October 22, 2019 News & Features » Cover Story

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Matthew Morgan, 29 

Deputy Director of Neighborhood Revitalization at Project: Homes

click to enlarge mattmorgan2.jpg

Scott Elmquist

Although an intern as recently as six years ago, Morgan has gone on to take a leadership role as deputy director of neighborhood revitalization, managing the owner-occupied home repair program and the new construction division at the nonprofit Project: Homes, where he creates innovative solutions to community problems and helps grow their programs.

“I have a passion for home repair of existing affordable housing, which is often overlooked” Morgan says of addressing the repair needs of longtime residents, in addition to those of the new people being attracted to the city.

Realizing that Richmond’s oppressive heat can be as dangerous as its cold weather, Morgan created Project: Homes’ Keep RVA Cool Emergency Cooling Initiative to provide air conditioning units to low-income families during summer months. The program has taken off, with 40 units installed in 2016 in public housing and 408 units installed through the financial support of Dominion Energy this past summer.

Morgan says that his interest in housing sprung from his family’s city vacations with his wheelchair-bound sister who had cerebral palsy. Watching how his father moved her through the cities made him wonder who oversaw making things easier in urban environments.

“In college, I found out that it was the job of urban planners to change these things,” he recalls. “But seeing her interact with the world informed how I approached things ever since. Solutions are there to be found.”

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