Virginia, along with several other states, entered into a settlement with the banking industry over wrongful foreclosures of the homes of Virginia citizens. Of the $69,657,121 the Commonwealth will receive directly under this settlement, no budget proposal before the General Assembly uses one penny for housing support.
"The money from the National Mortgage Settlement Agreement should be spent as it was intended, to rebuild homeownership and help Virginians who have been devastated by the housing crisis," said Ali Farouk, Director of the Center for Housing Leadership at Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia. "
Had even $10 million of the settlement been used as a 1-time capitalization of a housing trust fund, that trust fund could have provided housing for hundreds of Virginia families for years while paying back the state's initial investment as loans from the fund are repaid with interest.
Meanwhile, the settlement funds have been used to fill gaps in the budget left by the legislature's insistence on following a cuts-only budget strategy. Had they focused instead on a balanced approach, one that included new revenue from common sense measures like reforming costly tax loopholes, this new funding could have been used for its intended purpose: helping Virginians in this difficult housing market.
Better Choices for Virginia continues to call upon our legislators to focus on the choices we should have made, to put people ahead of loopholes here in Virginia.
Virginia Organizing is part of Better Choices for Virginia, a broad alliance of business leaders, community organizations, retirees, parents, educators, health care providers, people of faith, and nonprofit organizations who want to make sure our state is a great place to live, raise a family, and run a business. We've come together for the common good. We want to make sure Virginia invests what it takes to create jobs and preserve a prosperous future: schools, health care, public safety and other building blocks of a strong economy.
"10 Ways in 10 Days" is an educational campaign to highlight the impact of the budget choices we've made in Virginia, and how we can better address the current challenges we face to ensure future prosperity.