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SAW Housing Summit

Housing Summit Smaller

August Health, Valley Community Services Board, The Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission and the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge will host the SAW Housing Summit Oct. 11th and 12th at the Holiday Inn in Staunton.

The summit comes at a time when housing costs have spiked, rental units have become sparse, homelessness issues persist, and housing inventory is low for the workforce needed by our area employers.

“Housing is our single most expensive essential need, yet our community’s supply does not match the demand for safe, quality, attainable housing for everyone,” said Dan Layman, CEO of the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge. “We all feel the consequences of this imbalance regardless of our own circumstances. 

“Therefore, we all have a stake in working together to chart a different course.  This is why the Community Foundation is invested in the success of the upcoming Housing Summit, and why we stand prepared to invest in solutions that will emerge when we have a shared aspiration for housing in our community.”

The summit is the most recent collaborative work between the four organizations. The strategic partnerships deepened during the pandemic and have continued since that time.

Now, the local organizations are collectively bringing together potential partners, both public and private, from across the community to explore housing challenges and solutions over the two-day period.

“Housing affects all of us – every single one of us,” said Lydia Campbell, community-based services manager at Valley Community Services Board. “We all must come together to understand the spectrum of housing issues, from homelessness all the way to home ownership, and decide how each of us who live in the SAW area will care for our community and our neighbors.

“Imagine how much we could do if everyone was not only on the same page, but in the same book, and maybe even on the same line of the same paragraph.  SAW would be ending homelessness and curing the housing crisis in record time!”

The summit will provide a combination of speakers on relevant topics, along with times for individuals and agencies to think collectively through possible solutions.

“Presentation topics will include defining and unraveling common misconceptions around affordable housing, assessing our region’s housing landscape, the connections between housing, health, and economic development, how to better promote the development of attainable housing stock, and funding solutions and success stories from around the state,” said Olivia Raines, housing program manager of the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission.

Housing insecurity is typically defined as any household paying more than 30 percent of income to secure housing. Krystal Moyers, the administrative director for community outreach and partnerships at Augusta Health, sees a correlation between housing insecurity and her work at the hospital.

“Without consistent shelter that is safe, accessible and free of pests and other pollutants, significant health conditions will occur,” Moyers said. “Augusta Health is committed to collaborating with community partners to determine sustainable housing solutions, and in turn improve the overall health of Staunton, Augusta County and Waynesboro.

“Our community is rich with nonprofits and other organizations who believe housing is a fundamental need and basic human right. They are aligned with Augusta Health in their dedication to ensure housing equity for all.”