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Kaine, Warner announce $98 million for ongoing housing crisis

Reporting by Stephanie Hudson at WAVY 10 News.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner announced Virginia will receive more than $98 million in federal funding to address the affordable housing crisis.

Hampton Roads’ share shakes out to more than $17 million. While that’s a lot of money, it’s not enough to dig the region out of the housing crisis.

To put it into perspective, calls to the regional housing crisis hotline run by ForKids, Inc. have doubled from last April to this April. “We had a woman who called us just last week who was an elderly woman on a fixed income and her rent had gone from $900 to $1,100,” said ForKids COO Thaler McCormick. “There’s just not $200 more in her fixed budget.”

McCormick added that 3,300 households began the eviction process last month.

“It’s not just about continuing the status quo,” Kaine said. “It’s about creating more opportunities for housing.”

Comparing this pot of money, however, to the same pot last year, funding is basically flat, up just 0.3%. That comes as rents are up 10% to 20%, on average.

“Funding from the federal government is always good news,” McCormick said. “I think we need to put into perspective the current need right now.”

She would like to see more funds go toward rent assistance programs.

Kaine said a tax bill passed by the House of Representatives and now pending in the Senate would give developers incentives to build more low- and middle-income housing. “If we do this its going to be a very good thing,” Kaine said, “but I have to point out, you can’t pass the tax credit, and the housing is not going up tomorrow.”

Building new housing would take years, leaving many in need of housing today, unsure where they’ll sleep tomorrow.


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