VHC releases 2014 Out of Reach report, Virginia remains the most expensive state in the Southeast to rent

Today, VHC released its Out of Reach 2014 report for Virginia jointly with the National Low Income Housing Coalition. NLIHC’s annual report provides the Housing Wage and other housing affordability data for every state, metropolitan area, combined non metropolitan area, and county in the country. The Housing Wage, is the hourly wage a family must earn, working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, to be able to afford the rent and utilities for a safe and modest home in the private housing market.

Here are some highlights from this year’s report:

  • Southeastern US - 2014Renters in Virginia need to earn $20.93 per hour in order to afford a basic apartment. The typical renter in Virginia earns $15.97 per hour, which is $4.96 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest unit (housing wage).
  • The Housing Wage in Virginia is over two dollars more than the National Housing Wage of $18.92.
  • Virginia has the highest Housing Wage among all of the states in the Southeast (see image at right) and is the 10th least affordable state in the nation.
  • Working at the minimum wage in Virginia, a family must have 2.9 wage earners working full-time, or one full-time earner working 115 hours per week to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment.

Click here to view the full report that includes maps showing how the housing wage, varies across the state, percent of renters that can afford a modest unit in different localities and the number of hours a worker would need to work at minimum wage to afford a modest unit among other affordability metrics.

Click here for the 2014 affordability data from NLIHC for each metropolitan area and county in the state.

A look at housing in the 2014 General Assembly session

While we eagerly await the results of the continuing FY15-16 state budget impasse and what it means for the future of the Housing Trust Fund, VHC thought it was a good time to take a look at how our other priorities fared this year. Click the images below to view our infographic on housing bills in the 2014 session, or you can click here to download the pdf.

2014 GA legislation wrap-up page 12014 GA legislation wrap-up page 2

Secretary Jones speaks on why home matters

It is great to see Virginia’s new Secretary of Commerce Maurice Jones speak on the importance of housing in his own life and the role of stable housing on society. Before his current post, Secretary Jones served as HUD Deputy Secretary. The Coalition is looking forward to engaging with Secretary Jones on housing issues and policy in the McAuliffe Administration.

 

For more Home Matters videos and resources visit the project’s website: http://www.homemattersamerica.com/

A look at Virginia’s local housing trust funds

With all of the exciting news for housing trust funds at the state and national level in the last couple years, it is important to highlight how this idea of a flexible affordable housing fund operates on the local level. Many in the housing community may not know it, but Virginia has a number of city and county housing trust funds that have already been put to great use, in some cases since the early 90′s. These funds vary in funding sources, revenue models, and particular uses but all are focused on increasing the supply and access to affordable housing in their communities based on local needs.

cary 2000Before we take a look at some of the existing funds in the state, we can share the exciting news that Richmond may be the next city in Virginia to join these ranks and allocate funds to a city housing trust fund. Members of the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund Advisory Board have been advocating for an allocation of $5 million/year in the city budget to effectively capitalize the Fund. Mayor Dwight Jones announced his amendments to the city’s 5-year improvement plan this week, allocating $1 million an year to the fund. The budget should be finalized late this spring and will likely include at a minimum the amount proposed by the Mayor.

 

Here’s a look at the need and proposed uses for the Fund from the Advisory Board’s report:

-Richmond is a City with a majority of renters and currently does not provide a sufficient supply of decent, affordable rental homes to meet demand. Over 16,000 Richmond families with low incomes (below 60% AMI) are rent burdened (spend over 30% of income on housing).

-Based on job growth alone, Richmond will need to add more than 7,500 homes to meet the needs of its growing workforce. Many of these jobs are modest income and will require affordable housing.

poverty map-As proposed, the Housing Trust Fund will serve a wide range of persons across many common job classifications. More than 2/3′s or the Richmond City employees will qualify for assistance through the fund.

-With a $5 million per year commitment, the Trust Fund would attract almost $200 million in leveraged investment in the city over the next five years.

-Target the Fund so that it serves citizens with incomes at or below 80% of area median income. Reserve 30% of the fund to serve those with the most critical needs – very low-income households at 30% of area median income or less.

-Establish the Fund with a broad range of uses including homeownership, rental housing, special needs, new construction, rehabilitation, home repair, counseling and related activities. Depending on funding level, the City can set priorities from year to year.

Here’s a look at some of the local housing trust funds already operating around the State:

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End of session Housing Trust Fund update

General Assembly OpeningWith the normal 2014 General Assembly Session coming to an end tomorrow, we’d like to give you an update on our efforts this session to secure funding for the Housing Trust Fund in the next biennium budget.

For a quick review, early in the session housing advocates were able to find members in both houses to introduce amendments that would add to the $4 million a year that Governor McDonnell had already included in his outgoing FY14-16 budget. On the Senate side, Senator Colgan put in an amendment for an additional $4 million a year which would have brought the HTF to its 2013 funding level of $8 million. On the House side, Delegate Lopez put in a $1 million a year amendment. In the budgets that cleared each chamber in mid-February, the Senate’s budget included a total of $4 million a year for the Fund and the House budget zeroed out the fund. This means that the amendments introduced by both members failed and the House removed the funding that Governor McDonnell had included.

Before the House passed its budget one of our champions in the House, Delegate Lopez, brought the amendment to zero out the HTF to the floor for a vote. The amendment still passed 70-29, click here to see how your Delegate voted. Here is a clip of Delegate Lopez speaking against the House amendment:

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