Here’s the Problem
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), there is a shortage of more than 150,000 rental homes affordable and available for extremely low-income renters in Virginia. And 70 percent of extremely low-income renter households in our Commonwealth are “severely cost burdened,” meaning they spend more than half their income on housing, and they are most likely to sacrifice necessities to pay the rent.
These issues have only gotten worse during the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing Virginians into an impossible situation. Stretched thin and impacted by job losses that are no fault of their own, many don’t have the resources they expected to be able to pay their rent, along with other critical expenses to support their families. We know that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt for years to come, so we must take action to help Virginians at the center of the pain.
My Plans as Governor
These housing problems aren’t just issues Virginians have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve persisted thanks to a broken status quo, leaving Virginians in the dark about how to keep their families safe and at home. I will work tirelessly to increase access to affordable housing and end houselessness by implementing zoning reforms and increasing funding for public housing. My administration will do more to protect and expand renter protections. We will work every day to help Virginians get back on their feet without having to lose a roof over their heads. It’s far past time to take action.
As Governor, I will:
- Codify an eviction moratorium.
- Expand payment plan requirements.
- Increase access to affordable housing.
- Implement zoning reform.
- Work towards ending LGBTQIA+ houselessness.
- Address veteran houselessness & invest in veteran wrap-around services.
- Build stronger protections for renters.
- Ensure that Virginia residents know their rights.
- Build on renter protections.
- Build on utility bill protections.
My Record & Experience
This is an issue my family and I have been deeply committed to solving. While volunteering at Legal Aid, I assisted those wrongfully evicted prepare for their eviction court hearings. And as a public defender representing indigent Virginians, I worked to help my clients without homes get connected with housing programs and resources. My husband has served people without housing in our community for 12 years, working with those experiencing trauma, domestic violence, substance abuse, and mental illness. And he’s helped them through the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Delegate, I pioneered legislation to keep and protect Virginians in their homes. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, I co-patroned legislation to enact a statewide eviction moratorium — which I plan to extend as Governor.
As a Delegate, I:
- Introduced and passed legislation providing up until two days before the eviction judgment to pay the full amount owed to a landlord. This bill was based on recommendations from the Virginia Housing Commission.
- Co-patroned a bill to expand affordable housing by permitting certain landlords in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria Metropolitan Statistical Area to utilize the housing choice voucher tax credit.
- Supported efforts to combat housing discrimination on the basis of source of funds. This bill prohibits landlords from “refusing renters and homeowners who use housing choice vouchers,” effectively widening housing options for low-income residents.
- Co-patroned the Virginia Values Act, making Virginia the first Southern state to provide sweeping protections for the LGBTQ+ community against discrimination in housing and public spaces.