ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Albemarle County is taking a hard looking at the affordable housing needs around the county. Tuesday night marked the first in a series of meetings to get feedback from the community on the county's current housing policy. 

The series of meetings will focus on learning, listening and identifying solutions of the public. This is all part of a plan the county has to update the housing policy.

"Right now we - our current policy has five objectives identified within it and so we're going to take a look to see if those are still the relative objectives. Do we need to add new ones?” said Albemarle Principal Planner for Housing Stacy Pethia.

The county is using a three-step approach to update the housing policy, starting with community engagement.

"This is a process it's really to reach out to the community, get them involved, understand what they're experiences are with housing are or have been over the years,” said Pethia.

Following community input, the group will work to begin drafting recommendations and a strategy to implement new policies.

A strategy that Christine Jacobs, with the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, says could benefit more than just Albemarle County. "Every locality, each region, each state is having these conversations, around here specifically two years ago is when we started looking at, if each locality individually is talking about what they need to do, then why can't we look at this through a regional lens."

Without affordable housing, planners say it will hurt the community as a whole.

"Having housing that meets the need of all of our residents really creates a strong sustainable community in the long term,” said Pethia.

When a draft is made it will go before Albemarle County's Board of Supervisors for approval. Another work session will be held next week at the county office building.