Our Affordable Housing Crisis
The Greater Charlottesville region does not have adequate housing for many of our working families. The statistics are dramatic:
- More than 700 families are on a waiting list for public housing, which is intended to be the local housing "of last resort." Instead, it has become destination housing for those who can't afford market rate housing.
- The waiting list for housing choice vouchers is more than 300 families, despite the fact that there has been a moratorium in accepting new applications since 2008.
- Hundreds of children in Charlottesville-area schools are considered "homeless," meaning they lack stable housing and may have slept in a shelter, outside or doubled up with other families during the school year.
- Approximately 4,000 families in the City of Charlottesville spend more than half (50%) of their income on housing.
- There are currently 245 households on the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program (AHIP) rehab and repair waiting lists.
Central Virginia is a desirable place to live. As a result, housing and land costs have risen dramatically in the last decade. Between 2001 and 2010, the cost for a buildable lot in the city of Charlottesville rose from $14,000 to more than $70,000. In Albemarle County, the comparable prices were $13,000 and $60,000, respectively. Even in the economic downturn of the last few years, building affordably in our area has remained a major challenge.
Our area also faces a serious problem with decaying and dangerous housing. More than 3,000 homes in the area qualify as "substandard," according to the Albemarle County Housing Committee. Over half of these homes are owned or occupied by low-income families who are unable to afford repairs. Some of these dwellings lack indoor plumbing. Most have poor insulation. Rotting roofs and floors make them unsafe.
Habitat's New Paradigm for Affordable Housing addresses these problems head on by building additional affordable housing stock, giving low-income families increased opportunities to move out of dangerous, substandard housing.