Opinion: Affordable Housing Key Component of Economic Strategy

As the Richmond area grows, having a greater availability of affordable housing could be crucial to maintaining a strong local workforce.

1 minute read

January 9, 2024, 5:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Aerial view of Richmond, Virginia skyline with river in foreground against sunset sky.

Richmond, Virginia. | Kevin Ruck / Adobe Stock

In a commentary in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Jovan Burton and Woody Rogers make a connection between affordable housing and economic development, arguing that the greater Richmond region would attract more businesses and economic activity if affordable housing was more readily available.

According to the American Planning Association, every dollar invested in affordable housing creates $2.30 in economic activity. However, the lack of housing supply in Virginia is driving up prices to levels that limit companies in attracting and retaining talented professionals seeking a place to comfortably live.

The authors note that “investing in housing creates enduring benefits for communities and has demonstrated to boost local workforces. It has been estimated that one affordable housing unit produces an average of three jobs and $60,000 in local income.” As the Commonwealth passes bills aimed at promoting economic development, the authors assert that affordable housing should be at the forefront of these efforts.

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