Renovations at Lynchburg’s Shalom Apartments complete

News & Advance LogoAlicia Petska | Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 ♦

Mixed into the sedate browns and grays that decorate Sherika Poindexter’s home are four pops of eye-catching blue — new placemats the mother of two bought to celebrate their new apartment.

“I want to get some curtains, too,” she said as she sized up the living/dining room. “I need to get some more blue.”

Sherika and Joy Poindexter

Sherika Poindexter helps her daughter Joy, 5, tie her shoes in her bedroom at Shalom Apartments in Lynchburg, Va. on June 4, 2014. Poindexter and her family moved back into their renovated apartment this spring after The Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship, a local non-profit housing group, completed remodeling the apartments for low-income tenants. (Photo by Autumn Parry)

Poindexter and her daughters, ages 5 and 8, for years have lived at Shalom Apartments, an affordable housing complex owned by local nonprofit Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship.

This year, the 46-­unit development underwent a top-to-­bottom renovation – its first in decades. The $3.5 million overhaul brought in new roofing, wiring, floors, windows, and all new energy-­efficient fixtures.

“Everything is new,” said Connie Snavely, associate director of Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship. The renovation is part of a larger push the nonprofit is making to fix up its oldest properties. In 2011, it renovated the circa-­1911 Lynchburg High Apartment buildings.

Last week, it received word it was approved for low-­income housing tax credits to forge ahead with improvements at Frank Roane Apartments, a development serving elderly tenants.

Low-­income housing tax credits were used at Shalom Apartments on Federal Street along with Virginia Housing Development Authority financing.

Sherika Poindexter

Sherika Poindexter cleans her kitchen table in her apartment at Shalom Apartments in Lynchburg, Va. on June 4, 2014. Poindexter and her family moved back into their renovated apartment this spring after The Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship, a local non-profit housing group, completed remodeling the apartments for low-income tenants. (Photo by Autumn Parry)

The Shalom Apartments work — which wrapped at the end of May after about six months of construction — both refurbished outdated facilities and introduced new cost-­cutting fixtures expected to help tenants save on their utility bills.

The renovations were done to the standards of EarthCraft, a green building group. Lynchburg High tenants saw anywhere from a 20 to 60 percent drop in their monthly bills after the renovations. Old baseboard heaters and drafty windows have been replaced with central heat / air and new airtight windows. The wiring and plumbing in all five buildings comprising the Shalom Apartments also were redone.

“It’s going to be a drastic improvement,” Snavely said. “… It’s hard to believe six months ago we were just getting started, and here we are.”

The renovation retrofitted five apartments to make them ADA-­compliant, a goal long thought unreachable because of the heavily staircase-­dependent design of the development. Until now, Shalom Apartments had no ADA units. The five created in this renovation line the back of the property on the Harrison Street side of the block.

Crews created new entrances to the apartments from Harrison Street and added sidewalks and ramps with handrails. Three units already have been rented out.

Some finishing work still is needed at the apartment complex, including completing an ADA parking lot and rebuilding a playground.

Poindexter said she and her daughters — who got matching pink­-and-­purple bedspreads to celebrate – love their new fixed-­up apartment. “It’s really nice,” she said. “Me and my kids have a roof over our heads. Everything is good.”