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).
Adding to this financial stress is the fact that the federal Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program is significantly underfunded. The nation’s largest source of rental assistance, the federal HCV program, is funded through an annual appropriation by Congress. But the limited amount of funding appropriated leaves many Virginia families on long waiting lists. Only one-in-five eligible Virginians receive rental assistance from the HCV program. Approximately 347,000 Virginians who qualify are unable to access critical support due to a lack of federal funding. This issue was noted as a key challenge by the HB854 study.
Simply put, a great many Virginia families are struggling under the burden of high housing costs and don’t have access to the critical support they need.