Many Virginia families face high housing costs throughout the Commonwealth. The resulting housing instability can lead to continued movement, displacement, and eviction. The lack of a permanent, reliable, and stable home has a profound impact on students’ academic achievements. The 5000 Families pilot program invests in the future of Virginia students and families by providing rent relief. For the purposes of this program, rent relief will be provided to families on a monthly basis to keep their rent affordable for the long term. This program will empower families and their children by ensuring they have a stable home and thus a strong foundation for success at school and beyond.
The cost of housing across the Commonwealth continues to rise which is putting a strain on family budgets, particularly for low-income Virginians. In fact, one in three Virginian households are cost burdened, meaning that they pay more than 30% of their income on housing costs. For rental households with extremely low incomes (ELI), the burden is even more severe. The most recent data estimates that 83 percent of ELI households are cost-burdened (183,096 households).
Housing is the foundation for success from a very young age. School-aged children are more likely to excel at school and be positioned for lifelong success when they have a stable and permanent home. Learning loss, exacerbated by the pandemic, has been a reality for many Virginia children for years. Students from families with low incomes are more likely to have worse educational outcomes than their wealthier peers.
Virginia can make a bold investment in the future of the Commonwealth and school-aged children by developing a statewide rent relief program. The 5000 Families pilot program would target families with school-aged children who meet specific qualification standards. For the purposes of this program, rent relief will be provided to families on a monthly basis to keep their rent affordable for the long term. Rent relief will enable those families to stay in their current home or find a more stable, permanent home of their choice. Facilitating enhanced housing stability will benefit Virginia families and the Commonwealth in countless ways.