CLIHC calls on council to fulfill affordable housing commitments

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Charlottesville Low-Income Housing Coalition has sent a letter to the Charlottesville City Council.

The letter raises concerns for the upcoming fiscal year 2020 budget.

In the letter, the CLIHC says the city's commitment to affordable housing must not be pitted against the funding needs of any other vital city services.

It also says one form of affordable housing should not be pitted against another, but the CLIHC says affordable housing for all city residents must be the city's number one priority.

The letter says affordable housing must stand equal to education, infrastructure, and public safety.

It says it is the responsibility of the city council to fulfill affordable housing commitments by including at least $9.05 million in the upcoming budget for the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund, the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority, the city's rent subsidy voucher program, funding the Friendship Court redevelopment, and funding rehabilitation that will allow lower-income homeowners to avoid displacement due to home repair demands.

“If our city is honest about its commitment to affordable housing, we cannot leave any potential funding options off the table,” stated the letter. “As city councilors, it is your duty to send a clear message that city government is serious about tackling Charlottesville's housing crisis.”

CLIHC says the city has the resources the affordable housing needs, and it urges the council to examine any potential avenues for increasing city revenue to fund it without negatively impacting education or infrastructure.

The letter says an increase of one percent to the meals tax would generate $2.3 million annually.

It also says increases in real estate taxes along with a tax abatement program for low-income resident should also be considered.

CLIHC says the council should restore the city's real estate tax rate to pre-recession levels ($1.11) or the state's medial tax rate ($1.07).

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