I live in Norfolk but I go to TCC's ADN program. The cost of living is certainly cheaper down here than in Northern Va. However, housing right around ODU can get expensive. Of course there are plenty of other places to live in this area! I've known a few ppl that were in ODU's nursing program. I think it has similar issues as other schools but overall its a great program. I applied to their program and got waitlisted, as they do not accept a huge number of applicants (I believe it was 50 for their traditional program and 50 for their accelerated program in 2003). I covered myself and applied to TCC at the same time and got accepted-no problem. If you stay in the area, TCC and ODU have an articulation program, so I can apply to their program as a RN and finish my Bachelor's in 1 year or 2 years depending on how many classes I take.
This area is pretty diverse. I'm not sure how familiar you are with the area but Norfolk, Va beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Suffolk are the citys that compromise South Hampton Roads. They are all "connected". Va Beach is where I lived for the majority of the time since I moved here. Its very suburban with the beach (of course), malls, etc. Norfolk is trying to revitalize its downtown and they're doing a pretty good job, and is more urban than VB. The area around ODU used to be more "college friendly" but they tore a bunch of the bars and other hang outs down to build the new arena (can't remember the name). Ghent is a neighborhood close-by and is a bit more artsy with some trendy restaurants/bars. Chesapeake is like Va Beach, but with no beach and a bit more rural. Portsmouth is more urban towards the east and more suburban toward the west. P-town can be scary place if you're in the wrong place...but its nicer in the western parts.
Of course, we also have a TON of military too....
Let me know if you have any questions.