In partnership with the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP) and local faith communities, the Waynesboro and Wythe County Chapters held vigils and community forums this week to call for better funding for housing in Virginia and new protections for tenants.
Three out of ten households in Virginia pay too much for housing, and the cost for both rent and home ownership have gone up exponentially in recent years. Speakers asked state legislators to allocate critical funding to affordable housing projects like Virginia’s Housing Trust Fund, Housing Stability Fund, and Eviction Reduction Program.
The Waynesboro vigil on January 22 received a lot of media coverage. Watch a video of the vigil here.
The Wythe County Chapter of Virginia Organizing and Hope Inc. held their vigil and community forum on the housing crisis on January 24. 30 people met in a local park where chapter member Sheri Runnells welcomed everyone and then Pastor Scott Thayer led the group in prayer. They then walked through downtown Wytheville while reading the values and responses. When they arrived at the Open Door Cafe, Andy Kegley of Hope Inc. talked about affordable housing, homelessness, and the need for a warming shelter in Wytheville. Community members discussed their experiences, and Virginia Organizing member Matt Fiebig explained our three funding priorities in the General Assembly.
Participants at both vigils were given handouts with all the information about the funding demands and asked to contact their legislators before they left.