Author: Billy Hansen

The Advocate for Lynchburg’s Homeless Students

Did you know that Lynchburg City Schools has a full-time position entitled “Homeless Education Liaison”? I didn’t either until I met Judy Brooks. Earlier this year, we were paired together during the Point-in-Time Count done by the Central Virginia Continuum of Care. As we spent a few pre-dawn hours walking around downtown surveying Lynchburg’s homeless population, I learned that her full-time job was serving homeless or “displaced” students, ranging from pre-K to 12th grade. Her role as Homeless Education Liaison is mandated by the McKinney-Vento Act, a federal law designed to protect those students who lack a permanent fixed...

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The Waiting List

In my last column, I advocated for asking good questions and shared a few of my own questions about affordable housing in the Lynchburg area. These questions were sparked by a small sign in the Lynchburg Redevelopment & Housing Authority (LRHA) office that read “SECTION 8 WAITING LIST IS CLOSED” and “PUBLIC HOUSING WAITING LIST IS CLOSED.” Since then, I’ve been out meeting with housing experts to try to find answers to those questions. I recently sat down with Dawn Fagan, the executive director of LRHA, to learn about these two housing programs, their waiting lists, and the complex...

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Ask Good Questions

People hire me to become extremely curious about a topic of their choosing. Whenever I start an assignment, my first step is to sit down and create a wish list of all the things that I’d like to know about the subject. I try to brainstorm as many questions as possible without editing myself. I know that the list will be full of questions that are simplistic, off-topic, uninteresting, irrelevant, impractical, or just plain unanswerable, but I do this practice with the hope of eventually arriving at just a few good questions that truly get to the heart of...

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Back to the Fundamentals

This fall, I’ve been teaching the Personal Finance course at Longwood University in Farmville. I want to equip these 22 undergraduate students with the knowledge, tools, principles, and perspective to win with their finances. To prepare for class, I’ve been going back to the fundamentals and rereading classic books on personal finance, which has had the added bonus of sharpening my own thinking and attitudes about money. So, what does this have to do with real estate? Well, I’ve often been struck by how closely the essentials of personal finance match what it takes to succeed in real estate...

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On Walking

I love to walk. I don’t need a lot of convincing to go take one. Whether it’s down the beach, across campus, on the trail, around downtown, or just through my neighborhood, I’m always up for a walk. My best days almost always start or end with a long walk together with my wife, Kathryn. For me, walking lowers my stress levels, clears my head, and helps me think better. While I start out most walks with a nagging problem on my mind, I end most walks with a way forward and an improved attitude. Do you need clarity...

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