Housing Virginia E-News
June,  2012
New Data Reveals Commuting as "The Hidden Cost" of Housing

Traffic congestion adds time and cost
A new research tool recently added to Housing Virginia's SOURCEBOOK provides information on the combined costs of housing and commuting for each locality in Virginia. This information shows that a modest income family can spend over half of its income on commuting and housing costs. The national standard for combined housing and commuting costs is 34% of household income.

For example, in the Roanoke Valley, residents in Craig County spend an average of 97 minutes a day commuting - which costs $4,668, per year as compared to residents in Roanoke who spend only 36 minutes commuting and $1,776 per year. While the costs of housing are comparable in each locality, the commuting costs are 2.6 times greater in Craig County.
This means that residents in Craig County pay about 8.6% of their income for commuting -  more than twice the national standard of 4%. In comparison Salem households spend only 3.9% of their income on commuting.


Thomas Jefferson Community Land Trust Breaks Ground on 1st Land Trust Home In Virginia

On May 22 staff from Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville joined with representatives from the Thomas Jefferson Community Land Trust (TJCLT) to break ground on land owned by TJCLT, where Habitat will be constructing two homes. One family has already been identified by Habitat for the first home. Both organizations hope to continue this partnership to create homeownership affordability in the Charlottesville area through the community land trust mechanism.


The cost of housing can be divided into two elements - the cost of the land and the cost of the house built upon it. In markets like Charlottesville, land cost is a significant share of the total. TJCLT brings a new tool for creating greater affordable home ownership opportunity to the Charlottesville area, by removing the cost of land from the price of the home.


TJCLT owns the land and enters into a long term (90 year) land lease with homeowner for a nominal fee. This can have the impact of reducing the cost of housing by as much as a third, depending on the home and land values.


National Survey Reveals Varied Uses of Mortgage Settlement Funds


In April, the Virginia General Assembly approved a budget that created a Virginia Housing Trust Fund and funded it with $7 million from the state's $66 million share of the Mortgage Settlement Agreement. Governor McDonnell signed the budget and the Trust Fund will be launched on July 1, 2013.  The balance of the state's share ($59 million) went to plug other holes in the budget.  In the ensuing month, much publicity has been directed to the issue of how the states have been using the mortgage settlement funds and what share of the funding is actually going to uses that address the consequences of the mortgage and foreclosure crisis.  At this point it appears that  Virginia's experience is not that different from many states.  Pro Publica has conducted a nationwide survey of state Mortgage Settlement policies and have found that much of the funding is not being directed to housing.

Reprinted Article Below:
by Paul Kiel and Cora Currier

ProPublica May 22, 2012
Thus far, states have diverted $974 million from this year's landmark mortgage settlement to pay down budget deficits or fund programs unrelated to the foreclosure crisis, according to a ProPublica analysis. That's nearly forty percent of the $2.5 billion in penalties paid to the states under the agreement with many states still undecided.




Alexandria is the Site for Nation's 1st "MED Cottage" 


When her father became ill just before Christmas last year, Dr. Socorrito Baez-Page faced an increasingly common conundrum: her aging parents wanted to stay in their town house, but her mother couldn't handle the caregiving alone.

So Dr. Baez-Page, a general practitioner in Alexandria, Va., moved her parents into her home, converting the dining room and TV nook on the main floor into a bedroom. But the four steps down to the bathroom in the split-level home have proved hazardous.

Nobody is happy. "My mother is embarrassed to have to use the commode by her bed at night," said Dr. Baez-Page. And space for everybody is tight.

The solution? Though many families are often forced to consider nursing homes under these circumstances, the Page family found another option. They ordered a MEDCottage - a prefabricated 12-by-24-foot bedroom-bathroom-kitchenette unit that can be set up as a free-standing structure in their backyard. With a design assist from the Virginia Tech College of Engineering, it's more than a miniature house. It's decked out with high-tech monitoring and safety features that rival those of many nursing homes. This month, the Pages will become the first family in the country to take delivery of a high-tech MEDCottage. The cottage is laid out as an open-plan apartment with a kitchen area (equipped with a microwave, small refrigerator and washer-dryer combo), a bed area and a bathroom large enough in which to maneuver a wheelchair. The utilities and plumbing connect to the primary residence.



Housing Virginia Kicks Off its 2012 Forum Series


Housing Virginia kicked off its local 2012 Forum Series based on its newest white paper, The Impact of Housing on the Local Economy.  This white paper explores the beneficial impact that housing makes on helping to fuel economic health locally and regionally.  The topic is explored from five perspectives: the operation of the economic multiplier, the fiscal impact of housing of local budgets, the changing face of homeownership, the unique contributions of mixed use development, and the growing role of health care systems in community development.

The first Forum was held at the Chesapeake Conference Center and sponsored by the Virginia Beach Housing Roundtable on April 25. The event attracted about 50 attendees and was opened by Suzy Kelley, a member of the Chesapeake City Council.  The Forum featured three opening speakers - each of whom focused on one component of the report.  Steve Lawson, President of the Lawson Companies and a Housing Virginia Board member, began the session with a presentation that highlighted the job creation associated with housing construction.  He followed with a discussion of the cliché that "housing doesn't pay for itself" at the local government budget level and explained some of the bad policy that has emerged from this fallacy.



"PLAYBOOK: Find What Works" to Join SOURCEBOOK As New Housing Virginia Resource  


With support from Capital One and the National Association of Realtors, Housing Virginia will soon offer a one-stop resource called PLAYBOOK... Find What Works. This web-based system allows for easy access to information about housing programs that are in place anywhere in the state.  In a new collaboration with Virginia Tech, Housing Virginia has announced the rollout of this new companion product to the very popular SOURCEBOOK data base that is tells the story of owner and renter needs across the Commonwealth.


PLAYBOOK 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.



In This Issue
Thomas Jefferson Community Land Trust Breaks Ground on 1st Land Trust Home In Virginia
National Survey Reveals Varied Uses of Mortgage Settlement Funds
Alexandria is the Site for Nation's 1st "MED Cottage"
Housing Virginia Kicks Off its 2012 Forum Series
"PLAYBOOK: Find What Works" to Join SOURCEBOOK As New Housing Virginia Resource
The Richmond Partnership for Housing Affordability Hosts 5th Annual Affordable Housing Awareness Week

SOURCEBOOK Alerts:  4th Quarter 2011 Data now available

Roanoke Regional Housing First Summit Draws Forty Stakeholders

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June 7 Homeward's Regional Conference on Best Practices to Prevent and End Homelessness at the Capital One Town Center  


June 9th - Better Housing Coalition is hosting a Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Workshop.  Contact David Herring for more information.  


June 12th - SBA HUBZone Boot Camp hosted by the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development


June 15th - 2012 Virginia Conference on Volunteerism and Community Services

June 21st - Virginia Housing Coalition Awards Dinner at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.  Starting at 5:30pm. 


2012 National Conference on Ending Homelessness at the Renaissance Washington DC Hotel July 16, 2012 1:00 PM - July 18, 2012 5:00 PM     

NAMI Virginia & VCEH Housing Stability and Mental Illness Summit.  July 22-23rd Crowne Plaza Hotel Richmond, Virginia.  






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