Community Development  |  Learn More About Affordable Housing







Housing plays an important role in all of our lives. Homes provide a foundation for family life and promote equitable communities. A variety of good quality housing types, affordable to range of incomes, support good health outcomes, good schools and educational achievement, and employment. Albemarle County is doing well on these fronts overall, but the high cost of housing in our area means thousands of families are being left behind. And while high housing costs affect our county's seniors and other low-income residents the most, they are not the only ones struggling. Local workers who provide valuable services to our community, such as teachers, police officers, landscapers and bus drivers are increasingly being priced out of the county. We ALL deserve a safe, affordable place to call home. Only by providing a variety of housing types, affordable to individuals and families with diverse incomes, can we ensure Albemarle County is a thriving, sustainable community for all. Please read through the information below to learn more about affordable housing and the benefits it provides not only to the individuals and families living in it, but for the entire community, as well. For more information about each topic, click on each section heading.

What is affordable housing?

Affordable housing is simply housing you can afford with the income you have. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), housing is considered to be affordable if it costs no more than 30% of household pre-tax income. This 30% includes the combined costs of monthly rent and utilities for renters, or monthly mortgage payments (with mortgage insurance and property taxes) plus utilities for homeowners. Due to the high cost of housing in Albemarle County, more than 10,000 households are paying more than 30% of their monthly income for housing.

The high cost of housing in Albemarle County

One way to measure housing affordability is by examining the local housing wage, or the hourly wage a full-worker must earn in order to afford to rent a modest, 2-bedroom apartment in an area. In Albemarle County, more than half of all workers earn less than the housing wage for our area.

Housing + transportation

When it comes to buying a house, we've all heard he saying, "location matters". This is particularly true when it comes to searching for affordable housing options. The farther a household moves from employment centers and community services, the increase in transportation costs offsets any savings on housing costs.

Housing for seniors

Our population is aging. According to the Weldon Cooper Center, 2 out of every 8 County residents will be aged 65 and older by the year 2030. And by the year 2040, 1 in 4 residents will be 85 years and older. High housing costs can have a significant impact on the health and quality of life for older adults, particularly for seniors relying on social security income.

Housing and health

Affordable housing today keeps the doctor away? It's true. When an individual or family lives in housing they can afford, they are 20% more likely to attend primary care visits, and 18% less likely to visit the emergency room. Affordable housing is just what the doctor ordered.

Housing and education

Affordable housing plays an important role in helping students succeed in school. According to research funded by he MacArthur Foundation, moving to a new home three or more times during childhood leads to a 50% decrease in earning later in life. Ensuring a sufficient supply of good quality housing, at prices affordable to all income levels, provides families the stability their young children need to excell in school setting a firm foundation for success throughout their lives.

Housing and economic development

According to The ACTION Campaign, between 1986 - 2016, affordable housing development in Virginia's 5th District supported 5,331 jobs and $200 million in additional tax revenue, as well as an additional $508 million dollars in local income -- approximately $107,600 per affordable housing unit built.