The Virginia Housing Trust Fund uses public dollars to leverage private investment in housing for people with extremely low incomes. Safe, decent, affordable housing is essential for individual and family stability, yet the Commonwealth has only 36 affordable housing units for every 100 very low-income households (NLIHC, 2020). Since the first allocation of the VHTF, 3,624 affordable units have been created or are in the process of being created with this funding source to help meet the great need for our neighbors throughout the Commonwealth (DHCD, 2021).
Currently, no jurisdiction in the Commonwealth has enough affordable housing. Continued and increased funding is needed to make strides to meeting the housing needs of all of our neighbors, including our seniors and people with disabilities, members of our workforce, young families, and new graduates.
Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is an evidence-based practice that combines affordable rental housing with community-based services to address the treatment, rehabilitative, and recovery support needs of participants (DBHDS).
The lack of housing options is the most common barrier to state hospital discharge. An estimated 5,000 units are needed to meet the housing and support services needs of homeless and discharge-ready hospitalized individuals with serious mental illness. Our discharge-ready neighbors are not able to leave the state hospital unless they have a home to which they can discharge, resulting in them staying in the hospital longer than necessary, and taking up needed hospital beds. More resources are critical for creating more homes and support services to move our neighbors out of the hospital and into the community.
The creation of the Virginia Housing Opportunity Tax Credit would add another tool to the toolbox to create more homes that are available and affordable to our neighbors. The federal Low Income-Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is one of the few effective tools we have for developing and rehabilitating homes affordable to lower-income households. Since its launch in 1987, the LIHTC has enabled Virginia to raise enough equity to produce over 110,000 affordable units throughout the Commonwealth (State LIHTC Study Report, 2020).
Despite the impact of the LIHTC, the need still exists for more homes to meet the needs of our neighbors. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated Virginia's affordable housing crisis, and considering a State Tax credit, that would supplement the federal Tax Credit, would help address this growing challenge.
While states have an important role to play in the funding process for affordable housing, the federal government also plays an important role.
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