MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT! On Monday, June 22nd, Mayor Stoney announced he is allocating $6 million from the CARES Act $ to eviction diversion and emergency rental assistance - in response to our RISC request that he do so, on Thursday June 18th.
There are 40,000 households in the Richmond metro area that rent, and are making less than 30% of the Area Median Income ($25,000 annually for a family of four). For every 100 of these households, there are only 33 available and affordable units. This puts the need at more than 26,000 units of affordable housing – right now, for just this population making under 30% AMI.
RISC has succeeded in getting the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund funded, with yearly allocations since 2015. Last year, we pushed for the greatest allocation to date ($2.9 million) and the funding and establishment of an Eviction Diversion Program. With the second highest eviction rate in the country (click here to read more about our eviction rate), Richmond was in great need of such a program.
With the advent of COVID-19 - evictions are forecast to explode. Click here to read a report put out by the Eviction Lab at Princeton, detailing such and the reasons behind it.
Our "Ask" for Fiscal Year 2021 -
Allocate at least $2.9 million to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund for Fiscal Year 2021, as currently proposed.
Allocate at least $485,000 to the Eviction Diversion Program for Fiscal Year 2021, as currently being proposed.
Pass a resolution saying that as an additional $800,000 becomes available in Fiscal Year 2021, such funds will be allocated to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund ($600,000) and the Eviction Diversion Program ($200,000) – to get these allocations up to the original proposed amounts in the Mayor’s Budget released March 6.
On May 11th, the City passed its budget with our first 2 "asks" above in it. We had secured another $3.3 million for housing needs!
On May 26th, Councilwoman Robertson introduced our resolution for the additional $800,000; however, on June 18th, during a Finance & Economic Development Committee meeting - the resolution was delayed until it could be discussed more at their July 16th meeting.
However, in the meantime - we had conducted some research and realized the city was poised to receive $20.2 million in CARES Act dollars. Other cites across the country had determined to spend significant portions of their dollars on emergency rent assistance. Given our problem with evictions (the number of eviction cases on the docket for June 2020 had risen to 1,934), we decided that this was needed here. Our "model" was Alexandra - which had allocated 29% of their allocation to an emergency rental assistance program.
On June 18th, we met with Mayor Stoney and presented our ask. After some back and forth, Mayor Stoney agreed to "find the money."
We plan to take 100+ RISC members to the City Council meeting on June 22nd, to share this agreement we've reached and seek the Council's support.
The City doing the above will go a long way. However, the problem is enormous - of crisis proportions. What is needed is a significantly greater amount of funding, guaranteed annually, to exponentially increase the housing stock - particularly for those most in-need households making under 30% AMI.
That is why we have the following ask as well -
RISC “ASK” BEYOND BUDGET 2020-2021 -