CHP Champions a Virginia Housing Trust FundPosted on Aug 24th, 2011
Christiansburg, Va. - The lack of affordable options for housing has become a national epidemic; in fact, 40 states — including Maryland, North Carolina and West Virginia — have established housing trust funds to alleviate the rising cost of housing. The good news for Virginia is that five statewide housing organizations, representing a coalition of many more like-minded institutions such as Community Housing Partners (CHP), have launched a campaign to create a Virginia Housing Trust Fund. Such a fund would establish a consistent and reliable source of funding to address the housing needs of low- to moderate-income Virginians across the commonwealth.
Housing trust funds are the single most impressive advance in the affordable housing field in the United States over the past several decades. Because housing is the foundation of every healthy community, local and state governments are recognizing that they need to contribute public resources to adequately house their residents, and they are using housing trust funds as the vehicle to do exactly that.
Housing trust funds are distinct funds established by city, county, or state governments that receive ongoing dedicated sources of public funding to support the preservation and production of affordable housing opportunities for families and individuals to access decent affordable homes.
The housing crisis over the past few years has had a profound impact on the lives of Virginians. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, over 65,000 construction jobs have been lost in the state since 2006 – due in part to the dramatic decline in residential building. The sales and financing industries have also seen widespread job loss as economic pressures have weakened consumer confidence and spending. In addition, the collapse of the homeownership market is putting new pressure on rental housing by driving up rents and pushing affordable housing out of reach for many workers. The Virginia Housing Trust Fund will address many of these issues by investing in jobs, communities, and families.
In fact, a Virginia Housing Trust Fund has the potential to create thousands of well-paying jobs for Virginians because an increase in construction and rehabilitation projects leads to more jobs, which has an economic "multiplier effect" that cycles through local businesses.
Additionally, a Virginia Housing Trust Fund will offer the flexibility to respond to a range of local housing needs, including affordable rental and homeownership opportunities, supportive housing for special needs populations, foreclosure prevention and mitigation, and targeted assistance to communities most in need. These funds will leverage other private investment in order to strengthen local communities across the commonwealth.
Whether it is a young family purchasing their first home; a senior in need of home repairs or supportive housing; a single parent struggling to support his or her children; an individual experiencing or at risk of homelessness; a family who cannot afford to live where they work; or a person with disabilities who needs affordable, accessible housing, the Virginia Housing Trust Fund will work to address the housing needs of Virginia families who are working in lower-wage jobs or living on limited or fixed incomes.
Orlando Artze, Executive Vice President and COO of CHP and President of the Virginia Housing Coalition (VHC), noted that, "The rising costs of housing and living have reached a level where many can no longer afford safe, quality housing. But housing trust funds have proven to be a positive and effective approach to growing and preserving affordable housing options.”
The Campaign for a Virginia Housing Trust Fund is a broad-based coalition that includes Virginia Housing Coalition, Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness, HOME, Habitat Virginia, Virginia LISC , and other partners. To learn more about the Trust Fund or how you can help support it, email firstname.lastname@example.org.