Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The university take on affordable housing

Brian Plum (lead organizer for IMPACT) let me know about this article by Sarah Wooten in the Cavalier Daily - "Living through the crisis".

The majority of the facts in the article have been discussed before. The most interesting comments, to me, surrounded the effect (or perceived effect) that the student population has on the amount of affordable housing available to those earning below 50% AMI (average median income).

 "University Off-Grounds Housing Manager Vicki Hawes, however, said the housing that University students predominantly live in has been rezoned as “university high density” for students.

“I don’t think it affects affordable housing available for the general population of Charlottesville,” Hawes said of the student presence in the city."

Some city residents see things differently:

"Another reason finding affordable housing is difficult, Johnson said, is the student population in the city. Students are taking up a majority of the housing in Charlottesville, she noted.
“You can get a lot of students in one apartment and they can pay it,” Johnson said."

Adding the University to the debate complicates things, so I'm glad that they took part in the conversation about the future of affordable housing (see IMPACT Behind the News). And I'm glad that the Cavalier Daily finds this issue important enough to devote a fair number of column-inches to it. I hope that many UVA students read the article and understand that housing is, fundamentally, a human rights issue - and that many many students will come out to the Nehemiah Action on March 30 to show their support for their neighbors who struggle to find a place to live.


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