February 6, 2013

Linking Housing Policy and Implementation

In 1972, VHDA was created by the
Commonwealth of Virginia as a
not-for-profit housing finance
agency. Shown: The first building at
5th & Franklin Streets.
Some might say that a Virginia housing policy got its start in 1970 with the creation of the Virginia Housing Study Commission to address Virginia’s severe shortage of quality, affordable housing.  The Commission’s first recommendations to the General Assembly in 1972 led to the creation of  VHDA, a statewide Building Code, and other landmark housing legislation.  VHDA provided the Commonwealth with a means of harnessing substantial private capital to address Virginia’s pressing housing needs. Substantial new affordable housing was needed to replace poor quality rental housing and help revitalize declining neighborhoods, and first-time homebuyers needed a leg up in affording rising interest rates.

Over time, housing needs have changed.  Poor quality housing has been reduced, but community revitalization remains an ongoing issue, and affordability has become an increasing challenge.  As Virginia has grown, its affordable housing needs have become more regionally diverse.  

That brings us to April 2010, when Governor Bob McDonnell issued Executive Order Number 10 to establish the first administrative “Housing Policy Framework” for the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Governor’s directive outlined four principles that provide the foundation to craft recommendations and actions to implement a State Housing Policy. These four principles promote:

1. The integration of housing, employment and transportation efforts.
2. The development of sustainable and vibrant communities through measures that promote mixed-use development, increase energy efficiency, and support the rehabilitation of substandard housing.
3. A range of housing options to meet the housing needs of a dynamic and changing population, including accessible housing opportunities.
4. An increase in capacity to address the needs of homeless Virginians.

In our most recent REACH Report, we tied these principles to VHDA programs and activities through success stories in the report. Linking policy, planning and program development is essential to effectively address the diverse housing needs in communities throughout the Commonwealth.

This blog puts us one step closer to that goal!  Our hope is that it will serve to generate thoughtful conversations and encourage the sharing of valuable resources that can help Virginia forge the critical link that successfully turns new and innovative housing policy into implementation.

To learn more about the Virginia Housing Policy initiative, visit www.virginiahousingpolicy.com.

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