Fearing wave of evictions, advocates press Richmond City Council to up investment in affordable housing

April 27, 2020. Richmond Times-Dispatch.

In the middle of a pandemic many fear will cost families their homes, advocates on Monday pressed the Richmond City Council to steer more dollars to affordable housing for residents.

In normal times, Richmond landlords evicted tenants at the second-highest rate of any like-sized city in the country, Princeton University researchers found. Advocates expect that trend to worsen with jobless claims mounting and the COVID-19 crisis increasing the economic strain on families that were already just getting by.

“COVID-19 has turned Richmond’s eviction and affordable housing crisis into a public health calamity,” said Marty Wegbreit, an attorney with the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society.

“Human lives and dignity are at stake,” said Aubrey Jones, a board member of Richmonders Involved to Strengthen Our Communities, or RISC.

Hundreds gather in Richmond demanding more affordable housing

May 2, 2019. NBC12

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – There was a massive response Thursday night to Richmond’s ranking of being one of the worst cities in the nation for kicking people out of their homes.

Hundreds of people gathered on the Northside pledging to hold city leaders accountable in their goal of reducing the city’s staggering eviction rates. After reports of Richmond being second in the nation for evictions surfaced, Mayor Levar Stoney vowed to take action.

Many are applauding that move, but they say it can’t stop there.

Know Your ABCs

April 12, 2019. Richmondmag.

Sitting inside an empty classroom near the front office, members of the faith-based coalition Richmonders Involved to Strengthen Our Communities (RISC) are listening to the Woodville Elementary School morning announcements with Richmond Public Schools Chief Academic Officer Tracy Epp.

“I am somebody. I am proud of myself, and I will act in a way to make others proud of me, too,” Principal Shannon Washington says over the intercom. Within minutes, the second-year principal darts in to greet about a dozen RISC Education Team members who are visiting on this December morning to observe a pilot program called Reading Mastery that debuted at six elementary and two middle schools this past fall. The group pushed for a “proven reading curriculum” for academically struggling schools such as Woodville, where only about a third of students were reading on grade level last year.

School system ratchets up trauma training

June 13, 2018. Chesterfield Observer.

Chesterfield school officials have committed publicly to expanding trauma-informed care training for staff as part of a “cultural shift” they think will reduce office referrals and out-of-school suspensions and keep children in the classroom.

Now they have to figure out how to pay for it.

Chesterfield schools to expand trauma-informed training to help reduce minority student suspensions

April 30, 2018. Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Before a collection of more than 20 congregations across the Richmond region, Chesterfield school administrators made commitments to expand teacher training to drive down minority student suspensions that have garnered Richmond-area schools scrutiny from the state and federal levels in recent years.

At the same time, Richmond schools Superintendent Jason Kamras responded with a “maybe” when it came to rolling out a pilot program to improve student reading levels.