The first-of-its-kind public opinion poll on housing was conducted recently by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University to gauge Virginians’ thoughts on policies and programs that address housing affordability in the Commonwealth. The poll was commissioned by the Campaign for Housing and Civic Engagement (CHACE), a statewide housing advocacy network led by the Virginia Housing Alliance and the Virginia Poverty Law Center.
A majority (54 percent) of respondents favor public sector investment in affordable housing at the state and local government level. That support includes maintaining and expanding the uses for the Housing Trust Fund, reducing homelessness, facilitating “aging in place” modifications, and promoting energy efficiency in affordable housing.
A summary of some of the more salient points raised in the survey include:
82 percent of voters strongly believe that people who work in their community should be able to find a home there (economic diversity; access to opportunity);
56 percent of voters agree that housing affordability is vital to their community’s economic success (economic competitiveness; diversity; access to opportunity);
58 percent of voters also believe that ending homelessness is an important government priority (access to opportunity);
89 percent of Virginians favor holding energy companies accountable by requiring them to meet energy saving goals for their customers (sustainability);
61 percent of those surveyed are also willing to pay a 50 cent surcharge on their utility bill to help fund weatherization and energy efficiency programs (sustainability).
The CHACE campaign was planned to coincide with the November 2017 elections for all 100 members of the House of Delegates and the Governor’s race. We applaud this effort and hope it’s the beginning of a multi-year endeavor to speak more broadly and frequently about the community and economic benefits of housing affordability to the Commonwealth. We urge all housing and community development organizations and individual housing activists to promote this survey and utilize the messages incorporated by the CHACE campaign. It is only through our collective efforts that we will move the issue of housing to a higher priority in local and state government planning and resource allocation.
See the full survey results at chaceva.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/chacesurveyreport.pdf.