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Northam Working to Increase Affordable Housing Options, GOP Support Remains Unclear

AP Photo / John Bazemore

Lawmakers are returning to Richmond Wednesday, where they’ll be considering a proposal from the governor to invest more money into affordable housing.

Governor Ralph Northam wants to pump an additional $4 million into Virginia’s Housing Trust Fund, which is designed to increase supply of affordable homeownership and rental housing.

Laura Goren at the Commonwealth Institute says that would help minorities the most.

“Families of color in Virginia are less likely to own their homes in part because they are less likely to inherit a home," she says.

"Almost three in ten black households pay more than they can afford toward housing costs compared to less than two in ten white households.”

But throwing more money at a problem isn’t always the best answer, says Jeff Stier at Consumer Choice Center.

“More crony capitalism that goes to developers who know how to game the system isn’t going to bring people out of generational poverty, and that’s what I want as an advocate for affordable housing,” says Stier.

Republicans control both chambers in the General Assembly. So the governor’s plan to increase money for affordable housing will need some measure of GOP support if it’s going to be part of the budget.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.
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