November 5, 2008 — The Albemarle Housing Improvement Program has chosen Madison House, the student volunteer center at the University of Virginia, as the recipient of its 2008 Housing Hero Award.
The annual award honors a "remarkable person, household or organization in the community, one who exemplifies what it means to be a good neighbor and one who has put the lofty 'housing is a basic human right' sentiment into action."
This year, the award recognizes not only the efforts of Madison House's Housing Improvement volunteers, but also Madison House's historic support for the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program.
"Madison House's initial support was crucial when AHIP was but a ragtag group of U.Va. student volunteers, and later, a group of former volunteers wanting to start an independent non-profit," AHIP executive director Theresa Tapscott said. "And here we are, 34 years and 3,500 residents later, more than $15 million in outside funding leveraged and more than $30 million in goods and services purchased, all to benefit the most vulnerable and lowest income individuals and families who make Central Virginia their home."
"Their first office was our shed," Madison House executive director Kelly Eplee said. "Now they are one of the organizations making the biggest contribution to affordable housing in our community. It's an honor to be recognized as this year's Housing Hero and to work alongside AHIP in addressing our community's housing needs, especially during these financially challenging times."
Volunteers in the Housing Improvement program — one of 19 student-led programs at Madison House — give approximately three hours each week to projects addressing housing affordability and quality in the Charlottesville area. Last year, 81 students volunteered more than 1,800 hours to local housing improvement.
A similar number are registered and volunteering this year.