The Commission was recently awarded funding through the Virginia Housing Development Authority’s (VHDA) Community Impact Grant program to fund a regional and local housing study. The impetus for the grant came after the Commission received requests from several of its members for detailed housing data to aid decisions about policies related to housing needs in their communities. The 18-month study will include both intensive data analysis as well as stakeholder and public outreach at the regional and local level. The Commission will be partnering with the Virginia Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech, who will provide training to Commission staff on collecting and analyzing housing market data. The Commission will also convene a stakeholder group representing local governments and regional housing industry organizations that will meet regularly throughout the development of the study to provide input on the progress of project tasks, engage their peers to participate in the research process, and build the capacity of these stakeholders to understand housing barriers and implementation solutions for each locality in the New River Valley. The Commission will also be working with Housing Virginia and czb, LLC to provide tailored material for each jurisdiction in order to guide discussions throughout the study. Data needs range from the effects of the university student rental market on overall housing availability and cost, strategies to encourage preservation and rehabilitation of aging and deteriorating housing stock, the mismatch of existing types of housing units with housing preferences of current buyers, development pressures in rural areas near growing urban centers, the lack of housing options for retirees and residents ‘aging in place,’ and ensuring that housing is available and affordable to residents across the range of income levels. Assessing locality-specific trends in the context of the region will help to identify challenges, opportunities, and appropriate implementation strategies for each jurisdiction. The housing study is funded by VHDA, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and local match commitment. For further information, please contact Jennifer Wilsie (firstname.lastname@example.org), 540-693-9313, ext. 206.