July 25, 2018

Using Data to Answer Key Housing Questions In the New River Valley


When it came to regional housing issues, the New River Valley Planning District Commission had no shortage of questions: Do we have enough housing types and price points for people of all income levels? How do university student rental properties affect the availability of affordable rental housing overall? Do existing housing units match up well with buyer preferences? How can deteriorating housing stock be better preserved or rehabilitated?

Thanks to a grant from VHDA, the commission will soon have answers to these questions and others, and gain a better understanding of how to meet the region’s current and future housing challenges. 

The New River Valley in Southwest Virginia encompasses Montgomery, Floyd, Giles and Pulaski Counties as well as the city of Radford. Its planning commission will use VHDA’s Community Impact Grant funds to develop and implement a multi-pronged study. Among its components will be focus groups, an online survey and public meetings, all designed to gain feedback from real estate agents, builders, developers, residents and other stakeholders. The study will also tap publicly available data from real estate and housing sources. While designed from a regional approach, the project is also expected to yield data that will helpful to individual localities in developing strategies, policies and action plans.

VHDA has been awarding Community Impact Grants since 2015. Money for the grants comes from VHDA’s REACH Virginia program. Each year, VHDA contributes a substantial portion of net revenues to fund this program, which is used to address housing needs throughout the state.

“We’re encouraged that we’ve definitely seen an uptick in the number of applications for Community Impact Grants,” said Director of Strategic Housing Chris Thompson, in VHDA’s Community Outreach division. “Our evaluation and approval process ensures that REACH Virginia dollars are put to the best possible use – by organizations that share our goal of making affordable housing accessible to all Virginians.”

Learn more about VHDA grant programs

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