CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - By 2040, thousands of people in central Virginia will face a housing crisis unless action is taken now.

That's the news that came out of an affordable housing talk between statewide advocates and those on the local level on Tuesday, March 19.

That report comes from the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission.

While it's not public yet, the consultant says the area will face a 12,000-unit gap in two decades, which is about a quarter of the size of Charlottesville.

The fallout from 2017's white supremacy rallies in Charlottesville is having a major impact on the work affordable housing advocates are now doing in the city.

"You have more advocacy now and you have more individuals that weren't quite aware of the problem," Yolunda Harrell of the New Hill Development Corporation said.

That's changed. But how it has changed took center stage at a Housing Virginia meeting at CitySpace on Tuesday.

"Charlottesville has a lot of innovative things that it has focused on around affordable housing,” Erica Sims, the senior adviser for Housing Virginia, said. “It's really pushing the needle. It's pretty unique."

Housing Virginia is a statewide organization focusing on this housing issue.

Members met with city leaders and affordable housing proponents to learn about policy, development, and where the money is coming from to support affordable housing efforts.

"The goal is just to see how do we create a spectrum of housing instead of polarizing housing," Harrell said.

The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission had a consultant look at the region, which includes the city of Charlottesville, along with Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa, and Nelson counties.

The results indicate the area will face a 12,000-unit gap in two decades.

"The conversation has moved beyond a debate about whether or not affordable housing is needed,” Sims said.

"It's part of how we as a community have more equity,” Harrell said. “Everyone needs to have all the choices that they would like to have in terms of where they want to live.”

A Weldon-Cooper Center study also shows white home ownership in Charlottesville is up 21 percent since 2000.

However, black home ownership is down 23 percent in the city during that same time.

The city's attempt to overhaul zoning policy could help change these statistics.