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Affordable Housing

Framing the Issue

Housing stability affects nearly every aspect of a person’s life: the ability to retain a job or succeed in school, to stay healthy and safe, to build wealth for their family. Quality, affordable housing is a cornerstone of sustainable economic vitality and personal well-being. Yet, housing affordability is a critical challenge throughout Richmond.

Recent statistics show that about one-third of Richmond residents are overburdened with housing costs, spending more than 30% of their income on housing. Today, more than 86,000 families in Central Virginia live in substandard housing because they cannot afford adequate shelter despite their best efforts. 

A Comprehensive Approach

The Community Foundation is deeply committed to affordable housing as a cornerstone to economic stability and wealth building for low to moderate income families. We support with a diverse network of affordable housing partners to empower individuals all along the housing continuum, with services which include:


  • providing emergency shelter for individuals facing homelessness;
  • supporting residents as they transition from public housing;
  • establishing affordable rental units and preserving a diversity of incomes in Richmond’s neighborhoods;
  • offering wrap-around services to address personal barriers to stable housing; and
  • providing critical home repairs for elderly and low-income home owners.

Key Investments

Regional Housing Plan

Released in 2015, the Regional Housing Plan details the need for affordable housing in our region, identifies existing barriers to meeting that need, and outlines strategies to overcome these obstacles. As a key sponsor of the plan, the Community Foundation is committed to coordinating with community stakeholders to implement best practices and secure a vibrant, sustainable and diverse Richmond community.

Maggie Walker Community Land Trust

In celebration of the Community Foundation's 50th Anniversary, the Foundation granted $1 million to the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust (MWCLT). This organization utilizes the proven land trust model to create affordable single-family homes that remain affordable in perpetuity, often by utilizing vacant land or rehabilitating deteriorated properties.

With 26 homes currently in various stages of development, MWCLT has a goal to increase its portfolio to 113 homes in the next five years. This grant will accelerate the process by directly funding the acquisition and subsidy of 40 properties, many in Richmond’s East End. Over the next 50 years, these homes will serve as many as 400 families.

Better Housing Coalition

The Community Foundation is proud to partner with Better Housing Coalition (BHC) to bring new affordable housing units to downtown Richmond as part of the proposed Navy Hill project. Our $5 million lead gift to BHC - the largest single grant ever awarded by the Foundation - helps exceed the project’s original expectation that 10% of all new residences will be affordable.

The project’s core development will include 280 affordable rental units, while BHC will construct an additional 200 to 220 units within the surrounding downtown area. This investment will create opportunities for individuals and families to participate in and contribute to the incredible transformation underway in our City, with ripple effects for our entire region.

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