Slush Fund Housing; Pawns of Dysfunction; Chief Decision; Two Steps Forward!?; Mixed Bag Of Data.
RVA 5x5 - July 21, 2023
No algorithms. No content filters. Honest and insightful analysis from Richmond, VA.
This week check out our five stories on:
An attempt by City Hall to do away with the Affordable Housing Trust Fund in order to create a new “commission” that would lack transparency and oversight in spending tens of millions of dollars and selecting partners for affordable housing. Welcome to Chicago!
A look at an editorial discussing the dysfunction of the School Board and the real pawns in a long-running, bad chess game.
The elevation of Interim Police Chief Rick Edwards to permanent Chief status is one of the best decisions the Mayor has made, and his job is a tough one, but the right man has been chosen especially for these times.
The crime report for the first half of 2023 was a mixed bag of data — what the problems are, where things are getting better, and what the police and communities can do to help move all the numbers in the right direction.
The coming of a carriage house of “granny flat”, aka an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) to a street or neighbor near you and why it is a good idea; but also why it is an even better idea to wait until we get the short term rental question resolved before we move on ADU’s.
STORY #1 — Slush Funding Housing
There has been a lot of talk about the affordable housing crisis in the region in recent years but it has been constant in 2023. The entire region needs 39,000 units as fast as it can get them; but interest rates are high, the market is stalling — every week there is a new twist or turn in the drama. And this week is no exception.
Em Holter at the Times-Dispatch has a disturbing story about the meeting this week of the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) Board that drew an overflow crowd reacting to the reckless idea by the Mayor and Administration for dissolving the Board and create a commission instead that allegedly would allow for raising more money from other sources and involve other partners. The Mayor’s and Administration’s argument is that because there is more money to be allocated, there should be more oversight. But what they are proposing is not more sunlight, but less.
The AHTF Board is tasked with oversight of the money in the fund to help support and spur more affordable housing projects. Just last year, the Mayor and Council finally approved a commitment of putting $10 million per year in the fund for five years. Who doesn’t need more money and more partners to help tackle an issue as large and complex affordable housing? Sounds sensible, right? Except….
As the article points out, what this is really about is who controls the money and who gets to pick out the “partners.”
“But with more funding comes more oversight, which city administrators are hoping to achieve. Those in opposition argue that administrators are overstepping their bounds, which could lead to an imbalance of power, loss of control of funds and elimination of public input.