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James City affordable housing task force organize

tjefferson@vagazette.com

A 16-member team of county and housing officials plan to meet soon to take stock of James City’s housing needs, especially when it comes to affordable housing.

In 2016, a county housing study found too few places exist in James City for low- to moderate-income residents. The workforce housing task force will consider whether to implement some of the housing study's recommendations. The group is scheduled to meet Jan. 16.

According to the study, 29 percent of workers in James City County earn $7.81 per hour, which is $1,354 per month or $16,248 per year if they work full time. The median gross rent (rent plus utilities) was estimated to be $1,148 per month in James City County in 2016, according to the housing study.

“Affordable housing is such a critical issue, especially in Williamsburg, which has such a high tourism rate. If businesses can’t find people to work there it really can hurt the economy,” said Janet Green, CEO of the Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg and a task force member. “People need an affordable and safe place to live.”

Members of the task force will make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on strategies to address affordable and workforce housing.

“I have no background in affordable housing, but my one year on the planning commission has taught me about land use issues and the economy. I think our county’s dependence on hospitality and retail needs to be broadened, and that’s related to affordable housing because those industries are notoriously known to be low paying,” said planning commissioner Jack Hadelman, who will serve on the task force.

Team members said they’re excited and looking forward to meeting for the first time next week.

“Housing is the Williamsburg Association of Realtors mission. I’ve been working with housing and sheltering professionals for the last 10 years … this is a great opportunity for the association and for me personally to join the task force,” said Susan Gaston, a task force member and a representative from the Williamsburg Association of Realtors.

Task force members

  • Stephen Anderson, HHHunt Homes
  • Jennifer Andrews-Weckerly
  • Sernita Bethea, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission
  • Susan Gaston, Williamsburg Association of Realtors
  • Janet Green, Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg
  • Roger Guernsey
  • Jack Haldeman, James City County Planning Commission
  • Christina Hartless
  • Ruth Larson, James City County Board of Supervisors
  • Thresa Joyce, Virginia Community Capital
  • Neil Mutreja, TM Associates
  • Kim Orthner
  • Rick Shippy, James City County Economic Development Authority
  • Gregory Stoerer, Williamsburg Landing
  • Virginia Wertman
  • Jeanne Zeidler, Williamsburg Health Foundation

Want to go to the meeting?

When: 10 a.m. Jan. 16

Where: 101 Mounts Bay Road

For more information, visit jamescitycountyva.gov/3504/Workforce-Housing-Task-Force.

Jefferson can be reached by phone at 757-790-9313.

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