Sen. Warner and Mayor Stoney address concerns over funding for affordable housing in Richmond

A roundtable discussion, led by Senator Mark Warner and Mayor Levar Stoney, highlighting many of the fears that loom ahead.
Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 7:29 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 2, 2023 at 7:30 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - On Monday, U.S. Senator Mark Warner and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney joined a roundtable discussion to address concerns after narrowly avoiding a government shutdown.

A stopgap bill bought lawmakers more time, but now advocates for affordable housing are pushing for action to avoid a November shutdown, which would further exacerbate the housing crisis in the river city.

“There is no state in the country that is more reliant on the federal government than the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Sen. Warner said.

The event highlighted many of the fears that loom ahead, especially for the underserved communities in Richmond.

“The mayor has called a public housing emergency. The idea that we would have kicked out those supports with a government shutdown would have been crazy,” Sen. Warner said. “But I do worry that there seems to be a small group of folks up where I work that all they want to do is kind of almost literally and figuratively turn down the house.”

Others who shared their concerns include representatives from RRH: Virginiaa Housing Alliance, Richmond City Council, state government, and residents.

“Not only do we have federal workers and their employment, their paychecks on the line,“ Mayor Stoney said. “We have folks right here in Richmond who depend on federal programs, whether it’s WIC, TANF, you name it. 90,000 Richmonders between Richmond and Henrico depend on these vital programs.”

Many speakers also addressed the affordable housing crisis and how a shutdown would further devastate struggling families.

“The fact that we are looking at a government shutdown, where operating subsidy could be shut down, is disastrous for us,” Kenyatta Green with RRHA said.

Sen. Warner says when it comes to the federal budget, he does not want American leaders to walk away from their commitment to Ukraine, saying national security issues are at stake.

He pledged to do his best to work with his fellow lawmakers to avoid harming Virginians in the long run.

“The clock is ticking,” Sen. Warner said. “It would be absurd if we had to go down another one of these countdowns when the vast majority of us do want to fund the government, and we do want to make sure that we provide the services that are so essential.”

NBC12 reached out to Virginia House Republicans to hear their side, but they declined to comment.