Stoney proposes funding source for Affordable Housing Trust Fund

Mayor Levar Stoney holds a news conference Wednesday to provide an update on the COVID-19...
Mayor Levar Stoney holds a news conference Wednesday to provide an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the city(NBC12)
Updated: Sep. 22, 2020 at 3:17 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said he will introduce an ordinance to city council to establish a funding source for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF).

Stoney said the dedicated funding would leverage other affordable housing funding from state and federal governments to make it possible to create 10,000 new affordable housing units.

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

If the mayor’s ordinance passes, then the funding stream would stabilize annual allocations, the Stoney Administration says.

“Under the proposal, the future tax revenues from properties leaving the real property partial tax exemption rehabilitation program will go directly to an AHTF special fund to build new affordable units. In short, as properties are phased out of tax-exempt status, the Finance Department would direct that new revenue to the AHTF,” a release said.

The administration says they believe it would result in $2 million in revenue for Fiscal Year 2022 and grow by the same amount for the next five years, giving the AHTF $10 million by 2026.

While the full plan will not be announced until the meeting, Stoney released the following key policies and programs in the proposed plan:

  • 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.

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