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Housing study underway

This month marks one year since Lunenburg County and the towns of Kenbridge and Victoria received a $25,000 grant from the Virginia Housing Development Authority to conduct the study to identify housing needs in the community.

The study conducted by The Berkley Group is in its final stages. According to Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC) Executive Director Melody Foster the final report will be presented to the Housing Study group in November following by a presentation at a joint meeting of the Board of Supervisors and Kenbridge and Victoria town councils in December

Earlier this year, an 18-question survey asked residents where they are currently living, are they renting or a homeowner and what they would like to see Lunenburg County focus on in the future to improve the housing situation.

According to the CRC the results of the study will help develop a plan to market the needs and provide guidance to assist in filling the identified gaps.

In late 2018 the CRC announced that Lunenburg County, and the towns of Kenbridge and Victoria were 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.

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 to 1,500 at the facility daily.

In the November 28, 2018 edition of The K-V- Dispatch 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.”

According to the most recent figures from Data USA in 2017, 72% of the housing units in Lunenburg County were occupied by their owner. This percentage grew from the previous year’s rate of 71.1%.

This percentage of owner-occupation is higher than the national average of 63.9%.