Don't listen to rocknightmare. He is a GUNNER.
(Happy Birthday, A!)
Although I am only a lowly rising D2, I have no major complaints about VCU so far. I think ItsGavinC was right on the money when he said that most schools have similar problems regarding faculty. I think you'll get as much out of your dental education as you put in, so just pick whichever school suits you best and has the most affordable tuition. Since you are a local, you should just stop on by for a visit and see for yourself what VCU is like. Maybe become a volunteer or something.
As for where to live, some of the nicer complexes downtown are Park Plaza at Belvidere (mine), Tobacco Row, River Lofts, Lofts at Canal Walk, President's Walk, and Monroe Properties. I know of at least one classmate living at each of these. The Fan is also lovely, but it is known for its historic architecture = OLD so whether or not your place is nice is a bit of a coin toss. The West End is very nice, safe, and affordable, but it is really freaking far away in my opinion. Good luck with your choice.