Microblog #112: This is a game-changer.

UVA will be champions once again — champions of affordable housing.

275 Words

On the heels of its national championships last year in basketball and lacrosse, UVA announced this week its intention to champion another cause: affordable housing. The University became the first public institution in the state to make a commitment to support the development of 1,000 to 1,500 affordable homes over the next 10 years.

It’s a well understood fact that large colleges and universities have dramatic effects on their local housing markets. The influx of students, faculty and workforce places upward pressure on rents and home prices. This effect grows stronger with the size of institution and is particularly acute in smaller and mid-sized communities. Charlottesville, Blacksburg, Harrisonburg, Farmville, and Williamsburg are all familiar examples where public universities contribute to significant housing affordability challenges.

Across the nation, many universities, hospitals and other anchor institutions are taking new actions to address housing costs in their communities. These programs work in a variety of ways and target a range of beneficiaries. UVA’s plan is to use land that it currently owns to facilitate the development of new affordable homes. While details remain to be developed, the University expects to partner with “experts in affordable housing.”

UVA President Jim Ryan noted, “As an anchor institution, we feel a responsibility to be a good neighbor. One of the most pressing needs in our region is affordable housing, and we are looking forward to doing our part to help increase the supply.”

With UVA out of the starting gate, we’re hoping other Virginia universities and colleges will join the race. To explore the housing affordability gap in Virginia’s college communities please check Housing Virginia’s new Workforce Housing Toolkit.

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