Bluefield, W.Va. has housing research done to address shortage

Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 5:26 PM EDT
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BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (WVVA) - Bluefield leaders say the city is running severely low on available housing for people to stay. To help address the problem the city brought in a housing expert from Virginia Tech to host group discussions with groups like contractors and realtors.

“The purpose of the focus groups is not to be analyzing data in a vacuum. We need a lot of local context. There are a lot of things the data can’t tell us and we just have to hear from the local experts in order to fill in those gaps and help to build a strategy,” said Mel Jones, the Associate Director for Virginia’s Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech.

Jones has more than a decade of housing research experience under her belt. She’s hoping the first phase of the research will be done by the end of winter.

“We’re really hoping the next move is to meet with neighborhood representatives and start thinking of what they see in terms of their opportunities with their neighborhoods and what they would like to have in the future,” said Jones.

One rental company at the focus group on Thursday reported having 375 units, all of them full.

“We were about 90, 95 percent most of the time but we’ve been 100 percent for a couple of years. You know a month here or there but pretty much 100 percent for almost two years now,” said Cathy Deeb, the owner of DCI Property Management.

Jones says early next year, they will start building and then putting a long-term plan in place.