The $69 Million Question Has A Housing Answer

Published 4:15 pm Thursday, February 23, 2012

Virginia is set to receive a direct one-time payment of $69 million through the Mortgage Settlement Agreement and if too many legislators get their way some or all of it will be diverted into budgetary items other than housing.

Put every penny of this money into housing in the Commonwealth of Virginia, lock that door and throw away the key. Ensure that nobody diverts a nickel for anything other than housing.

That would be terribly wrong.

Email newsletter signup

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has told Senate Finance Committee members that there are not strings tied to the $69 million. Legally, it can be spent on anything. But the Attorney General told them that the funds “probably should be used for housing.”

Turn that “probably” into definitely.

The $69 million is coming to Virginia with housing written, from the moral standpoint, all over it-the funds are from the Mortgage Settlement Agreement. It's all about housing.

Too many Virginians are facing a housing crisis.

This money can, and should, be used to help them.

Establish a trust fund for affordable housing. Virginia is one of the few states without one. Habitat Virginia and the Virginia Housing Coalition have been advocating such a fund for years. “I strongly support the creation and funding of a Virginia Housing Trust and urge our elected officials to support it,” Jayne Johnson, Farmville Area Habitat For Humanity executive director and vice president of the Habitat Virginia board of directors, told The Herald this week.

Yes, lock this money up safely for housing so that doors to affordable homes can be unlocked in Virginia and opened wide.

(Email Senator Tom Garrett at, Delegate James Edmunds at, Delegate Matt Fariss at, and Delegate Tommy Wright at to send your own message)