Affordable housing

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The high cost to rent or own a place to live is considered by many to be one of the most pressing issues facing localities in Virginia.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development considers families who are paying more than 30 percent of their household incomes as "cost-burdened." [1]

Localities often choose a percentage of AMI for which housing costs must be affordable in order for dwellings to qualify as "affordable housing." To encourage more housing which is affordable to those making less than the AMI (such as 60% or 80%) localities may require a certain percentage of dwellings in new developments to be affordable or offer incentives for developers to include more affordable units. Additionally, localities may invest in rehabilitation or construction of affordable housing in order to maintain affordable housing stock.


Council adopted an affordable housing plan put together through the Cville Plans Together initiative in March 2021. (Link to plan). The update of the Development Code will also include an inclusionary zoning requirement and increases residential density allowed if units are guaranteed to be affordable.

Historical studies

The city has adopted a series of policies over the years to address the issue. The Charlottesville Housing Strategy was adopted in February 1990. [2] A work session on potential housing opportunities was held on July 29, 1991.

Another housing strategy was adopted in 1999 that had several goals including balancing housing types, encouraging home-ownership, encouraging a regional approach to low-income housing, preserving neighborhoods and expanding housing opportunities for middle-class housing. A Housing Policy Task Force was created and appointed in March 2003. City Council was given a briefing on affordable housing strategy on April 21, 2003. [3]

The Piedmont Housing Alliance and the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors held a conference on the topic in late April 2007. [4]

In November of 2008, the City of Charlottesville defined its affordable housing threshold as any unit where the occupant is below 80% of the AMI and spends no more than 30% of their income on housing costs.

In 2008, Delegate David Toscano sponsored a bill that would allow Charlottesville to require that a certain percentage of units be designated as affordable. [5]

In February 2010, they Council set an official target of bringing 15 percent of the City's total housing stock within an affordable range. [6] [citation needed][7]

The City has a Housing Advisory Committee that advises City Council on affordable housing policy.

Council received a housing report from NDS director Jim Tolbert on March 5, 2012. [8]

In 2016, the real estate consultant RCLCO was paid $62,000 from the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund (CAHF) to conduct a housing study for Charlottesville and Albemarle County. [9] City Council was briefed on the study on February 1, 2016. [10] The Housing Advisory Committee went through the RCLCO report and made several recommendations, some of which have been implemented.

In the spring of 2017, Council doubled the amount that would go into the CAHF. The Planning Commission discussed the HAC's recommendations in late March. [11]

Albemarle County

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors approved a supplemental assistance program (Section 8) in the fall of 1976. [12]

The Albemarle Planning Commission held a work session on the topic on September 20, 2016. [13] That body was joined by the Charlottesville Planning Commission for a joint meeting in January 2017. [9]

In July 2021, the Board of Supervisors adopted a plan called Housing Albemarle which seeks to increase the housing units in the county and to implement a program where 20 percent of new units are designated as affordable. This is the culmination of work that's been conducted since 2020 by housing coordinator Stacy Pethia A draft was presented to the Planning Commission in August 2020. [14]

In FY2023, Albemarle dedicated $4,107,786 to affordable housing programs. According to a report from May 2023, that funding supported creation of 241 new units, maintenance of 227 existing units, supported 133 owner-occupied units, provided services for 200 unhoused individuals, and housing counseling for 295 households. [15]

Agencies, entities and groups that deal with affordable housing



  1. Web. Affordable Housing, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, D.C., retrieved December 27, 2016.
  2. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, April 15, 1991.
  3. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, April 21, 2003.
  4. Web. Affordable living choices for our community, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, May 1, 2007, retrieved April 17, 2018.
  5. Web. Affordable housing; permitting certain densities in plan in City of Charlottesville. (HB883), Delegate David Toscano, General Assembly Legislation, Richmond Sunlight, retrieved February 20, 2018.
  6. Web. The City of Charlottesville 2025 Goals for Affordable Housing Report, Melissa Celii, Grants Coordinator, Neighborhood Development Services, Staff Report, City of Charlottesville, February 1, 2010, retrieved December 27, 2016.
  8. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, March 5, 2012.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Web. City, county planning commissions focus on affordable housing, Josh Mandell, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, January 25, 2017, retrieved December 26, 2017.
  10. Web. City Council briefed on housing options report, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, February 3, 2016, retrieved December 29, 2016.
  11. Web. City Planning Commission weighs in on affordable housing recommendations, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, March 28, 2017, retrieved December 28, 2017.
  12. Web. County of Albemarle, Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Minutes, Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, Albemarle County, June 14, 1978, retrieved July 15, 2019.
  13. Web. Albemarle officials briefed on affordable housing issues, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, September 20, 2016, retrieved January 11, 2017.
  14. Print: Week Ahead for August 10, 2020, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Community Engagement, Town Crier Productions.
  15. Web. Annual Affordable Housing Report, Albemarle County, May 2023, retrieved October 26, 2023.
  16. Web. Single parent now homeowner thanks to land trust, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, February 6, 2017, retrieved December 26, 2017.