Governor Northam’s Budget Prioritizes Housing, Health and Families

Friday, December 20th, 2019

“Any budget is a moral statement of priorities, whether it’s a budget created by an individual, a family, a school, a city, or a nation. It tells us, mathematically, what areas, issues, things, or people are most important to the creators of that budget, and which are least important.” -Jim Wallis

Virginia Poverty Law Center applauds Governor Northam’s Budget for addressing some of the systemic barriers that keep Virginians in poverty. Here are some of the items in the proposed budget that will bring more economic justice to Virginia:

Housing
The Governor is proposing investing millions toward housing issues in Virginia, including:
–  $63 million for the Virginia Housing Trust Fund, which provides financing for housing construction projects that create or preserve affordable housing units, reduces affordable housing costs, and increases homeownership.
– $6.6 million for eviction prevention, allowing local and regional partners to apply for help to implement eviction prevention and diversion programs.
– $22 million for permanent supportive housing to make sure people with special needs have access to safe, affordable housing.

Healthy Communities
The budget proposes several improvements to the state of health insurance and public benefits in Virginia, including:
– Eliminating rules that unfairly deny Medicaid and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) to some Virginians.
– Addressing maternal mortality issues by extending Medicaid and FAMIS coverage.
– Giving Virginia more control over the Affordable Care Act marketplace and opportunities to lower private health insurance premiums.
– Ensuring low-income families can afford to feed their families by helping pay for school lunches and food during the summer when school meals are not available.

Family & Child Welfare
The budget includes $58 million to help keep families together and children out of foster care. Learn more about the importance of keeping families together here.

Education
The Governor is proposing a wide-ranging plan to make community colleges more affordable so Virginians can get the training they need for jobs with better wages.

We call on the General Assembly to support these initiatives and use their discretionary funding authority to strengthen them. All Virginians benefit when we move toward economic justice for all.

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