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New Poll Shows Virginians Strongly Favor Policies that Make Housing More Affordable

A majority of Virginians want to expand state funding for affordable housing and require utility companies to support efficiency upgrades that help families save on energy bills.

Today, CHACE revealed the results of a statewide public opinion survey on housing and energy efficiency issues conducted by the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

The poll’s findings demonstrate that, by a wide margin, Virginians want a full spectrum of housing opportunities for all their neighbors.

  • 82% of voters strongly believe that people who work in their community should be able to find a home there.
  • 56% of voters agree that housing affordability is vital to their community’s economic success.
  • 58% of voters also believe that ending homelessness is an important government priority.
  • 78% of those surveyed said they were supportive of the Virginia Housing Trust Fund
  • Respondents overwhelmingly supported the continued use of the Housing Trust Fund to address homelessness (80%) and supported the use of the fund for “aging in place” modifications that help Virginians remain in their homes as they get older (87%).
  • 89% of Virginians favor holding energy companies accountable by requiring them to meet energy saving goals for their customers.
  • Over half (61%) of those surveyed are also willing to pay a 50 cent surcharge on their utility bill to help fund weatherization and energy efficiency programs.

Christie Marra of the Virginia Poverty Law Center stated, “The results of this statewide poll demonstrate exactly what we suspected when we decided to launch the CHACE campaign: Virginians recognize how crucial safe, affordable, energy efficient housing is not only for themselves but for their neighbors as well.”

Sim Wimbush, executive director of the Virginia Housing Alliance, added, “[VHA] believes that having access to safe and stable homes is vital for all Virginians. It’s encouraging to see with these poll results that Virginians agree and support our belief, recognizing the value of being part of vibrant communities that contain a variety of housing opportunities that can meet a wide range of family budgets.”

This public opinion poll is the first statewide effort to ask Virginians their thoughts on housing, homelessness, and policy solutions. 509 registered voters were interviewed between September 3rd and September 10th, 2017. Questions revolved around the Campaign’s three policy priorities: increasing funding for the Virginia Housing Trust Fund, expanding energy efficiency programs, and ensuring support services are available for individuals exiting homelessness. The margin of error for the poll is +/- 4.3%.

Click here to read the entire press release, and click here to read the full poll results. For questions, contact Zack Miller, Director of Policy for the Virginia Housing Alliance, at zmiller@vahousingalliance.org or 804-678-8893.

Both Virginia Gubernatorial Candidates State Their Support of the Virginia Housing Trust Fund at VOICE Forum

VOICE recently hosted a forum where they asked the Gubernatorial candidates to support their issue priorities. One of VOICE’s priorities is to increase the annual allocation of the Virginia Housing Trust Fund. Below is the original VOICE ask followed by the candidate responses.

VOICE’s Ask: “Housing that is affordable for workers & families.  Support building affordable housing on publicly owned land (local, state, and federal) and increase the VA Housing Trust Fund annual allocation from $4M to $25M over the next 4 years.  For the health of our economy and working families, Northern VA needs more housing that is affordable. Our counties lag far behind their regional peers in addressing the need for and investing in affordable housing. Too many Virginians including our police officers, teachers, health care workers, child care workers, military & many others are paying more than 40% of their salary for housing and/or must live hours from where they work.”

Ed Gillespie’s response “I ​am ​proud ​of ​the ​volunteer ​service ​my ​wife, ​Cathy, ​has ​given ​on ​the ​Board ​of ​Good Shepherd ​Housing. ​I ​visited ​with ​the ​Southside ​Housing ​and ​Community ​Development Corporation ​in ​Richmond, ​an ​early ​visit ​in ​my ​campaign. ​Housing ​is ​critically ​important ​-in ​many ​ways, ​housing ​is ​the ​lynchpin ​of ​our ​economy. ​I ​support ​the ​Housing ​Trust ​Fund as ​it ​plays ​an ​important ​role ​in ​ensuring ​affordable ​housing ​throughout ​our Commonwealth.”

Ralph Northam’s response “As governor, I will support policies that ensure that all Virginians have access to safe and stable homes. The availability and affordability of housing is an important issue affecting the lives of Virginians across the state. Rents across Virginia have risen faster than incomes in recent years, meaning more families struggle to keep up with the cost of housing while covering other living expenses. Many can only find homes in their budget that are long distances from where they work, straining Virginia’s roads and highways. As governor, I’ll fight to protect and increase funds going to the Housing Trust Fund, which encourages private and public investment into housing for low income, elderly, and disabled Virginians. This helps Virginians live in the communities of their choice, while simultaneously relieving a corresponding need in increased public housing construction.”

 

Link to the VOICE forum statements and candidate responses