Richmond Regional Housing Framework

Findings

The Region’s Rental Market

The Homeownership Market

Senior Housing Needs

Housing Quality

Housing Stability & Displacement

Housing Choice & Opportunity

In 2015, PHA worked with Virginia Tech’s Center for Housing Research to produce a study that assessed the Richmond region’s housing needs. As part of the Framework, Virginia Tech conducted a five year update to the 2015 report, providing a thorough outline of our region’s housing challenges and changing demographics. These findings cover both the rental and homeownership market while also examining housing needs by race, age, and income. As a result, the Framework provides a detailed analysis of where we have been, where we are, and where we are going.

Housing Choice & Opportunity

Our region remains highly segregated by race and income. These patterns are reinforced by policies, actions, and attitudes of the past and present. The unfortunate result is that communities of opportunity—those with attractive amenities, strong schools, and access to jobs—are often only accessible at the expense of higher housing costs. For those unable to move into these communities, quality of life suffers due to limited education and workforce opportunities. Barriers of many kinds, whether structurally or informally enforced, limit choice and opportunity for lower income households.

“Just because you’re low income, why can’t you live in a nicer area with better schools? But people say, ‘I don’t want those people in my neighborhood.’”

—Resident of Chesterfield

Where We Are

The overwhelming majority of our affordable homes are not in communities of opportunity.

Among all the homes used by Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) holders and LIHTC apartments, fewer than 10% are in attendance zones for elementary schools where no more than 75% of students qualify for free and reduced meals. And 85% of all these homes are in neighborhoods where the average life expectancy is below the regional average of 78 years. There is an acute need to increase the affordability of homes in these areas with high educational and health opportunities.

Even with housing assistance secured, some families have trouble finding a good home.

HCVs help thousands of renters across the region afford their homes. Unfortunately, they are only useful when these families successfully find and secure a home to rent. New research from Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia (HOME) indicates that this is easier said than done: based on a sample survey of apartment communities in the region, fewer than one in five accepted HCVs.

Low-income households can afford to live in only a small segment of the region.

An affordable monthly rent for a two-person household earning 50% of AMI is about $865. Of the 224 census tracts in the region, only 46 have median rents below that amount. And most of those are located in lower opportunity urban areas or isolated rural areas.

An affordable monthly rent for a two-person household earning 50% of AMI is about $865. Of the 224 census tracts in the region, only 46 have median rents below that amount. And most of those are located in lower opportunity urban areas or isolated rural areas.

Policy Implications

Opportunity is needed in both existing communities, as well as new housing. There are different types of solutions for both needs.

Housing opportunity must be addressed holistically. Access to an affordable home should also include meaningful connections to good transit, employment, schools, and other important components necessary for one to thrive.

Click here to read solutions for expanding housing choice and opportunity.

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