We have a CRISIS in our city, when it comes to the lack of truly affordable housing. Our research shows there is a shortage of 25,000 units of affordable housing – the vast majority of which is concentrated among households making under 30% AMI (approximately $27,000 for a family of four).
RISC succeeded in getting the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund (read more about housing trust funds here!) funded, back in 2015. Over $9 million has been invested since then, and 1,200 units of affordable housing have been the result. The problem is that 1,200 is nowhere near enough, and less than 10 of those units have been for households making under 30% AMI. The result? An evictions crisis – catapulting Richmond to #2 on a national ranking of cities’ eviction rates (read more about our eviction rate here).
On August 31st, at a Zoom Mini-Action with 529 members present, we laid out the following two goals for 2020-2021, and asked Mayor Stoney and three Councilmembers to commit their support -
1. $10 million in dedicated streams of funding for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund
2. Half of those funds being set aside for the creation of units for those making under 30% AMI.
All elected officials said "yes" (Mayor Stoney, and Councilpersons Robertson, Lynch and Addison).
- On September 28th, with close to 200 RISC members present, City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling upon Mayor Stoney to allocate $10 million annually to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, starting next fiscal year (FY 2022).
- On January 11th, after months of us conducting meetings with Councilmembers and city staff, City Council passed an Ordinance creating a dedicated stream of revenue for the Trust Fund moving forward.
The dedicated stream will come from newly realized property taxes, from properties rolling off of the city's tax abatement program. It will start out at $2 million per year, but the allocation will grow by $2 million - such that in Fiscal Year 2026, the allocation is $10 million.
HOWEVER, our Richmond community is suffering from decades of a failure to act around this crisis. That is why we are calling upon Mayor Stoney to act NOW, and put $10 million in his budget for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The Mayor's budget will be released on March 5.
Furthermore, we are also calling upon City Council to change the rules / policies surrounding the Trust Fund, such that half of the funding must be used for the creation of units for 30% AMI and below.
On February 17th, we held an Affordable Housing Roundtable, at which national affordable housing experts and Trust Fund Directors from other cities shared the details of how they are creating units for just this population (30% AMI and below). It was a truly informative event, and we plan to ask our City leaders to move forward and ACT on this, at our Nehemiah Action on March 23.