Mayor Stoney, City Council set to address affordable housing crisis in Richmond

As part of his state of the city address earlier this year, Mayor Levar Stoney promised to create more affordable housing.
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 1:46 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It’s no secret that finding a reasonably priced place to live in Richmond is a challenge.

“Whether you’re the poorest of the poor or very affluent, I think we all have stories about the challenge of getting affordable homes,” said Rev. Amy Starr Redwine, co-president of Richmonders Involved to Strengthen Our Communities (RISC).

RISC says the city is lacking in affordable homes to the tune of 39,000.

Now, Richmond City Council is mulling over declaring a housing crisis. In Richmond, the Black homeownership rate is only 32% compared to about 60% for white homeowners.

“You’re going to see us focus on affordable housing,” said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.

As part of his State of the City address earlier this year, Stoney promised to create more affordable housing.

He wants to create 1,000 new affordable rental units each year and 2,000 new homeownership opportunities for low-income residents by 2030.

He’s pledging $50 million to cover that, along with $1.4 million for a first-time home buyers down payment assistance program for city employees.

“We’ve made the pledge that we’re going to be a city that prioritizes good housing for everyone. So in my budget, I’m making a $50 million commitment to affordable housing, $10 million each year,” said Stoney.

Those with RISC are encouraging the mayor to also funnel money into the city’s affordable housing trust fund. They have oversight concerns.

“We certainly don’t think we should be pivoting to a bond program instead of the trust fund, maybe in addition to, to give us more tools to work with,” said Starr Redwine.

Also, part of the mayor’s plan sets aside $1.75 million for a permanent year-round emergency shelter and $800,000 for the Eviction Diversion Program.

The fine print is still being worked out, but City Council is set to take up the idea at its meeting on March 27.