"Where Richmond Lives" Sheds Light on Challenges 

Thank you for the excellent story on Richmond's aging suburbs ("Rethinking Suburbia," Cover Story, Feb. 7). As the first installment in the "Where Richmond Lives" series, you are off to a great start.

I strongly agree with [Better Housing Coalition Executive Director] T.K. Somanath — like transportation, suburban poverty is an issue that is solvable with regional cooperation. Local governments can provide a great service by changing zoning ordinances to create new affordable housing opportunities for not just low-income households but also middle incomes. To afford the median-priced home in metro Richmond of $225,000, a family needs an annual income of over $77,000. Not surprisingly, 68 percent of Richmond households cannot afford a home at this price.

Affordable Dwelling Unit Ordinances are a proven strategy used across the country, including Fairfax and Loudoun counties. By providing density bonuses to developers, thousands of affordable housing units have been built in communities where the cost of housing far exceeds what an average family can pay. This goes a long way in providing housing choices that are closer to good jobs and schools.

David J. Sharrar
Housing Research Analyst
Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME)


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