What are the most pressing housing needs in the area?
That’s what the Thomas Jefferson HOME Consortium is asking in an online survey open to anyone working or living in the City of Charlottesville, or in Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson counties.
The purpose of the survey is to help those communities determine how to spend federal tax money that’s been earmarked for housing, over the next five years. It includes questions about which services folks feel are lacking, and the types of challenges people have experienced in finding housing.
The city receives about $415,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding each year. It can be used for a variety of projects, including economic development, blight eradication, public services, home improvements, home visitability for people with disabilities, infrastructure improvements, anti-poverty programs, said Alex Ikefuna, director of community solutions in the city’s department of neighborhood development services.
Additionally, the region receives roughly $750,000 annually from the Office of Housing and Urban Development’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program. That funding is set aside for housing specifically, and is distributed evenly among all of the aforementioned localities, said Laurie Jean Talun with the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission.
HOME funding can be used for rental assistance and home repairs for low-income homeowners. It can also go toward developing both rental housing, or homes to be sold at an affordable price, for low-income households.
“While it’s a large sum, creating affordable housing is a high-cost endeavor,” said Talun, and in that sense, the funding is limited. “We don’t want people to think this funding will completely solve the national housing crisis.”
The consortium hopes the survey will help them understand what each community most needs, but it won’t be their only source of information. They’ve sought expertise from more than 30 individuals and organizations heavily involved in housing and providing services to people who are elderly, disabled, and/or experiencing homelessness. Data matters, too, so they’re using data about the housing market, Census Bureau statistics, and economic outlook reports for the region, said Talun.
(You can find data about Charlottesville neighborhoods in the Changing Charlottesville series as well.)
Anyone with questions or in need of assistance can contact Alex Ikefuna, ikefuna [AT] charlottesville [DOT] gov, or Laurie Jean Talun, ljtalun [AT] tjpdc [DOT] org.
While we can’t cover every story that’s important to you, we do our best to be responsive to your needs. We use tips from readers to choose which stories to cover, to incorporate information into broader reports or to help us decide how to grow Charlottesville Tomorrow. Here’s where you can tell us what you think we should be covering.
More about affordable housing
“One thing that has never been that great in Charlottesville or Albemarle is, there are no places for people like me,” said Angela Durrer, a former mobile home park resident. “I don’t make that much money in a year, and even still, affordable housing over there, there is none.”
Every parcel will have higher allowable density under this proposal. Some areas, especially those near downtown and UVA will have much higher density.
Exasperated community members ask: Why must Charlottesville choose between a new middle school and public housing?
“You can’t invest in housing without also investing in schools,” said Shymora Cooper. “The same kids that need housing are the same kids that are going to the schools that need the money.”
More local News
P. Renee Lloyd Pope has won three elections unopposed.
Voter Guide: Q&A with the only candidate to represent the Scottsville District on Albemarle County’s Board of Supervisors
Mike Pruitt says a housing crisis is the biggest issue facing Albemarle County.
City Council expresses support for creating a 10,000 square foot community garden in Booker T. Washington Park
Now officials must work with Cultivate Charlottesville to make it happen.
Deidre D. Martin ran against seven candidates in a 2018 special election; this year, she’s the sole candidate.
Voter Guide: Q&As with the two candidates seeking to represent the Palmyra District on Fluvanna County’s Board of Supervisors
Candidates James D. Schoenster and Timothy M. Hodge both emphasize diversifying the tax base, with different ideas about how to get there.