Bath County to conduct workforce housing assessment

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Bath County, with support from the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, have begun the work to complete a Housing Needs Assessment and Market Analysis Study.

The Study is being funded through a grant from the Virginia Housing Development Authority. The Study will identify strategies the County can employ to increase the availability of workforce housing. In addition to data analysis, this process will involve public engagement and stakeholder interviews. At its conclusion, the study will act as a launching pad to implement countywide recommendations based on economic opportunity and market realities. A Project Committee with representatives from Bath County, CSPDC, Bath County Public Schools, Bath Community Hospital, and the Omni Homestead Resort are directing the process.

Camoin 310, a nationally recognized economic development firm, has been hired to assist with preparation of the study. Tom Dworetsky, Project Manager from Camoin 310 says about the project “We look forward to initiating this project with a community meeting. While data will help us understand the workforce housing market, community input really grounds our work and allows us to develop the best possible strategies for the County that are in line with, and reflect the values of, the residents and businesses. The study will include public engagement through an employer and employee survey, community meeting, and ongoing discussions with stakeholders.”

Ashton Harrison, County Administrator, says, “It is encouraging to see the community coalesce around workforce housing recognizing that it is a critical to economic growth. This study will serve as the cornerstone to action.”

Like many rural communities, Bath County is challenged to meet the housing needs of residents and workers with a housing stock that is aging and limited. The area’s natural amenities have made it a very popular destination among vacationers and seasonal visitors, but this popularity is resulting in higher housing costs due to visitors, second home owners, and short-term rentals bidding up the housing market.

Bath County residents, employers, and workers are invited to attend and provide input at the community meeting being held on Wednesday, September 25 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Hot Springs Fire Department and Rescue Squad at 2670 Main Street in Hot Springs. Parking is available onsite and along Main Street.

         
 

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