VHA advocates for the expansion of affordable housing opportunities and ending homelessness throughout the Commonwealth. We do this through a policy framework that understands how to build compromise and relies on the lived experience of low-income Virginians affected by policy decisions. VHA’s policy initiatives represent the shared priorities of affordable housing and homelessness organizations and advocates from across the state.
Why: Housing is the foundation for opportunity. However, Virginia’s residential landscape is segregated due to past and present housing policies and practices which divide resources and differentiate opportunities at the neighborhood level. Extensive research has shown the beneficial impact that safe, stable, energy-efficient, and affordable housing has on our lives. Affordable housing provides the stability for children to learn, adults to benefit from employment opportunities, families and individuals to feel both physically and emotionally safe, and serves as the fabric of our communities and neighborhoods. Neighborhoods with diverse housing options serve the broad needs of its residents from teachers, young families, older adults, and persons with disabilities.
Why: No jurisdiction in the Commonwealth has enough affordable and available homes for low wage earners. In fact, there exists a shortage of 150,000 affordable homes for households earning 50% or less of the area median income ($37,111).
This shortage results in roughly 8 out of 10 very low income Virginia renters being housing cost burdened or having to pay more than 30% of their income on housing, leaving them with scarce resources to pay for other necessities and emergencies as they may arise. Forty percent of Black households are housing cost burdened compared to 24% of white households. Only by investing in affordable housing at a level commensurate with the need will we be able to ensure that families are able to find quality affordable housing in the neighborhoods of their choice.
Why: Housing is a human right. On any given night, 6,000 people experience homelessness in the Commonwealth, over half of whom are Black. The current health crisis has illustrated the critical role that housing plays in our lives. Homelessness is a multifaceted issue, unique to each person experiencing homelessness. However, the homelessness services system cannot end homelessness in isolation. In order to end homelessness, we must increase the supply of affordable and supportive housing units across the Commonwealth and expand system level capacity to connect people to supportive resources.
While states have an important role to play in the funding process for affordable housing, the federal government also plays an important role.
Get involved and be a voice for affordable housing policy in Virginia.