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The City will ask residents tomorrow how they feel about their living conditions.
The Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation wants to know if residents can afford their housing, and whether or not they have access to necessities such as schools, parks and grocery stores. And residents who face transportation issues in their neighborhood? The City wants to know about that, too.
“We want to expand affordable housing opportunity to more people,” Andy Friedman, director of the city’s Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation, said in a phone interview last week. “We need to hear from people about what they’re experiencing.”
Public meetings will be held tomorrow at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, 1000 19th St., from 2 to 3 p.m. and from 6 to 7 p.m. The meetings are part of the City’s $90,000 Housing Needs and Market Analysis Study, which launched in April. An up-to-date summary of affordable housing in Virginia Beach is not currently available, Friedman said.
The study will assess this, as well as rent, income, construction trends and housing stock conditions, to help shape city development policies over the next 20 years. Feedback from researchers, who are with the Virginia Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech, and from Virginia Beach residents will inform how the department spends its budget, which is about $26 million annually, Friedman said during an April interview.
Many people associate the quality of a neighborhood with a few particular things, Friedman said during the recent interview: safety, caring neighbors, good schools and access to amenities. Resident input from the meetings will not only shape how future policy is written, but also could have some more immediate effects, Friedman said.
“We [the department] do things every day, all year round,” Friedman said. “If we hear something – we need to do more of this or less of that – we can make changes soon or in next year’s budget.”