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How should Central Virginia spend $1 million in housing-related funding? Area consortium wants community input

An aging mobile home sits across the street from a new house.

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.

Take the 2023 Housing Needs Community Survey by Feb. 19

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.

Logo reads "Short & Important"

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.)

Take the survey online now through Sunday, Feb. 19. It’s available in English, Spanish, and Swahili, with a Farsi language and print versions available upon request.

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.

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