Virginia Governor's Housing Conference kicks off in Roanoke

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - The largest gathering of housing officials in Virginia began in Roanoke on Wednesday.

The annual Virginia Governor's Housing Conference is taking place at Hotel Roanoke.

Organizers said more than 700 people from across the state will attend the three-day event. Experts in finance, real estate, homeless service providers and government leaders will discuss topics including rural housing, housing as an economic driver, homelessness and economic mobility in Virginia.

"We having rising poverty rates, concentrations of poverty. So how does housing play into thinking about how people get access to services?" said Bill Shelton, Director of Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. "How do they locate housing that is near quality schools? How can they have housing that is close to the place of employment? All these are critical issues in housing."

The conference runs through Friday.