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Stoney proposes dedicated funding source for Affordable Housing Trust Fund

Posted at 11:20 AM, Sep 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 11:21:14-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Mayor Levar Stoney announced Tuesday an ordinance to increase access to affordable housing in the City of Richmond.

The ordinance would establish a dedicated funding source for The Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) and enable the development of 10,000 new units in the city.

Under the mayor's proposal, as properties are phased out of tax-exempt status, the finance department would direct that new revenue to the the AHTF.

The mayor says that money coupled with existing state and federal government funding, would allow the city to create 10,000 new affordable housing units over the next decade.

“When every resident of Richmond is securely housed, then every resident of Richmond will truly be able to call this city home,” said the Mayor. “A dedicated funding stream will enable this vision and empower the city to address our spectrum of housing needs.”

Stoney says Richmond's growth as a city has benefited most of its population, but some are left behind.

"We have to recognize that racist systems have ensured that there are slots of Richmond residents that do not benefit from the growth... Unless we do something intentional. This is an intentional effort," Stoney said Tuesday.

If the ordinance is approved by Richmond City Council, it will generate $2 million in revenue by Fiscal Year 2022, then grow by approximately $2 million each year for the next five years, according to the Stoney's administration.

Tuesday, the Mayor also announced that his administration will introduce the city’s Equitable Affordable Housing Plan at the September 28 meeting of Richmond City Council.

The plan aims to create 10,000 quality affordable housing units over the next 10 years.

While the plan will not be released until the meeting, Stoney publicly previewed key policies and programs proposed in the plan, including:

  • Lobbying for and adopting inclusionary zoning ordinances for the City of Richmond and Commonwealth of Virginia;
  • Supporting tax rebates for new construction that includes affordable units within market rate developments;
  • Promoting resident ownership in RRHA communities;
  • Amending the zoning ordinance to reflect an inclusive and compassionate city by replacing the City-sponsored Cold Overflow Shelter with a network of year-round shelters and allowing religious institutions to shelter those experiencing homelessness without time limits;
  • Starting an anti-displacement grant program to help longtime residents stay in their lifelong neighborhoods;
  • Establishing a permanent rent assistance program tied to participation in the city’s workforce development program;
  • Launching “Land for Lodging” initiative for non-profits to acquire city-owned land at a nominal cost to develop affordable housing; and
  • Founding the city’s first “Lodging Lab,” developing low-cost housing and co-housing communities on vacant city-owned and RRHA-owned land using modular/prefabricated housing units designed and built by a social enterprise owned and operated by low income residents, including those living in public housing.