Written by Amy Owen, President & CEO of the Community Foundation
What is the cost of housing in Loudoun? It’s more expensive than we know. To start, we have to examine how housing affects our community’s future.
When 45% of Loudoun renters are spending more than 30% of their income on rent, we have to ask, “What is the cost of Loudoun housing?” When 61% of Loudoun’s workforce lives outside of the county, we have to question what are we losing about everything we value when it comes to living in Loudoun County.
Loudoun does so much, so well. We rank as one of the healthiest counties in Virginia. Our crime rate is enviable. We have horses, wineries, and breweries in our backyard. We enjoy the convenience of the Smithsonian to the East and countryside to the West. And, for more than a decade, we have been ranked as one of highest income-earning counties in the U.S. Here in Loudoun County, we enjoy quality of life with vibrant neighborhoods and social diversity. Who wouldn’t want to live here?
So, what is the cost of housing? When it comes to workforce housing, it’s the cost of our economic sustainability. Just as roads and bridges are causeways for community development, homes are the building block of economic development—assets that will be around for decades. Assets that are homes to the people who fuel and feed our community, our businesses, and its economy.
No one wins when housing becomes so unaffordable in Loudoun that people have trouble holding onto their jobs. No one wins when our teachers, our medical support staff, and first responders can’t afford to live here. No one wins when businesses can’t count on the ingenuity, entrepreneurial spirit, and day-to-day commitment of a local workforce.
In an independent poll conducted earlier this year, 78% of Loudoun’s residents agree: People who work in Loudoun should be able to live in Loudoun. First step: We must make intentional investments and apply land-use policies that enable people who work here to live here affordably.
This is important: Workforce housing is not a conversation about or an initiative around charity. It is a conversation about Loudoun’s legacy as a community and its future economic prosperity.
In June, the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties launched a Workforce Housing Now community service campaign amplifying Loudoun’s voice for workforce housing as the missing ingredient to our future economic prosperity.
Take a moment to visit WorkforceHousingNow.org and meet the good people who wish they could live here and work here. Meet the good people who struggle to make ends meet while they do live here. Meet the good people who wish they could hire all the staff necessary to run their business. Workforce housing is a driver of community outcomes. It catalyzes jobs, talent retention, health, education, and social justice—every aspect underscoring the importance of home.
Like many other community’s tackling this issue across America, we can do this and do this right. Left to its own devices, the market will not solve the shortage of workforce homes. We must build the economic future of Loudoun and elevate this issue by connecting with our friends and neighbors, to our philanthropic community, to our business leaders, and to our elected officials, making this a foundational building block to Loudoun’s economic prosperity. Because workforce housing is foundational.
As we remind folks through our work at the Community Foundation: Community is not just the beneficiary. Community is the solution.
Led by the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties, What is the Cost of Loudoun Housing is part of the Workforce Housing Now (workforcehousingnow.org) community service effort amplifying Loudoun’s voice for workforce housing as the missing ingredient to our community’s prosperity. Amy Owen has served as president & CEO of the Community Foundation since 2012.
To learn more and get involved in Workforce Housing Now, visit and follow our campaign website and social media: