February 9, 2012
Delegate Lopez’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund Legislation Reports to Full Committee
(Richmond, VA) – Delegate Alfonso Lopez’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund bill – HB 790 – was reported from the housing subcommittee after being incorporated into Delegate Joe Morrissey’s similar legislation, HB 121. The subcommittee amended the funding mechanisms for the Trust Fund to reduce the fiscal impact and increase the chances of reporting from the full Committee. This is the farthest Affordable Housing Trust Fund legislation has gotten in the General Assembly in over six years.
The Virginia Housing Trust Fund would provide grants for the construction of new affordable housing, the rehabilitation of existing affordable housing units, and rental assistance to individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
“Over the last ten years, Virginians have seen deep losses in home equity, skyrocketing rental costs, increased homelessness, and the deepest cuts in Federal Housing programs in thirty years,” said Lopez. “I believe that we can and should be doing more to address this issue in Virginia.”
Currently, there are 40 State housing trust funds in the United States including North Carolina, Maryland, and West Virginia. In fact, Governor McDonnell’s Housing Policy Recommendations included the creation of a Housing Trust Fund in Virginia; however, he eventually decided not to include it in the Biennial Budget.
“I don’t think we can wait,” said Lopez. “There are too many families living on the margins in Northern Virginia. There are also too many homeless children or children living on the brink of homelessness in Virginia.”
The supporters of the legislation packed the subcommittee room to provide critical testimony to the need for an Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The subcommittee recommended to report by a 4-3 vote to the House General Laws Committee, which meets Thursdays in House Room C after the House adjourns from session.
Delegate Lopez’s bill is similar to legislation that former State Senator Mary Margaret Whipple advocated for over several years.
###Contact: Jason Stanford804.698.1049DelALopez@house.virginia.gov
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