Staunton residents speak online about limited rental availabilities

STAUNTON — Over the past month, about 10 people have asked for help finding housing in or around Staunton in the town’s community Facebook group.

On the Staunton VA page, people in or around town can ask questions about the area. Often, these questions revolve around one subject: finding accommodation.

More recently, someone asked for help finding an apartment or house to rent with two or three bedrooms. Only one person answered that they should look on Facebook Marketplace.

Someone posted about an apartment for rent in Staunton on March 2. A few people tagged people in the comments saying they were also looking for accommodation.

A modest two-bedroom, one-bathroom home for sale in Staunton has an estimated monthly payment of $428. Its selling price is $77,000. A newly renovated two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo for sale would have a monthly payment of $1,286. Its selling price is $259,900.

The one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment listed was only $850 including utilities and located in the Hill Crest area. A Facebook user shared the post saying “still no dog” with a crying emoji.

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Part of the overall city plan, which was added to the 2022-26 Capital Improvement Plan, has a section dedicated to neighborhoods and housing. The goal?

“To ensure that Staunton’s housing stock is an adequate mix to support the citizens and the city’s tax base,” according to the document.

There were four objectives listed under the housing part.

  • develop a city-wide housing plan to address housing issues such as affordable housing, run-down areas, historic rehabilitation, housing for the elderly, and over-concentrated housing based on income levels
  • encourage construction projects that fill in existing neighborhoods
  • promote residential development on the upper floors of downtown commercial buildings
  • promote mixed-use development of housing, retail, business and parks

According to Michelle Bixler, director of communications for Staunton, the housing plan has not yet been created.

Some reviewers shared apartment complexes like Waterford Villages that have rental assistance. These properties have income restrictions.

In Waterford Village, a two-bedroom apartment costs $716 per month, a three-bedroom costs $819. The annual income limit for one person is $25,000, for two people $28,600 and for three people $32,150.

The department is also experiencing a housing shortage. Some people who posted to the group over the past month were asking for help finding a place in Augusta County.

Facebook user Dharma Samten posted a $900 budget for two people on Feb. 14. They specified in the message that they would need a pet friendly place preferably in Verona.

In the pool of 36 comments, one person said “This boat has sailed” and another said “Good luck with your hunt” and went on to say that with their experience it’s hard to find “prizes like this ” for rentals that accept pets.

Those that posted about pet-friendly units tended to be more expensive. On February 22, someone posted about a townhouse available in Fishersville starting April 1. The rent was $1,490 with an additional $50 per month rent for pets. The townhouse would have two bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, a one-car garage, washer and dryer hookups. Utilities were not mentioned.

For comparison, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouse for sale in Fishersville has an estimated monthly payment of $1,192 on Zillow. Its selling price is $239,900.

Continued:We tried to find rental accommodations in Staunton that we could afford. Uh. It’s hard there.

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— Katelyn Waltemyer (her) is the government watchdog reporter for The News Leader. Do you have any local government news? Or a good feature? You can reach Katelyn at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @Kate_Waltemyer.