Lack Of Low Income Housing Has Some Virginian Residents Worried
Lynchburg, VA - The search is on to find 86 residents living in The Virginian apartments, a new place to live. AS ABC 13 we found out, affordable housing in Lynchburg is growing harder to come by every day. Almost 800 Lynchburg residents hold Section-8 housing vouchers and more than 400 others are still waiting to get theirs. And with the Virginian closing, you can add 86 names to the waiting list, some with stories, you won't believe. Teresa Baker spends her days outside at a Lynchburg shopping center. She sleeps at the Virginian but said she definitely doesn't live there. "I don't stay in the building, I don't associate with anybody, I don't like to go in the elevator if there's a crowd" said Baker. With bed bugs and broken elevators, you'd think Baker would be elated at the prospect of moving out, "I guess I'm going to go camping for the summer and come with the cold weather I guess I'm going to end up in a shelter" she said. But when she moves out of the Virginian in August, Baker will be homeless. She said she can't qualify for a "choice" section-8 voucher and with a waiting list totaling more than 400 for low income housing in Lynchburg; her prospects for finding a permanent home she says are slim. "They told me that it would be a 24 month wait at least and you have to be elderly or disabled to even get on the list because there's so many families and everything already waiting" she said. "First of all, we don't know that there's enough housing in Lynchburg to absorb that many people with low income" said Jeff Smith. Smith is the Executive Director of Rush Homes. He said available low income housing in Lynchburg is nearly non-existent, and he would know. Rush Homes is a housing provider for low income and disabled residents. It has 43 existing units and they're building 28 new ones. But vacancies are rare and they have a waiting list totaling 320. "It seems clear to me that we need additional housing. We do need additionally housing in the city" he said. And the solution to all of this housing officials said is funding. Housing Authority officials said in recent years federal funding has dropped off and the number of units being built is a far cry from the number on those waiting lists. If you want to help, try contacting your local representative in Congress, or support local organizations that provide this housing. Rush Homes, Habitat for Humanity and Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship are just a few.