Housing Virginia

Housing Virginia Newsletter
Housing Policy Edition
Virginia Housing Coalition Sponsors Housing Day at the GA      
Over 80 affordable housing advocates and practitioners converged on the General Assembly earlier this month to make the case for affordable housing in Virginia to 40 Senators and 140 Delegates.  Of particular interest to the participants was protecting and expanding the funding that outgoing Governor Robert F. McDonnell put into the FY14-16 budget for the Virginia Housing Trust Fund and for
homelessness reduction.

The Housing Trust Fund was launched in 2013 with $8 million allocated to foreclosure counseling, foreclosure recovery, homelessness grants, and flexible loans for a range of projects including supportive housing and workforce housing.  


Senator Charles Colgan has introduced an amendment to increase funding for the HTF to $8 million in each year of the new biennium.  Sen. Colgan's amendment has co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle.  Information about other housing priorities for the Coalition for this session, including increases in the Livable Home Tax Credit and the Neighborhood Assistance Program, may be found here.
Warner Holds Housing Finance Reform Forum in Richmond          
On January 10, Senator Mark Warner came to Richmond to hold a forum on federal housing finance reform.  Senator Warner is co-sponsor of the leading legislation on the subject of GSE reform with Tennessee Senator Bob Corker.   Warner spoke to a packed room of bankers, lenders, and housing practitioners who were hoping to learn what to expect in the way of federal reforms and to have a say in how it is shaped.

Senator Warner led off the session by summarizing his goals for the legislation: ensure liquidity in the secondary market, preserve the 30 year fixed-rate mortgage, put private capital at risk before public capital, and "Do No Harm". Warner went on to describe in detail his plan to unwind Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and replace them with a smaller, federally backed entity that would ensure that all types of lenders and all regions of the country have viable access to credit. He also emphasized that the new model must also serve persons of modest incomes through both homeownership and multifamily programs. The legislation creates a mechanism that would provide an ongoing stream of funding for the National Housing Trust Fund, the Capital Magnet Fund, and a Market Access Fund - all of these are designed to target funds to distressed communities and lower income households.


The audience responded with a range of questions from concerns about new regulatory burdens on lenders, the impact on the cost of mortgage capital, and the ability of the proposed structure to meet affordable housing needs. Senator Warner did emphasize his support for continuation of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program in the face of federal tax reform.


Senator Warner followed up this event with an op-ed in the Sunday Richmond Times Dispatch titled "We're Overdue for Housing Finance Reform", which you can read in full here. 
McAuliffe Taps Maurice Jones as Secretary of Commerce and Trade

Maurice Jones, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is moving back to Virginia. Governor McAuliffe recently selected Jones to head the Commerce and Trade Secretariat, which oversees the Department of Housing and Community Development and VHDA. Housing advocates and providers around the state welcomed this news of an experienced housing policy and program expert entering this position.


For research about national and statewide housing policy, click here.
HUD and RD Budgets Set for FY 13-14
Following up on the budget compromise reached by the House and Senate in early December, both bodies have passed an omnibus appropriations bill that provides $63 billion in sequester relief over the next two years. The results are generally positive for HUD and RD housing program funding levels.

The most notable increase in funding is for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, from $17.96 billion in FY13 to $19.17 billion, including $17.36 billion for voucher renewals and $130 million for Tenant Protection Vouchers. In addition, the bill adds the Choice Neighborhood Initiative Program to the list of programs under which tenants are eligible for these vouchers.

Other programs with increased funding from FY13 include:

  • Project-Based Rental Assistance (+$1.07 billion)
  • Public Housing Capital Fund (+$98 million)
  • Public Housing Operating Fund (+$346 million)
  • Native American Housing Block Grants (+$34 million)
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (+$15 million)
  • HOME Investment Partnership Program (+$52 million)
  • Homeless Assistance Grants (+$172 million)
  • Housing Counseling Assistance (+$2 million)
  • Section 202 Housing for the Elderly (+$29 million)
  • Policy Development & Research (+$3 million)
  • Section 514 (+$2 million) & 516 Farm Labor Housing (+$1 million)
  • Section 521 Rental Assistance (+$273 million)

Programs facing a decrease in funding from FY13 include:

  • Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (-$24 million)
  • Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grants (-$2 million)
  • Community Development Fund (-$35 million)
  • Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (-$3 million)
  • Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities (-$30 million)
  • Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (-$1 million)
  • Healthy Homes & Lead Hazard Control (-$4 million)
See the comprehensive budget chart here, and see the NLIHC's full budget and program breakdown here.

STORYWORKS Highlights the Positive Side of Affordable Housing
Recently Orlando Artze, Community Housing Partners Chief Operating Officer and Housing Virginia Board member, shared his story of community change reflecting commitment and investment in affordable housing. "The Reservation", a community established by freed slaves near Yorktown, Virginia, had already endured relocation in the past with the construction of a naval installation. In 2006, they faced serious problems with negative public perception, increasing crime rates, and declining property values. CHP made a long-term investment in what came to be known as the Lackey Community-and the results were impressive. See the clip below.

StoryWorks 10 Orlando Artze

Housing StoryWorks explores stories that demonstrate how affordable housing positively affects individual lives and entire communities.Highlighting the voices of consumers, housing providers, neighbors, and political and business leaders can balance the effect of the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) attitude while helping to shape new conversations and perspectives.


Space is still available for you to tell your story. Go to www.housingvirginia.org and click on "StoryWorks" to sign up for future film dates in Reston (Feb. 6), Arlington (Feb. 6), Charlottesville (Feb. 11), and Richmond (Feb. 12).

This project is part of Housing Virginia's Whole Communities Project that will showcase the positive effects of affordable housing through research, data trends, and best practices.

Bloomberg Businessweek: Demolitions Dire for Poor Amid Affordable-Rent Gap  
Bloomberg recently published an article in Businessweek detailing the plight that many Americans face in high-density urban areas, such as Northern Virginia. The family featured in the article linked below currently spends 60 percent of their household income to rent a $1,500-a-month apartment in Alexandria. However, they fear that rent will continue to rise or that their own apartment will be demolished with the redevelopment of many of their neighborhood's affordable housing units. 

The article examines how foreclosures across the country have driven up competition for affordable housing, with an estimated 11.3 million Americans spending more than half of their income on rent in 2011, according to the Harvard Joint Center's Census analysis.


The Low Income Housing Tax Credit program has preserved 749,000 homes and constructed 1.2 million new units between 1986 and 2011, but it's hardly enough to keep up with the increasing demand for affordable housing.

Read the entire article here.

Freddie Mac Releases Report on Multifamily Affordability
In their recent report titled, "Multifamily Affordability: Market Conditions and Policy Perspectives", Freddie Mac investigated issues surrounding the increasing demand for affordable housing, especially for rental units. The study takes data from the Worst Case Needs Report from HUD and the "supply gap" developed by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, both of which indicate a growing affordability gap in the rental housing market.

The report details the complexity of the issue, citing problems such as higher-income households choosing to live in units categorized as affordable to lower-income households (5.3 million non-Very Low Income renters in affordable units in 2011) and rising rent costs disproportionate to renter income (53% of total renters spent more than 30% of household income on rent in 2011).


This study concludes by urging policymakers and industry constituents to continuously monitor affordability and adjust policies to reflect changes in the economy and multifamily sector. While our current policies focus on lowering the rent burden for low income households, affordability is a multilayered issue that needs to be addressed from several different angles. You can read the full report  here.


You can check SOURCEBOOK for similar statistics about Virginia and its counties/cities. For more research about affordability, click  here.
DATELINE Explores Asthma's Connection to Housing  
A recent DATELINE episode presented several critical health triggers that exist in housing of lower income households. The piece makes the case that living conditions are crucial to a family's health by pointing to the prevalence of external pollutants in low-income communities. Specifically roof and plumbing leaks, dampness, roaches, and mold in poor quality rental units can be directly connected to health problems in residents.

Some landlords, including public housing authorities in several large cities, allow continuing deterioration that leads to severe health consequences. The piece reports that children living in poverty are 15 times more likely to be hospitalized with asthma than children from wealthier families.


See the complete DATELINE clip here. For more research about housing's effect on children, click here.
Housing2020: Shift in Household Makeup Affects the Market


John Martin, President and CEO of the Southeastern Institute of Research, has contributed an insightful analysis to Housing2020's Demographics section. Among his easy-to-understand video segments about Baby Boomers and Millenials, he explains how the diversification of household makeup influences housing needs and how the market must adjust accordingly. Watch the video clip below.


JM7- Shift in HH makeup

Housing2020 looks at the future of housing in Virginia through four lenses - Demographics, Economics, Finance and Green Housing. In each of these areas we worked with an expert to identify and communicate what these changes are and what we need to understand about these trends. The clips have been edited into a variety of different formats and presentations. You can view our video presentations or request a live presentation at the  Housing Virginia website. We will be updating the Economic and Finance sections soon.


For more research about demographics and housing, click here.

Research Spotlight: Exploring Economic Mobility in the United States Over Time and Geography

Earlier this month, Harvard's Equality of Opportunity project released papers on two studies that look at upward economic mobility in America over the last 20 years. The papers find that economic mobility from lower to upper incomes varies considerably in different regions of the country. However, despite popular belief, overall rates of mobility have remained stable over the last 20 years, with the U.S. lagging behind most developed countries. In addition to papers on temporal and geographical mobility trends, the project includes charts, slides and an interactive map using the mobility data.  


Go to www.housingvirginia.org to read the full papers and explore the website by searching the key words "economic mobility" or clicking on demographics in the tag cloud under the Research tab.

Richmond Exhibit: "Livable Communities for Virginia"

The Virginia Center for Architecture and the Virginia Society AIA is hosting an exhibit titled "Livable Communities for Virginia" from Thursday, January 16
th to Sunday, March 23
rd, 2014. Inspired by the American Institute of Architects' "10 Principles for Livable Communities", the exhibit will showcase 24 Virginia communities that embody thoughtful and functional design for their residents. In addition to Richmond, the exhibit spans across Fredricksburg, Charlottesville, Newport News, Harrisonburg, Roanoke, and Alexandria.

The Virginia Center for Architecture is located at 2501 Monument Avenue in Richmond and is open Tuesdays-Fridays from 10am - 5pm and on weekends from 1-5pm. There is no cost to tour the exhibit, and parking is free.


The "Livable Communities for Virginia" exhibition is a portion of a larger Virginia Society AIA project, titled "Virginia Celebrates Architecture". This year-long event recognizes the centennial anniversary of the Virginia Society AIA and aims to educate the public about community design.


To learn more, visit the  Virginia Center for Architecture and the Virginia Society AIA.

In This Issue

HV StoryWorks Interviews
Feb 6th in Reston & Alexandria      

Share your story of how affordable housing has changed a life, a family or a community by taping a 3-5 minute video segment.

Click here to register

NH&RA 2014 Annual Meeting    

Feb 19th-22nd        

NH&RA is pleased to announce that registration is open for the 2014 NH&RA Annual Meeting! The Annual Meeting is a four-day affordable housing and tax credit development event held each winter in a seasonal resort location.

 Click here to register

Revitalizing Neighborhoods Through Housing and Economic Development
Feb 27-28, 9am-5pm

Local government and local downtown development association staff engaged in neighborhood revitalization planning and development activities are encouraged to attend. The two-day training will provide critical insight into neighborhood-based economic development, housing and transportation. Scholarships are available.   

A Registration Fee of $50 per person is required to complete this training.  

Please complete the registration form and mail with registration fee to VHDA by February 14, 2014.  


For more information or to request a Scholarship application,please contact Debbie Griner at
804-343-5579 or email: debbie.griner@vhda.com.

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Campaign for a Virginia Housing Trust Fund | bob@hdadvisors.net | 1309 West Main Street
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