Virginia Beach seeks public input on housing needs

Posted at 2:19 PM, Jan 08, 2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A new year means a new opportunity to tackle housing affordability.

Virginia Beach Housing and Neighborhood Preservation needs residents' input for developing its 2020-2025 Consolidated Strategy and Plan.

This plan is developed for the department's federally-funded programs to create affordable housing opportunities, address homelessness and provide home rehabilitation assistance for low- to moderate-income households, the city said.

The public's input is needed to help the city identify critical housing issues in Virginia Beach.

Andrew Friedman is the director of housing and neighborhood preservation in Virginia Beach. He says the demand for housing exceeds the supply of affordable housing and the effects can be devastating.

"It means that they are struggling to pay for the other necessities of life. It means that they may have to go into debt. It means that they may be financially unstable...  some financial incident like a major car repair [could] cause them to fall behind in the rent and potentially lose their housing," says Friedman.

A survey was done in 2017 that showed the median income in Virginia Beach for a family of four was around $70,000. Friedman says anyone who was making less than 80% of the median income (around $56,000) would qualify for housing help.

Residents can feedback online until Jan. 24. The city said the responses will be used to guide the strategy and priorities for their housing programs over the next five years. The 20-question survey was recently released online and asks questions about household size and income as well as problems people experience in their community.

If you have more to say, the city says it is open to listening.

"We are absolutely open for more details responses people can send letters and emails to us because we want to get the best possible understanding of what people see out there," says Friedman.

The department will hold a public meeting where residents can provide their input from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 22 inside Building 21 at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires the city to develop a Five-Year Consolidated Strategy and Plan for federal entitlement grants such as, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME, Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) and Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA).

For more information on the Consolidated Strategy and Plan, click here.