HOUSING

Housing matters — a lot. Stable, affordable housing is critical for health and is tied to childhood academic performance. Homeownership often acts as a springboard for social mobility. An enduring legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic, the home has become much more than just a place of rest, family, food, and friends. It has become an essential workplace and classroom. While the federal government is not in charge of local zoning decisions, policies at the federal level can facilitate and enable the creation of affordable and amenable living. A child’s early years are the foundation for their future development. Access to quality education where emphasis is placed not only on developing basic and social skills, but also on achieving proper literacy and math levels, is indispensable.

I support:

 1. Increasing support for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program

  • This means (1) awarding more tax credits to offset constructions costs of housing in exchange for reserving a significant number of rent-restricted units for low-income households, and (2) providing more subsidies to make up the difference between what it costs to develop a property and the income that can be generated to support those costs.

  • The LIHTC is the largest and most effective federal program to encourage the development and rehabilitation of affordable rental homes.

  • We know this programs works. We need to increase its funding to increase the preservation and construction of much-needed affordable rental housing units, disrupt patterns of segregation and concentrated poverty, and improve health outcomes for low-income Americans.

2. Eliminating restrictive land use and zoning policies

  • Zoning restrictions by state and local governments, such as restrictions on multifamily homes or parking requirements, can unnecessarily curb the supply of affordable housing. Exclusionary land use and "not-in-my-backyard" (NIMBY) sentiments entrench patterns of segregation and concentrate both wealth and poverty.

  • While the federal government is not in charge of local zoning decision, it can incentivize communities to reform their land use policies and spur affordable housing development, reward communities that eliminate restrictive policies, and limit funding to communities that continue exclusionary land use practices. Federal agencies could also offer technical assistance and provide guidance for policies to remove those barriers.

3. Building and rehabbing owner-occupied housing in distressed neighborhoods

  • To promote first-time homeownership and potentially help close the racial gap in homeownership rates, there is an urgent need to address a key problem: development costs often exceed market values for owner-occupied homes in distressed neighborhoods.

  • A federal tax credit could help close this "appraisal gap" by incentivizing private investment to build and rehabilitate homes in the neighborhoods for low and middle-income families.

4. Passing comprehensive rent control legislation

  • We need to place a cap on the amount that landlords can raise rent yearly and tame inflation locally, so that renters are finally awarded the same housing security as owners. 

  • In Virginia, landlords have the ability to increase rent by whatever means they desire at any point in time — so long as they provide a 30-day notice, at which point a tenant has to decide whether they can afford their new rent or vacate their home. 

  • Renters make up a substantial portion of VA’s 8th district — they are disproportionately made up of young people, minorities, and individuals working lower-paying jobs. 

  • Rent prices have skyrocketed over the last decade, and particularly since COVID-19. With already-unaffordable housing in VA-8, renters have to worry about a sudden and large increase in their rent being imposed on them at any point in time. This makes it difficult for renters to plan for and manage their expenses and causes major housing security concerns

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