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Advocates Say Rural Virginia Needs Funding to Fix Housing Market

The non-profit group Housing Virginia presented new findings on housing in rural areas on Wednesday, including a shortage of affordable, well-maintained homes for an aging population.

Housing Virginia gathered information from realtors, local governments and developers in rural Virginia to determine how to address housing problems there.

Senior associate Erica Sims says that rural areas struggle with housing availability. What is available is often too expensive or run-down.

“A much broader range of people at a much broader range of incomes are finding themselves priced out of the market,” Sims said in an interview on Wednesday.

Sims says that this supply shortage has led to a new consensus among developers and local governments on the need for more developments.

“Making the case for affordable housing is no longer the first hurdle,” Sims said.

Paying for new developments remains an issue.

Housing Virginia would like to see lawmakers increase funding to the Virginia Housing Trust Fund, which is set aside by the state to develop long-term affordable housing.

Sims said Housing Virginia will also continue to work with rural jurisdictions to identify local needs.