RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Mayor Levar Stoney is proposing Richmond use 53 parcels of city-owned property to help improve affordable housing in the community.

“We should not be sitting on those properties when they could be put to use for people who need them most,” Stoney said.

Stoney said he is recommending 66 parcels will be conveyed in three ways:

  • Pathway 1: That 32 parcels of land be conveyed to the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust for affordable home ownership.
  • Pathway 2: For 21 parcels of land to be conveyed to non-profits to be developed multi-family rental units.
  • Pathway 3: The remaining 13 high value parcels of land would be sold to contractors through competitive Request for Proposals (RFPs).

“We propose the majority of the proposals, 80 percent, be converted to the Maggie Walker Land Trust and non-profit affordable housing developers to increase the affordable housing stock in the City of Richmond for the people who need it the most,” he said.

The mayor said since the year 2000, black homeownership has declined by 30 percent, while white home ownership has risen by 150 percent. He said limiting homeownership opportunities limits wealth building opportunities, so by conveying land to the to the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust, he hopes to reverse the downward trend.

The reason Stoney said he wants to give 21 parcels of land to be developed by non-profits, because in order to make housing affordable you need to make development of the housing affordable.

“Forcing non-profits developers to pay market rate for good rate increases costs of them and makes it much more challenging to serve lower income residents,” he said.

Potential locations for future affordable housing in Richmond.

So, Stoney is proposing the city use its land to help offset the cost to help create more affordable housing.

Finally, Stoney said they are selling the highly valued properties will give the city immediate cash infusion of capital improvement plan funds. These properties are in locations such as downtown, and the greater Scott’s Addition area.

Stoney said in coming weeks his administration will move forward with legislation to make this plan happen. The mayor said they will move forward as quickly as possible with city council, but did not give a specific timeline.

In addition, the City Council must approve any conveyance of city-owned land before it happens.

At his last press conference, Stoney announced plans to address the city’s housing needs by establishing the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF). The goal of his plan is to address “the full spectrum of housing needs and realize the creation of 10,000 new affordable housing units over the next 10 years.”

The mayor said he plans to pay for his vision by introducing an ordinance to establish a dedicated source of funding for the affordable housing trust fund.

“This establishes a floor for these vital programs, not a ceiling,” Stoney added.

Watch the full press conference here: