County applies for housing study

Published 11:33 am Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC) Executive Director Melody Foster and CRC member Mike Hankins announced that Lunenburg County, and the towns of Kenbridge and Victoria are in the process of applying for a study to determine how best to address housing needs for a potential surge in population in the region due to Fort Pickett’s recent expansion.

Foster said the county is starting the process of applying for a community impact grant with the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) to conduct a housing needs study.

Fort Pickett, located in Nottoway County, is in the process of building a large-scale training facility, Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC), which will consolidate 11 different contracted training sites around the U.S. focusing on hard skills into one facility, a previous Dispatch report cited. That decision to build the facility was recommended by the Department of State to prepare foreign affairs personnel for increasingly uncertain and perilous conditions overseas.

An estimated 10,000 students are expected to be trained in the facility, reaching its peak during the summer months but operating year-round with an estimated 400-1,500 at the facility daily.

Foster said Lunenburg County, being in close proximity to the center, is looking to address housing needs that may develop as individuals and families seek to live close to Fort Pickett.

“They feel like they have pretty good affordable housing as far as ownership,” Foster said about Lunenburg. “But they don’t have a lot of affordable rental housing, so they want to get funding to do a study.”

CRC member Mike Hankins encouraged participants to stay abreast of the development of the FASTC project.

“They’re building a city,” Hankins said, who said he has visited the FASTC site before.

He said the potential to learn about the county’s housing options could serve to fill a need for those who would be training at Fort Pickett.

“It is a big opportunity for anybody in that Fort Pickett area to grow businesses and to start businesses that would cater to these people coming in to train,” Hankins said.