HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — In the lead-up to the 2020 election, 10 On Your Side is reaching out to community leaders across Hampton Roads and northeast North Carolina to see what they’re looking for in lawmakers.
Peninsula Community Foundation of Virginia CEO Michael Monteith wants elected leaders to find solutions now for problems approaching later.
“One of the roles of the Community Foundation is to be forward thinking about what’s happening today and what the challenges are going to be in the future,” he said.
In Hampton, where the foundation is based, Monteith says aging housing and infrastructure are two looming problems.
“The whole issue of looking at neighborhoods that maybe are fairly decent today, but when you look at them historically, you can see they are aging quickly, that’s not on anybody’s radar at all.”
Aging housing makes it harder to draw new families in, since they can instead opt for surrounding areas that have new neighborhoods going up, according to Monteith.
Keeping families in Hampton also becomes a challenge as historic neighborhoods age, houses sink into disrepair and poverty creeps in.
“It has a psychological effect on you but it also has a real economic impact on the community in total,” Monteith said.
The economic impact, according to Monteith, includes falling property rates, rising poverty, fewer owners living in their homes and more crime.
“No matter what your income level is, whether it’s at the poverty level or you’re making $100,000 a year, you ought to be able to live in these communities and find a great place to raise your family.”
While Monteith can’t point to one specific program or bill that would fix the problem, he said that federal, state and local legislators working together would be a start.
“[Lawmakers] need to trust and work with the other layers of government to make it work better than it does today,” Monteith said.
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