Proposed affordable senior housing building could curb Lynchburg homelessness

Lynchburg & Central Virginia News

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The Lynchburg City Council is scheduled to consider a resolution on Tuesday to allow 65 new affordable housing units to be built.

The five-story building would serve as a home for individuals and couples 55 and older.

According to experts, that could put a huge dent in the senior population experiencing homelessness in Lynchburg.

“It would mean so much for our community and for those who are experiencing homelessness,” said Sarah Fuentes, the Homeless System Coordinator for Miriam’s House.

According to Fuentes, every year, about 120 elderly people, defined as people 55 and older, in the community experience homelessness.

“Having an additional 65 affordable units for that population is really the best way to prevent them from ever becoming homeless and then to address their homelessness and end their homelessness when it does occur.”

She says homelessness among older adults has gone up 24% over the last five years.

“I think fixed income, they have less flexibility in their spending, less opportunities to increase that monthly income.”

Fuentes says that translates into less ability to keep up with rising housing costs.

“There’s not a whole lot of senior housing in Lynchburg, so it’s very much needed,” said Joseph Eddy, the President of JE Properties, the company which bought Jefferson House last year.

According to Eddy, his company has been making much-needed repairs to the 101-unit affordable housing building for seniors. His company is planning to add 65 more affordable senior housing units.

“The building basically will go as a lowercase L,” he described, “right here where the parking lot is.”

While a new building would take up parking spaces, Eddy says the demand for parking at his building is low, and the building is along bus routes for residents to utilize.

Eddy, whose company is based in Boston, says there is local support for the project.

“We went to the planning commission and they asked some questions, and they said we’ve been trying to get something like this done for two years.”

If the timeline stays on track, the project is estimated to be done by summer of 2022, according to Eddy.

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