Virginia House and Senate Approve 2013-14 Budget-- Create Housing Trust Fund
The Virginia House and Senate voted last week to approve the $85 billion biennial budget for the state after weeks of stalemate. The final vote in the Senate came on a 21-19 vote with Senator Charles Colgan (D-Prince William) joining 20 Republican Senators to deliver the 21 notes needed for passage. Senator Colgan had voted against the budget the previous day but after a "change of heart", provided the winning margin. The House also adopted the budget. The budget now goes to the Governor who is expected to request some adjustments before signing.
The budget creates a "Virginia Housing Trust Fund" and provides $7 million in initial capitalization in the second year of the biennium. The Housing Trust Fund will provide a flexible source of loans and grants to support a broad range of affordable housing efforts from homeownership to homelessness. The Fund will have up to 20% in the form of grants with special targeting to reduce homelessness. The balance of the Fund will be in the form of flexible, low interest loans and will be available for a broad range of housing initiatives. The creation of the Housing Trust Fund could not come at a better time as Federal housing programs are being deeply cut.
The Trust Fund will be administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and the Virginia Housing Development Authority. DHCD will take the lead in program design and fund allocations while VHDA will oversee loan underwriting and administration.
HV to Develop On Line Housing Program Directory
Imagine that you are a housing advocate who wants your community to adopt an affordable dwelling unit ordinance (ADU) that encourages mixed- income housing. Where would you go to find out how other ADUs in the state are structured and how they are working? What if you are a local planner trying to design a gap financing program to encourage housing for persons with disabilities? Would you be able to find relevant models or would you need to reinvent the wheel?
With support from Capital One and the National Association of Realtors, Housing Virginia will soon begin work on a solution to this problem by creating an on-line, one-stop resource that will allow for easy access to information about housing programs that are in place anywhere in the state.
The program directory will allow users to easily search for information about existing housing program initiatives in any locality in the state. The search tool will operate in a variety of ways, including a map based interface as well as traditional searches by program name and type. The initiative will catalog efforts that include the full range of housing programs from inclusionary zoning policies to financing strategies. Read More...
Northern Shenandoah Leaders Focus on Housing and Transportation
Housing Virginia teamed up with the Northern Shenandoah Regional Commission (NSRC) and the WINFRED Metropolitan Planning Organization in Front Royal on April 12th to present a symposium on linking housing and transportation, Jobs, Transportation and Workforce Housing: Connecting Home and Work. The symposium was attended by 30 of the region's public and private officials interested in furthering more efficient land development policies that will contribute better coordination of housing and transportation planning.
Trip Pollard with the Southern Environmental Law Center provided an overview of conditions in the Northern Shenandoah region and provided some policy options for the region to consider. John Thomas, Regional Transportation Planner with the NSRC, provided an overview of planning options being considered and future planning actions that could be undertaken locally.
A panel of local practitioners representing REALTORS, Valley Health, Winchester-Frederick County EDC and the City of Winchester responded to the earlier presentations from their unique perspectives and fielded questions from the attendees. The question and answer session addressed a variety of issues including combating local neighborhood opposition (NIMBYism), how to cover the increased cost of transportation friendly development, and housing choices of the young professional.
Housing Virginia expects to begin work on the data collection effort in Northern and Central Virginia where four local boards of REALTORS are partnering with funding support, including the Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS, Greater Piedmont Area Association of REALTORS, REALTOR Association of Prince William and Richmond Association of REALTORS.
An initial version of the directory should be available in time for the Governor's Housing Conference in November.