Gov. McDonnell announces new housing help

By Gene Petriello- bio | email 
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Today, Governor Bob McDonnell announced a new, first of it's kind, housing executive order and policy here in Virginia to help people who are struggling to keep a roof over their head.

He toured the Lincoln Mews, an apartment complex now headed by the Better Housing Coalition, that allows people to live in affordable housing.

Willie James has lived in the community in the Richmond for about 4 years and moving here into this community has really changed his life. Struggling to pay his bills, Willie's story is like so many of us.

"The light bill was real high. The gas bill was tremendous. Just myself with just one income, it was really hard," said James.

So he moved to the Lincoln Mews, a renovated affordable housing community making some big strides under the better housing coalition.

And now Governor Bob McDonnell is throwing his support at this location, and all across the Commonwealth.

"For people to afford this, with the economy the way it is now and the way jobs are, to see him make this happen, I call it a vision and someone needs to carry on that vision," added James.

The governor announced a state wide housing policy on Wednesday, to help reducing homelessness and expanding affordable housing. He also is starting up a housing policy advisory committee, made up of state and private leaders to help move this initiative along.

"You take care of income and shelter and people, you can have the ability to live their lives fully and take care of their children," said Gov. McDonnell.

Including James' 9 year old.

"It means a lot to know that we have a governor who cares about this community and Virginia period," James said.

This all comes during a time when foreclosures are soaring, and unemployment here in Virginia is above 7 percent. But the governor is hoping to turn things around.

At Lincoln Mews, crime is down and James feels even more positive momentum building among his neighbors.

"It makes me want to think they really want to be apart of this community and they are doing what they can to maintain it," said James.

Governor McDonnell will sign and executive order regarding this housing policy in the coming day. Then, later this year, this housing committee will help to start getting the wheels turning.

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