Blacksburg leaders continue to address affordable housing

BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Town of Blacksburg continues to grow each year but its growth has outpaced its affordable housing market.

“We’re committing our funds locally that we have available to that initiative, and then we work with our development partners to basically build out the project,” said Matt Hanratty, deputy town manager in Blacksburg.

He said they have a plan to bring housing to the area.

“It’s a tough nut to crack and we’re not alone in this,” said Hanratty. “Across the country, depending on what source you use, we’re four to five million housing units short.”

I went around town talking to residents about the housing here, and they said it is just too expensive.

”It’s tight,” said Peggy Schrader, a Blacksburg resident. “It’s expensive. I feel for the people who have lived here for a long time that are being priced out.”

She said it affects every demographic.

“For students it is expensive,” said Schrader. “I have a granddaughter that’s a freshman here and I know what she’s having to pay for an apartment next year.”

I also talked to one man who said he was almost forced to move out of town.

“It was kind of shocking just how much prices have increased over the past couple of years,” said Nicholas Kocz. “I can totally sympathize with all those who are struggling not only to make ends meet, but just trying to afford something in this town.”

Town leaders also said they have a plan to combat how expensive the market is up here.

“The reality is, if you ever want to serve those folks — land is too expensive, the building is too expensive — it will never happen unless we play an active role,” Hanratty said.

He said while there is current development going on off Prices Fork, they also have plans for housing in other spots of town.

About the Author

Thomas grew up right here in Roanoke and is a graduate of Salem High School and Virginia Tech.

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