Delegate Ibraheem S. Samirah Introduces First-of-Their-Kind Bills to Address Virginia’s Affordable Housing Shortage

Press Release / December 19, 2019

Contact: Rob Cline, robert@samirah4virginia.com

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Delegate Ibraheem S. Samirah (D-86) has introduced six new bills in the House of Delegates that aim to tackle the shortage of affordable housing options facing Virginians. Two of these bills would be first-of-their-kind by legalizing the use of affordable housing types on previously exclusionary lots across the Commonwealth. Descriptions of each bill can be found below.

“There is a growing shortage of affordable housing units across the country and the Commonwealth. My community in Northern Virginia is facing perhaps the worst of that squeeze. Because local zoning doesn’t allow for new units to be built, rents continue to rise as housing becomes more scarce and competition goes down.” explained Delegate Samirah. “If we want to build more housing, we can’t continue with a system where the wealthy and well-off are granted exclusionary neighborhoods that hinder positive growth.”

“The truth is that the type of housing that low-income people and people of color rely on—dense middle housing types—is banned in most neighborhoods, especially in neighborhoods that provide the best local services and the highest quality of life. That chalks up to a modern-day form of redlining and segregation,” said Delegate Samirah. “By legalizing the development or redevelopment of middle housing, we are not only allowing the market to start to alleviate the shortage of housing units, but we are also making it easier for marginalized people to find the housing that works for them in the quality neighborhood they deserve.”

Bill descriptions:

  • HB152 would legalize the development or redevelopment of two-unit “middle housing” types, including duplexes, townhouses, and cottages, on lots currently zoned for single-family use. 
  • HB151 would allow for the development or use of one Accessory Dwelling Unit per single-family lot, and grants localities the power to use a local approval and regulatory process.
  • HB150 would allow localities to use a civil penalty to address vacant and derelict housing.
  • HB147 ensures a thorough accounting of affordable housing supply, quality, and needs in the Commonwealth.
  • HB149 mandates an annual report to examine ways to reduce  administrative barriers to obtaining state and federal housing funds.
  • HB148 provides new home buyers with educational resources on homeownership at the point of sale.

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