RISC 90 Second Story –
A RISC 90 Second Story is the “elevator speech” about RISC’s work on a specific research issue. Our first two stories were about education. First was the Reading to Grade level efforts with Richmond Public Schools; the second with Chesterfield Public Schools to support Child Trauma training. This week the 90 Second Story is about what RISC is doing on the Eviction crisis in Richmond.
Richmond – Housing and Eviction Crisis
Introduction: Through RISC, we address serious problems in our community and overcome our region’s historic divisions by joining with 21 diverse faith communities.
The Problem: The city of Richmond has the second highest eviction rate in the nation! 17 households are evicted every day. Over 40,000 of our residents are affected by eviction annually. The major cause of eviction is the inability to pay a month’s rent when some unexpected problem occurs (e.g., related to jobs, health). We know that stable housing is the bedrock for getting jobs and for students to receive a decent education.
The Solution: There are two elements to addressing the problem. The long term solution is to increase the stock of affordable housing units. The short term is to provide resources and support for our citizens facing eviction now! The Mayor’s 2019/20 budget addresses both the long term and short term issues by increasing the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to $2.9M and, for the first time, creating an Eviction Diversion Program funded at $485K.
The Obstacle: The mayor is funding these programs as part of an increase in property tax – which is not currently getting the support it needs to pass. Our strategy is to support the increase in the trust fund and the creation of the Eviction Diversion Program independent of the source of revenue (the Richmond budget is about $500,000).
The Hero: The EDP will support those in jeopardy of being evicted. The citizens that go through the ordeal of eviction are our heroes as we find ways to better support a stable housing environment in Richmond.
The Resolution: Our Eviction Research Team will be vigilant meeting with all the City Council members and the mayor. Together, with the power of over 1,000 people, we will once again gather this year to ask for an effective solution to Richmond’s eviction crisis by funding the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and the Eviction Diversion Program that are in the Mayor’s budget.