Please join me in supporting Virginia Organizing. Your year-end donation will help us work to stop the evictions and create affordable housing in the City of Fredericksburg and the surrounding counties. It will help leaders all over Virginia speak truth to power.
In October 2017, when I joined Virginia Organizing, the Fredericksburg Chapter’s affordable housing campaign had already begun. This is just a small part of the story I was invited to tell at their Affordable Housing Forum:
In 2013 my adult daughter moved back home to Fredericksburg and began apartment hunting. When she had no luck, she asked me to help her search. We both had a knack for finding nice places within budget, but not this time.
She found nothing except lots of “luxury complexes,” many under construction. Rents (not including utilities) started at over 50 percent of her gross monthly income.
Our daughter needed to register our granddaughter for kindergarten. She called to ask her Dad and me if they could move back with us. Not until much later did she even let on that that was the low point. She blamed herself, even though she had done everything she possibly could to provide for her family.
See, I’d grown up believing that if you worked hard, went to school, and kept to a budget, then you would live well. My husband and I raised our daughter to have those same values and precepts. Now I see that’s not necessarily the case anymore.
As a volunteer with Virginia Organizing I help build community grassroots awareness, reaching out to area leaders and government officials. It isn’t easy getting decision makers to see the urgency, but we are making progress. Government officials are no longer in denial.
In 2018, 40-60 tenants a month were evicted, locked out of their homes for inability to pay rent. So we’ve kept the pressure on. In January the Fredericksburg Chapter is holding a Rally for Affordable Housing. We want local governing boards to create a regional affordable housing trust fund. Recently this effort has gained the support of the local media as an effective first step.
I continue to work for and support Virginia Organizing because working with others empowers me. We meet with elected area officials together: the City Mayor, County Boards of Supervisors, and planning commission members; business leaders, heads of nonprofits.
Together. Maybe this is how a new world for all of us will begin. Please join me in supporting Virginia Organizing.