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Chris Howard Argues for Build Back Better to Increase Housing Affordability

Christopher D.  HowardChris Howard, the Harriman Professor of Government & Public Policy, wrote an opinion piece for the Richmond Times-Dispatch on how the Build Back Better Act addresses the lack of affordable housing. Even before the pandemic, Virginia faced problems with affordable housing. On one front, 71% of poor renters in Virginia were severely cost-burdened, a situation in which “individuals spend half or more of their income on housing and utilities.” On another front, Virginia’s major cities faced high eviction rates, including Richmond, which had the second-highest eviction rate in the country. Howard argues that the Build Back Better Act can alleviate these issues seen in Virginia and across the country. The House passed the act in November 2021, and the House bill “includes $170 billion of new investments in affordable housing, spread out over a decade.” Additionally, lessening the burden of housing costs has positive effects in other public policy areas, including food security, jobs, and health. The bill is currently in the Senate.