Federal funding coming to help Virginia’s affordable housing problems

Advertising signs point out completed new homes, homes under construction as well as lots for new homes in Glen Allen, Va., Monday, April 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

By Michael O'Connor

May 9, 2024

More than $55 million will be distributed to redevelopment and housing authorities in 26 different localities across Virginia.

The federal government has awarded Virginia millions of dollars to help localities address its ongoing housing crisis.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded $98.6 million to Virginia for affordable housing, community development, and homelessness assistance. Virginia’s two Democratic senators, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, announced the funding to help improve affordable housing in a press release on Wednesday.

“All Virginians deserve access to safe, affordable housing,” said the senators. “We’re glad this federal funding will help our communities expand, renovate, and improve affordable housing units, and will continue to do all that we can to expand access to affordable housing in Virginia.”

The need for affordable housing in Virginia, like elsewhere in the country, is dire. The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates that 183,843 rental homes are needed to fill the shortage for extremely low income renters in Virginia. Thousands of people are evicted each month in Virginia, including most recently families fighting to remain in a mobile home park in Caroline County.

WATCH: Virginia Beach resident on the affordable housing crisis in Virginia

Beyond more public funding, housing advocates are fighting for policy changes in Virginia that would give people more time to pay their rent when they get an eviction notice and to combat rent gouging.

The federal money includes $55.5 million that is going to 26 redevelopment and housing authorities across Virginia. Redevelopment and housing authorities are public entities that run public housing programs. The Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority is slated to get the biggest award in Virginia of $14.3 million, and the Norfolk Redevelopment & Housing Authority is slated to get $10.7 million.

Stable housing is a key factor in all kinds of outcomes when it comes to children and people trying to climb the economic ladder, get good educations, and live healthy lives, said Terry Clower, the director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University.

“There’s a spillover effect,” Clower said. “(Public investment in housing) has positive impacts on the residents who live there that spill over into better economic outcomes for themselves and for the public generally.”

  • Michael O'Connor

    Michael is an award-winning journalist who has been covering Virginia news since 2013 with reporting stints at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginia Business, and Richmond BizSense. A graduate of William & Mary and Northern Virginia Community College, he also covered financial news for S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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