High-tech Centers with Affordable Housing Shortages

10 06 15 silicon chipYou have probably begun to hear the new names for emerging high-tech areas:  Silicon Beach (LA), Silicon Peach (Atlanta),  Silicon Alley (New York).  What moniker would we give to Charlottesville, which ranks highly among Virginia’s cities for the variety and number of of high-tech jobs? Send me your nominations.

Whatever we might be called, Charlottesville shares some characteristics with other high-tech centers, including a dearth of affordable housing.  As How Housing Matters points out in a recent article, every technology sector job creates five other jobs—generally in the service industries, such as restaurants and custodial and shipping businesses—whose employees are least able to pay the high rental and mortgage prices.  For that reason, the tech sector in Silicon Valley is looking to create private-public partnerships to build the affordable housing that is so important to ensuring stable families, a more stable workforce and a better quality of life for everyone.

Over the past 30 years, Piedmont Housing has relied on public and private funding in many of our affordable housing development projects and this will be true for our planned redevelopment of Friendship Court.  Right now we have a $500,000 challenge grant (private) that we hope will leverage additional private and public investment.  Here in Charlottesville, we like to set the pace, not follow the pack.