Local Research Supports Statewide Goals

The FWD #178 • 490 Words

While no two places in Virginia have the same housing needs, our research reveals some clear patterns.

Have you ever come across a great housing study that just happened to be published for a community on the other side of the state? Maybe it makes you a little jealous that you can’t find one for your hometown. No judgment from us—these documents are very helpful resources.

Luckily for you, there are pretty good odds that a housing report for your neck of the woods has been completed in the past few years. We may have even been part of the team to work on it!

Find a study from your area on our Local Housing Research page.

On our new Local Housing Research page, we’ve begun to compile the first and only collection of local and regional housing studies from across the Commonwealth. Some examples include:

  • The New River Valley regional housing study we recently completed with Virginia Tech,
  • Our eviction data analysis for Danville, and
  • The Communitywide Housing Strategic Plan for Fairfax County.

Along with these local and regional reports, we’re also including links to statewide housing studies from recent years. A wide range of public agencies, nonprofit groups, and research consultants have all played a part in authoring these documents, often with significant citizen involvement.

Virginia is investing in local and regional capacity to plan for housing.

Why do we have so many housing studies to collect from across the state in the first place? One major reason has been the growing support from Virginia Housing and DHCD for collaborative planning initiatives. Much of that support has started to flow through planning district commissions—many of which have not been previously involved in housing. These regional planners have stepped up in a big way, and are now responsible for distributing millions of dollars for affordable housing.

Virginians experience common challenges, from the hollers to the bay.

While every community throughout Virginia is unique, there are some clear similarities across this growing collection of research. Last year, we did our best to synthesize some of the major themes and takeaways from all of these efforts as part of the HB854 Statewide Housing Study.

The five challenges we found were:

  1. Not enough housing options for seniors,
  2. Dwindling affordable homeownership opportunities,
  3. Low inventory of apartments for both low-income and moderate-income renters,
  4. Limited diversity of housing types, sizes, and locations, and
  5. Increasing need to repair and maintain aging housing stock.

There’s plenty more to come.

Can’t get enough housing studies? You’re in luck. Today, there are reports in development for the Central Shenandoah, West Piedmont, Southside, Central Virginia, and Hampton Roads PDCs. Stay tuned for their releases over the next couple of years.

We wouldn’t be surprised if we’ve overlooked some studies, too. If you would like to make sure one is added to our toolkit, or would like to talk with us about exploring housing research in your community, please contact us.

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