The FWD #199 • 650 Words
Want to fund an affordable housing initiative that won’t break the bank? Look no further.
Funders and localities often get overwhelmed trying to find the perfect gift to give their community when it comes to affordable housing. We here at HousingForward Virginia have extensively researched all the best deals this season, so you can get those wallets to work and make someone’s holiday season very special.
Start an awareness campaign like Loudoun Workforce Housing NOW.
The Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties built a multi-year community-awareness campaign highlighting the need for workforce housing. With the use of paid advertising, marketing consultants, editorials, a website, promotional videos and an influential advisory committee, the campaign makes Loudoun residents aware of the need for more housing and affects policy change.
The campaign began with a group of concerned community leaders who “agreed that to work in Loudoun should also enable someone to live in Loudoun—because housing is foundational.” A campaign like this focuses on policy change which can lead to hundreds of new affordable housing units created over time.
Is your community in need of greater awareness when it comes to affordable housing needs? Something like the Workforce Housing NOW campaign could help fill that gap.
Commission a comprehensive housing needs study with policy recommendations.
In 2021 the City of Harrisonburg joined the club and completed a comprehensive study of what housing they need, where, and how to accomplish it. The study described 21 different local policies and programs that could be created to help increase housing. Each policy was tailored to the specific needs of Harrisonburg. This housing study acts as a strategic plan for City Council and administrators which are now undertaking the task of implementing many of the strategies.
If your locality or region needs to figure out what its housing needs are and how to address them, contact us to learn more about what HousingForward can do.
Dedicate vacant land to affordable housing like the University of Virginia.
In 2021, UVA announced it would transfer several properties it owned to create between 1,000 and 1,500 units of affordable housing for Charlottesville and Albemarle County residents. It has convened stakeholders, issued RFPs and short-listed developers capable of executing on its affordable housing mission.
Land is one of the biggest costs of building affordable housing. If your locality or organization has unused or underused parcels, consider making them available to developers who agree to your goals.
Pilot a Senior Rent Relief Program like the City of Alexandria.
One year of the budget for the City of Alexandria’s senior rental subsidy program falls under this $1M mark. The program offers up to $500 a month in cash to low-income renters who are either 65 and older or permanently disabled without any other form of rental assistance. This helps keep over 100 low-income seniors housed in the resource-rich, transit-rich City of Alexandria.
From 2010 to 2019, Virginia’s 65-and-over population increased by over 383,000—that’s more than an entire Chesterfield County’s worth of seniors. Meanwhile, the median household income for householders age 65 and up in Virginia is more than 40% lower than for householders between 44 and 64. That’s a big difference—but a senior rent relief program is a great way to put some of that back into elderly Virginians’ pockets.
Or this year’s hottest gift, help make a Zoning Atlas for your region.
A fashionable new update to HousingForward’s Virginia Zoning Atlas is the must-have of the season. We just filled out the Hampton Roads portion of the map, and in 2024 we will be working on the Richmond and Petersburg regions while the Mercatus Center tackles Northern Virginia.
The Atlas unlocks many different research and advocacy opportunities that we hope will lead to better zoning for more abundant and more affordable housing. If you’re interested in helping us bring the Atlas to your region, get in touch.