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AFFORDABLE HOUSING

AFFORDABLE HOUSING INITIATIVE

Building New Affordable Housing and Keeping People in Their Homes 

 

A huge driver of Richmonds affordability crisis is the skyrocketing price of rent. Today, Richmonders rental vacancy rate is the lowest it’s been in more than 20 years, and even for those lucky enough to find an apartment, rents are too high. A minimum wage worker would need to work two to three full-time jobs to afford a decent, two-bedroom apartment. 

Studies estimate that three out of four Richmond households are rent burdened, meaning they spend over 30% of household income on rent and utilities. That means all it takes for a Richmonder to land on the street is a rent hike, a single missed payment, a car that breaks down, or a handful of unpaid sick days.

That pathway to homelessness must be blocked if we are going to solve the crisis on Richmonds streets. That’s why Mosby will protect our existing housing stock and prevent renters from losing their homes. As Mayor, Michelle Mosby will:

 

1. Ensure Affordability for Decades

One of the city’s most effective strategies to create affordable housing is by securing commitments from residential developers to keep their properties affordable for decades at a time, even if ownership changes. Every year, however, buildings that partner with the city to provide units with rent restrictions are assessed at market rent, over the next decade, thousands of affordable units are at risk of being lost this way. 

Rather than assessing all developments at market rate, Mosby will create a database to ensure our real estate assessments recognize those who have partnered and are committed to honoring their affordability commitments.

She will also work to ensure that units receiving public subsidies in the first place stay affordable for longer periods of time, and she will collaborate with the federal government so that they extend the length of their affordable housing commitments as well.

 

2. Continuing to invest in the MWLT while Exploring other Land Bank models: Putting People Before Profit

Michelle Mosby will invest in the expansion of the current Land Trust model, explore other land and trust options, rehabilitate, and preserve more quality, affordable and accessible housing. Unlike traditional developer-owned affordable housing, community land trusts are not typically subject to expiring affordable housing covenants. These non-profit organizations that pool resources to build and maintain housing have affordability baked into their function from the outset.

Community land trusts provide an opportunity for community ownership, ensuring that housing is driven by the needs of people, not profits.

 

3. Prevent Displacement and Root Out Predatory Schemes

We must ensure that current seniors, tenants and homeowners are not forced out of their homes by developers and speculators that reap profits from neighborhoods without reinvesting in the existing community. Mosby will urge the city to establish a local resident priority policy that gives neighborhood residents at risk of displacement preference in newly constructed affordable units. She will ensure meaningful community engagement so that new development addresses existing residents’ needs and enhances access to opportunities, and she will go after landlords who intentionally allow their properties to deteriorate.

As Mayor, Michelle Mosby will put Richmonders on a new path to build more housing that Richmonders can afford. She will be aggressive in making it easier to build in Richmond Here’s how:

 

  1. Bring Down the Cost of Building Affordable Housing

Time is money. And we can’t waste a minute. That’s why Mosby will cut through red tape, expedite approvals, waive development fees and work with the community to build more affordable housing more quickly so more people can find homes they can afford. Lower costs lead to lower rents.

Everyone has a role to play in solving our housing crisis. Philanthropy, the private sector, labor, and government all have a financial stake in housing being affordable to all – so we need them all to come to the table in bringing down costs.

  1. Create an Affordable Housing Strike Team to Expedite Projects

Even after a project is approved for development, it gets dragged through a maze of city departments for additional clearances and approvals.

Affordable housing projects shouldn’t just cut to the front of the line – they need their own line. Mosby will create a new Affordable Housing Strike Team that has only one job: approve and expedite affordable housing projects as quickly as possible. This team will include the heads of every department that touches housing and will be held accountable by the Mayor.

  1. Explore Tiny Home Construction

Traditional building techniques alone aren’t going to cut it. She will encourage tiny home construction, an innovative technique that costs less and moves more quickly – and she will work to ensure those units get built in Richmond.

Across the board, Mosby will work to ensure that construction jobs building affordable housing projects promote high-road middle-class employment opportunities through strong labor protections and local training opportunities.

  1.  Modernize Outdated Zoning Rules

Mosby supports and will make a priority the cities master plan “Big Move” to Re-Write the Zoning Ordinance: Direct growth to appropriate areas while maintaining existing neighborhoods as well as creating new authentic neighborhoods adjacent to enhanced transit.

Mosby believes development on commercial boulevards is precisely where we should be building more housing, near transit and employment, while ensuring that new construction is consistent with the neighborhood character of each individual community.

 

Mosby Believes Together We Can Change the Affordable Housing Narrative!

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