-site social workers available for care any time. The success rate is a remarkable 98 percent.
“We’re dealing with people who may end up dead if they stay on the street,” Bogdanović says. “The need is so great.”
Bogdanović left her Pennsylvania home in 1997 to attend the University of Richmond, where she picked up a business degree and summa cum laude honors. She also has a master’s degree in urban planning from Virginia Commonwealth University.
She started as an intern at Virginia Supportive Housing during her first semester at VCU — and stayed. Along the way Bogdanović has learned the labyrinthine ropes of tax credits, federal subsidies and private financing. Plus, she’s had some difficult lessons, such as one that cities in Hampton Roads take to regionalism more easily than localities in the Richmond area. “I believe Richmond is behind,” she says.
Among her new projects is mixing affordable housing for the homeless with low-income people. When not working, she enjoys traveling to Europe with her Austria-born husband, Stefan. She met him during a college semester in Vienna, she says: “He was assigned to pick me up at the airport.”