Released in 2015 by the Partnership for Housing Affordability (PHA), “Housing the Richmond Region” offers a sobering look at affordable housing in the Richmond Region. In each and every jurisdiction, more than 25% of residents are cost burdened—spending more than 30% of their gross monthly income on housing. The difference between what our citizens collectively can afford to pay for housing and what they actually pay is a staggering $862 million annually. This means thousands of Richmond area residents are unable to save for retirement, save for children’s college education, and make the discretionary purchases that are the lifeblood of small businesses and our regional economy.
Closing the gap requires concerted, collaborative efforts on multiple but related fronts. Quality education, workforce preparedness, and access to employment are essential if residents are to secure jobs that pay sustainable wages. Partnerships in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors offer creative strategies to build new and preserve existing affordable housing units. We are making progress, though, with a greater focus on career/ technical education aligned with in-demand jobs; Bus Rapid Transit as a precursor to more regional transit; and innovative housing strategies, such as the region’s first Community Land Trust.
*By the researchers of Virginia Tech and Virginia Commonwealth University
This example of regional collaboration not only brings together multiple partners, but also crosses our Social Stability, Education, Workforce Preparation, and Job Creation priority areas. Contact us if you have a collaborative story to share.