Housing Virginia E-News
April, 2011

FY 11 Budget Deal Hits Housing Programs 


The 11th hour negotiations on the extension of Federal spending for  FY11 were resolved two weeks ago and averted a shutdown of the Federal government.  The deal resulted in just over $38 billion in additional reductions to spending for the balance of the year (through September).   As the details of these cuts have emerged, it's clear that housing programs - especially HUD programs, have been substantially affected.  HUD programs are cut by $2.13 billion (a 6.7% overall reduction)  and USDA housing efforts by $185 million.

Under the agreement, most discretionary programs are reduced by 2 percent. In addition, many programs are cut by more that 2 percent. There are only several HUD programs that were spared. McKinney- Vento Homeless Assistance Grants were increased by $40 million above FY 2010 funding levels and both Voucher and Section 8 Project based assistance also saw increases.  The effort here was to prioritize critical homeless assistance as well as to make sure that households currently receiving rental assistance would not lose their housing.

Beyond those program areas, there were major reductions across a broad range of HUD programs.  Notable among these was a $647 million cut to CDBG (16%), a  $215 million cut to HOME  (12%), elimination of HUD Housing Counseling grants, and dramatic reductions to 202 Senior Housing (52%)  and 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities (50%).   The Public Housing Capital Fund was reduced by $456 million (18%).

Overall, these are the largest reductions to HUD programs in decades and will have a significant impact on program funding and production of affordable housing in Virginia for the balance of this year and into next year.


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General Assembly Housing Legislation Summary
Despite a difficult budget year, legislators grappled with some significant issues that can affect the environment for affordable housing.  The results for this year's session reflects progress and challenge. 

SAFE Act Revisions
Senate Bill 786 clarified provisions of the federal SAFE Act passed by Congress in 2008 to ensure that housing counselors who work for a HUD-approved agency and who offer default and foreclosure services to households are not covered by the SAFE Act.  The bill was passed by both the Senate and the House, and was signed by the Governor.

Livable Home Tax Credit Program Expansion
House Bill 1950 proposed to amend the law establishing the Livable Home Tax Credit Program, which provides a state tax credit to the owner of a residential dwelling who makes accessibility improvements.  The bill, raised the credit to $5,000 and is applicable to new construction as well as existing structures. The bill was passed by both the Senate and the House, and signed by the Governor.

Anti-NIMBY Initiative / Fair Housing
Senate Bill 830 would have made affordable housing (housing intended for occupancy by families or individuals with incomes at or below 80% of area median income) a protected class under state fair housing law. The effort was intended to help overcome NIMBY discrimination at the local level. The bill passed the Senate, but died in the House General Laws Committee which referred the bill back to the Housing Commission.


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SOURCEBOOK:  A Tale of Contradictions in Some Localities
Renters and low-income households in Virginia Beach are having a very tough time finding housing that they can afford.

Housing Virginia's online SOURCEBOOK reveals that in Virginia Beach housing affordability has improved over the last four years. In 2007, 30% of an average household's income was required to pay for a home versus 26% today. With incomes flat and housing prices declining, the numbers say that housing has become more affordable.

While this is good news overall, the bad news is the percentage of households spending more than 30% of their income for housing has steadily risen from 36.5% in 2005 to 44% in 2009. Today 78% of all households making less than $50,000 are spending more than 30% of their income for housing. It takes an income of $55,560 to afford to buy and $46,399 to afford to rent the typical home in Virginia Beach.

These are just a few of the interesting facts that can be gleaned from the recently updated SOURCEBOOK. It now includes the data to 4th quarter 2010. It is the most up-to-date source for housing affordability available anywhere online.

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New Studies Bring The Poor Into Sharper Focus  


While housing affordability has improved for middle and upper income households, families living in poverty are having a harder time than ever finding housing. Two new publications bring new information about the state of the poor in Virginia.

"Poverty in the Commonwealth" published by the Commonwealth Institute says that during the recent recession, as Virginia-and the nation as a whole-faced the worst economic crisis in a generation, the number of Virginians living below the federal poverty threshold significantly increased. In 2009, more than 750,000 Virginians lived in poverty. Even more disturbing, the state's children are now more likely to live in poverty than adults.  

As the effects of the recession linger, more Virginians will face the prospect of living below the poverty threshold. Other facts include:

More than one in 10 Virginians lived under the federal poverty level in 2009. This rate has been increasing since 2006.
About 157,000 Virginians have joined the ranks of the poor since the recession began.
In 2009, more people fell into deep poverty. About 5 percent of Virginia's population was living on less than half of what is defined by the federal poverty line in 2009.
Virginia's children are 47 percent more likely than adults to live in poverty.

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VHCIS Summer Symposium will Feature a Range of Topics      

The Virginia Housing Coalition Information Service has scheduled the Second Annual Summer Symposium on June 23rd  at the Omni Richmond Hotel, in conjunction with the VHC Awards Dinner that evening.

A variety of topics for the Symposium will be available for participants, including:

    Federal and State Funding Sources and Issues
    Making the Case for Affordable Housing
    Mixed Use and Mixed Income Developments
    Housing Trust Funds
    Grassroots Organizing

The Planning Committee is lining up an experienced group of speakers to help participants build their skills, knowledge, network and connections.  Sponsors will include  BB&T, Virginia Community Capital and VHDA.  For more information, contact vahc@catapult-inc.com.

In This Issue
General Assembly Housing Legislation Summary
SOURCEBOOK: A Tale of Contradictions in Some Localities
New Studies Bring The Poor Into Sharper Focus
VHCIS Summer Symposium will Feature a Range of Topics
Spotlight on Regional Activity 

500 Volunteers to Convene in Richmond to Make a Difference for Others 


Virginia Beach Housing Roundtable Hosts Annual Celebration Luncheon


Annual Roanoke Symposium will Explore Livable Communities


Central Virginia Housing Coalition will Engage Planning District 16 Leaders to Take Action


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

Or you can make a secure online donation here.

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

Richmond Affordable Housing Awareness Week - April 25-30, 2011


Virginia Beach Round Table Housing Affordability Week Luncheon - April 28, 2011


Loudoun County Regional Forum on April 29, 2011


Virginia Association of Housing Counselors, 2011 Annual Spring Conference and Certification, "Building Partnerships for Better Housing" - May 1-5, 2011  


Roanoke Regional Housing Network - Regional Symposium - May 4, 2011  


Virginia Housing Coalition Annual Awards Dinner and the VHC Information Service Second Annual Summer Symposium, Omni Richmond Hotel - June 23, 2011


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