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POLICY FRAMEWORK

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.

VHA advocates to ensure equitable access to affordable, quality, energy-efficient housing

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.

Solutions:

  • Expand tenant protections
  • Advance robust fair housing laws
  • Create and support programs that increase BIack and brown homeownership
  • Support resources that increase energy efficiency in existing and new homes

VHA advocates to increase the supply of affordable housing to address our unmet housing needs

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.

Solutions:

  • Ensure that affordable housing is included in local government planning and land use policies
  • Fund programs that support and deepen affordability throughout Virginia such as the Housing Trust Fund and Housing Opportunity Tax Credit Program
  • Create a state rental assistance program to complement federal Housing Choice Vouchers

VHA advocates to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring

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.

Solutions:

  • Increase funding for Permanent Supportive Housing
  • Support Eviction Prevention and Diversion programs
  • Continue to fund the Virginia Housing Solutions Program

State policy initiatives

There are a number of different ways in which states can help expand the supply of affordable homes.

Federal policy initiatives

While states have an important role to play in the funding process for affordable housing, the federal government also plays an important role.

Take action now

Get involved and be a voice for affordable housing policy in Virginia.