Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) released his full 2021-2022 proposed budget on December 17, which includes $92 million in new funding to increase the affordable housing stock and address evictions.
A key component of the proposal is an investment of $63 million for the Virginia Housing Trust Fund (VHTF), raising the total to $84 million over three years. Virginia law stipulates that 80% of the VHTF be used to provide loans for the construction and rehabilitation of low- to moderate- income housing. The other 20% must be used to provide grants to communities to combat chronic homelessness.
Mr. Northam’s proposal also includes $6.6 million to establish an Eviction and Diversion Pilot Program, allowing local and regional partners to apply for funding to implement eviction prevention programs.
The Governor also proposes to provide $22.4 million over the biennium for permanent supportive housing for people with special needs: $8.9 million for 350 rental assistance slots for people with developmental disabilities, more than $8 million in permanent supportive housing for individuals discharged from state behavioral health facilities, and $5 million to increase funding for statewide behavioral health facility discharge assistance plans.
This budget proposal follows Governor Northam’s executive order last year requiring Virginia to develop policies to increase the supply of permanent supportive housing, address the affordable housing shortage, and reduce the rate of eviction.
NLIHC state partner, the Virginia Housing Alliance proved instrumental in helping secure this funding in Governor Northam’s proposal. “It was a coordinated education effort over several years with other partners to demonstrate to lawmakers how critical it is to increase affordable housing in Virginia,” said Brian Koziol, executive director of the Virginia Housing Alliance. A governor’s office press release quoted him stating that this budget “will reap untold benefits far into the future for low-income households across the Commonwealth.” Mr. Koziol is cautiously optimistic that the budget will pass because Democrats control the three branches of Virginia government. Yet, Mr. Koziol thinks the work is far from over, so the Virginia Housing Alliance will continue to advocate for affordable housing and for the lowest-income residents in Virginia, regardless of the budget’s passage.
The governor’s budget proposal is at: https://bit.ly/35IZRru