McAuliffe unveils plan to tackle housing crisis in Virginia
More than 260,000 Virginia households facing the risk of eviction, a crisis worsened by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic that former governor Terry McAuliffe is addressing in a plan announced on Monday.
McAuliffe, running for the Democratic Party nomination for governor, proposes investing in the Virginia Housing Trust Fund, empowering localities to address the issues in their communities, and partnering with the Biden administration to expand affordable housing.
“Virginia has a real crisis on our hands when it comes to housing, but let’s be clear: the COVID-19 pandemic is only making a bad situation worse,” McAuliffe said.
In particular, we’re seeing lending policies that have significantly impacted homeownership rates among Black and Brown Americans.
In Virginia, 11.9 percent of Black and 9.6 percent of Hispanic applicants were denied home loans in 2019, compared to a 5 percent denial rate for white applicants, making Black and Brown Virginians 2.4 and 1.9 times respectively more likely to be denied home financing than their white counterparts.
“For generations, Black and Brown Virginians have been systemically kept from the American dream of homeownership by racist, discriminatory policies, and it’s got to stop,” McAuliffe said. “We must act boldly and decisively to end these racist practices, increase the supply of affordable housing, and tackle homelessness once and for all. As governor, I will make sure housing security is a primary aspect of our recovery.
“I will use all of the tools at my disposal to increase the availability of affordable housing and work to make sure all Virginians have a place to call home,” said McAuliffe, who pledged to work to fight systemic racism head-on by combating lending discrimination, ensuring Black Virginians are made aware of and given access to critical state resources, and strengthening down payment assistance programs, low-interest loans, and rent-to-own programs in opportunity-rich areas.
“It is time we tackle the housing crisis in Virginia,” said said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, a co-chair of Terry for Virginia. “That means addressing the shortage in supply of affordable housing and taking aim at the shocking, discriminatory practices that have kept Black and Brown Virginians from participating in home ownership for far too long.
“Our next governor must act boldly and decisively to address this crisis, which is being made worse every day by the COVID pandemic,” Stoney said. “Here in the City of Richmond, we have created a model affordable housing community, which Terry helped support during his administration, and I am proud to have him here to visit this source of pride for our city today.
“Terry’s bold, comprehensive housing proposal will directly address the housing disparities communities of color in the Commonwealth have faced for generations and will make homeownership a reality for more Virginians.”