AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Jenn’s Perspective

Quality, affordable housing is fundamental to the success of every family. Where you live determines the jobs you can reach, the schools your children can attend, the food you can consume, and even the quality of air you breathe. As a legislator, Jenn has seen too many Virginians struggle to find – or keep – affordable housing. Jenn understands that rental and purchasing costs are rising faster than incomes, evictions and foreclosures are devastating families and communities. Houselessness is on the rise for the first time in a decade, and housing insecurity is a pressing issue for many across the Commonwealth. The Coronavirus crisis has exacerbated the housing crisis. Jenn is committed to providing and maintaining affordable and stable housing for all Virginians, free from discrimination, because everyone deserves a safe place to call home.

Jenn’s Record 

Jenn has fought throughout her time in the legislature to provide and protect affordable housing:

  • In the wake of the Great Recession’s foreclosure crisis, then-Delegate McClellan passed the Trust in Lending Act to add additional protections for homeowners dealing with mortgage brokers
  • This year, Jenn carried the Preserving the American Dream Act creating protections from foreclosure to help Virginians stay in their homes and expand access to quality manufactured housing – one of the most accessible affordable housing options in the Commonwealth
  • Last year, Jenn passed the Tenants Bill of Rights empowering tenants to take action when their landlord allows property to fall into disrepair or become unsafe and lays out clear responsibilities of tenants to report such conditions
  • She also passed bills to: 
  • Jenn has also supported many bills over the years to protect Virginians from evictions, including:
    • Cosponsoring legislation that prevented landlords from using “self-help” evictions
    • Cosponsoring legislation that required landlords to offer payment plans
    • Cosponsoring legislation that created an Eviction Diversion Pilot Program
  • Jenn has a long history of standing up to housing discrimination, sponsoring or supporting every bill to strengthen the Virginia Fair Housing Law, including bills to add to the list of protected characteristics – sexual orientation, gender identity, source of funds, and military status – and prohibit localities from discriminating against affordable housing proposals

Jenn’s Vision

As Governor, Jenn will: 

  • Create a Virginia Statewide Housing Voucher system
  • Increase funding to the Housing Trust Fund to provide for ongoing eviction relief and invest in affordable housing programs with a goal of functionally ending houselessness
  • Expand the current eviction diversion pilot programs – specialized court dockets designed to assist low-income families during an eviction case
  • Create an equity Home Ownership Fund that targets historically disadvantaged families and individuals to qualify for housing grants for first-time home ownership increasing both stable housing, and building intergenerational wealth
  • Continue adjusting state laws to incentivize mixed-used and affordable housing construction
  • Combat eviction and barriers to housing through legislation that provides for eviction prevention, diversion and expanding tenant rights and protections
  • Ensure the statewide rent relief program is on-going and will invest $108 million annually into this fund
  • Increase legal aid funding