Housing choices and opportunities are very much regional in nature, yet many of the housing related services are very location specific. In recognition of the disconnect between service provision and the demand for housing services, HRPDC staff are in the process of developing a regional housing information portal called the Hampton Roads Housing Resource (HRHR) Portalthat will connect consumers with service providers. This tool will also help to identify gaps and duplications in services across the region. The HRPDC Housing and Human Services Staffidentified the following three objectives to address these needs:
Objective 1: Identify housing related services pertaining to downpayment/closing cost assistance, first-time homebuyer education, foreclosure prevention, rental counseling, and housing services for persons with disabilities in a uniformed database.
Objective 2: Identify gaps in services and service area coverage by GIS tracking services as it relates to the region for identification of needs and future planning.
Objective 3: Create a regional web-based portal for consumers and housing providers to access appropriate services.
To date, the HRPDC staff has identified over 400 unique services in the Hampton Roads region related housing.
The Hampton Roads Housing Resource would be an interactive online directory developed to assist professionals as well as community consumers. The website would also allow users to obtain directions and brief descriptions of the service/agency. While there are some sites dedicated to collecting resources for specific aspects of housing, creating a database of all housing related resources is needed to pinpoint gaps in services and for the development of better methods to provide outreach and linkage to services. It would also assess the capacity of providers within the region to the demand/need of housing related services. In light of the current economic conditions related to foreclosures in this area, coupled with prospective homebuyers desiring to enter into homeownership and take advantage of current programs and incentives, a compilation of services and programs is beneficial to rebuilding the housing market of the region.