Navy Looking to Add Housing for 8,000 Sailors in Hampton Roads

Vice Admiral Christopher “Scotty” Gray
Vice Admiral Christopher “Scotty” Gray along with several elected officials talk to the media about efforts they’re making to improve the quality life for sailors and shipyard workers during a press at Naval Station Norfolk on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Stephen M. Katz / The Virginian-Pilot)

NORFOLK — The Hampton Roads area could soon see new Navy housing that would provide beds for about 8,000 sailors, area officials announced Monday.

A bipartisan group of state and local elected officials participated in a roundtable discussion with U.S. Navy personnel on federal, state and local investments in the Hampton Roads region. The goal was to bring all levels of government together to ensure a unified approach, including timelines, on revitalizing downtown Newport News around the shipyard.

“This is an effort to make Newport News the center for excellence for shipbuilding,” Rep. Rob Wittman said during a news conference at the U.S. Navy Tour and Information Office in Norfolk. “This is about prioritizing quality of life for our sailors, quality of life for our men and women that work at the shipyard. We know we have to be successful in both those enterprises. If we’re going to recruit and retain the best in our Navy, we have to take care of them.”

Vice Adm. Christopher “Scotty” Gray said the Navy is looking at creating 8,000 new beds for sailors in Hampton Roads. He said 1,000 to 1,500 beds would likely be in Newport News, although he noted the Navy is still working on specifics. He said he hopes the Navy has worked out a project timeline by the fall.

Earlier this year, the state committed a $40 million treasury loan to support construction of Navy housing downtown. State and local officials previously said the Navy could contribute up to $400 million to house sailors and revitalize downtown.

The effort to improve the quality of life for sailors comes in the wake of a rash of suicides among Hampton Roads-based sailors.

Wittman said other potential ways to improve the quality of life include building eating establishments and more convenient medical care locations.

Gray said the bipartisan effort to improve sailors’ quality of life in the Hampton Roads region has “moved at lightning speed compared to the normal bureaucracy.”

Last month, the U.S. Navy and Newport News Shipbuilding announced the construction of a new parking garage that will bring 2,000 new parking spaces to downtown Newport News for use by shipbuilders and sailors assigned to the shipyard.

“We remain committed to ensuring that downtown of Newport News is the best place to live, to work and to raise your family, and that includes our Navy partners,” said Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones.

Josh Janney,

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