Housing Virginia E-News
June 2010

HV Board Member  Laura Lafayette, Richmond Association of Realtors

 Dear  Friends  in Housing,

In April of this year, to the cheers of many who work daily to advance the cause of housing affordability, Governor Bob McDonnell announced his intention to create a statewide housing policy framework.  In Executive Order #10, Governor McDonnell noted:  "housing helps define communities and is a major component in determining the quality of life for individuals, families, and the Commonwealth's general prosperity."  I couldn't agree more.
To help him and his administration craft this statewide housing policy, Governor McDonnell has appointed a small work group of twenty-two individuals from across Virginia who have a broad variety of experience in housing policy and production.  Along with fellow Housing Virginia Board members, Susan Dewey, Connie Chamberlain and Orlando Artze, I'm honored to serve on this workgroup. 
As we deliberate, I will try to keep a number of different--yet complimentary--perspectives in mind:  one, the perspective of REALTORS whose livelihood depends on a healthy housing market; two, the perspective of the tenants of the Better Housing Coalition who need quality rental housing to meet their needs; three, the perspective of the first-time home owners who have invested hundreds of hours of their own sweat equity and now, thanks to Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity, can call a house their own home.  And finally, the statewide, broader perspective of Housing Virginia, an organization that seeks to communicate a vitally important message:  the creation and maintenance of a variety of affordable housing options throughout the state is essential for sustainable economic prosperity and an excellent quality of life. 



Governor's State Housing Policy Development Gets Underway  
The first meeting of the Governor's  Housing Policy Work Group took place on June 17th.  The "small" work group consists of 22 individuals representing a broad range of housing interests.  The effort is being led by Bob Sledd, a Richmond area businessman who is serving as a Special Economic Advisor to  Governor McDonnell.  Bob Sledd has worked for a variety of affordable housing efforts in Richmond, including service as the Chair of Homeward - Richmond's Continuum of Care administrator.   A larger work group of approximately 60 persons will be convened by late July.

The initial efforts of the work group will be to review policy options within five issue areas:
 Residential Land Use and Development
 Housing Affordability
 Mortgage Financing
 Housing and Environmental Standards
 Coordination of Housing and Community Services

An online survey of opinions on housing policy priorities has been distributed. Click here to add your input.

The Housing Policy development may stretch into 2011 but the intention is to develop high priority recommendations by early fall of 2010.  These will include recommendations in the areas of homelessness and foreclosure as well as several others.  The "Summary of  Key Housing Issues" that is the initial organizing document may be found here.

Virginia Beach Workforce Housing Roundtable Visits Charlottesville Housing Projects

 Charlottesville Tour from Hampton Roads 

Members of the Virginia Beach Workforce Housing Roundtable took a bus tour on May 13th of recent housing projects in the City of Charlottesville and met with key City housing officials. Charlottesville has recently tackled housing issues that are on the public agenda of the City of Virginia Beach.

The Roundtable group was welcomed by the Mayor, Dave Norris who provided background on the City's affordable housing policy to increase the assisted affordable housing stock in the City to 15% of the total housing units. After this introduction and briefing the Mayor provided the group had a tour and briefing on the newly renovated church in the downtown, "The Haven", as a day shelter for the homeless. 


Bike & Build organizes cross-country bicycle trips which benefit affordable housing groups.

Beginning May 21, Alyson Fletcher, 24,  began biking 4,000 miles from Virginia Beach to Cannon Beach, Ore. to raise money and awareness for affordable housing. Fletcher is riding with 30 other  recent college graduates as part of the Bike and Build program. Bike and Build is a nonprofit organization that organizes cross-country bicycle trips to benefit affordable housing groups.
Along the 10-week journey, with riders averaging 70 to 80 miles a day, participants  helped to build housing projects with affordable housing organizations. Riders helped with several tasks, including raising roofs and walls, dry walling and painting.
"I found out about Bike and Build through fellow students at William and Mary," said Fletcher, . "It was a marriage of two things I love, biking and helping others, so I knew it was something I wanted to do."  Cyclists on Fletcher's  team are responsible for raising $4,000, which goes directly to affordable housing organizations.


In This Issue
Governor's State Housing Policy Development Gets Underway
Virginia Beach Workforce Housing Roundtable Visits Charlottesville Housing Projects
Bike and Build Organizes Cross-Country Bicycle Trips Which Benefit Affordable Housing Groups
Give to Housing Virginia

Your generous gift helps Housing Virginia to make the case for increasing the supply of affordable housing options across the Commonwealth.

Your tax-deductible donation may be sent to:


Housing Virginia

P. O. Box 4658

Richmond, VA   23220


Housing Virginia also participates in the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign.  Please use CVC code # 3690.


More Stories from Housing Virginia

Virginia LISC Releases "Housing Snapshot"
Virginia LISC has released "A Picture of Housing In Virginia" which presents a range of statistics about changing demographics and housing affordability throughout the State.  The study notes that despite drops in housing prices over the past several years, many Virginians still find decent housing to be unobtainable.  
Over the past decade, housing prices (including recent declines)have far outstripped increases in income.  In Central
Virginia, for example, a median household  earns $55,000.  They cannot afford the median home price of $223,000 - in fact, they qualify at more than $40,000 below the median home price.
The study comes at an opportune moment, just as the Governor's Housing Policy Work Group is beginning its deliberations.  This report helps to make the case that Virginia must act boldly through its new Housing Policy in order to ensure that all Virginia families and individuals have access to good housing.  The full report is available here .


VHC Regional Housing and Homelessness Policy Workshops:  Issues and Input
Roanoke, July 1st
Richmond, July 7th
Christiansburg, July 28th
Webinars, July 7th and July 16th 

More information: vahc@catapult-inc.com. or (804) 497-3060.

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