While the housing market and construction market have remained strong in the Richmond region during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn, “You don’t see many affordable housing units being built,” she said. “The demand for affordable housing exceeds the supply. There are many low-income families and seniors who struggle to pay the rent.”
Rental costs range from about $500 per month to $1,300 per month at the various Better Housing Coalition multifamily units in the area.
BHC mostly develops and provides rental units, but the organization also plans to use the money from the Altria donation to support homeownership opportunities for at least 50 households.
It also plans to offer more support services for residents. For instance, BHC is planning to provide telehealth services to at least 200 low-income senior residents.
Altria, the parent company of top U.S. tobacco company Philip Morris USA, is offering the contribution as part of a $5 million commitment the company made last year to support causes that advance social and economic equity.
“We spent time over the course of the last year working with our employee resource groups and members of the community to ask: What are the areas of the community that would benefit the most?” said Altria spokesman Steve Callahan.