This episode starts a multi-part series on how public servants are addressing the massive issue of affordable housing in Central Virginia. Throughout the series, the podcast will dive into what’s causing the problem, what its effects have been, what the solutions are, and how you can get involved. On this episode, we discuss the cause of the problem with UVa Economics Professor Ed Olsen, while Antonio Rice of the Charlottesville Salvation Army gives us a look into some of its effects.
Ed Olsen breaks down the challenges with current affordable housing policy. His research shows that unit-based housing assistance is drastically less efficient than household-based housing assistance. Olsen argues for switching to an entitlement-based voucher program and to include more homeowners. He claims with a few simple changes, we can serve upwards of 72% more people.
Antonio Rice has seen many of the effects of the housing problem first hand as the Director or Operations at the Charlottesville Salvation Army. The biggest problem with a lack of affordable housing is homelessness, and that's what Antonio seeks to address at his shelter. With an exceptionally holistic approach, Antonio's shelter and others like it have managed to reduce the amount of time people are staying in emergency housing.