November 27, 2013

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.

Pop-Up Planning: New Methods for Transforming the Public Process

(RECAP: Looking to push the envelope beyond the traditional community workshop with its unimaginative PowerPoint presentations at the lectern, and weary audiences dissatisfied with the process? Want to liven up the planning process? Well pop a ‘Pop-Up’ into it and see what happens.)

What is Placemaking?

(RECAP: Rooted in community-based participation, ‘placemaking’ is both an overarching idea and a hands-on tool for improving a neighborhood, city or region. It has the potential to be one of the most transformative ideas of this century.)

Maufacturing Solutions

(RECAP: There’s a growing number of success stories where residents are gaining ownership of their communities and their futures, thanks to organizations that recently recognized the untapped potential of manufactured homes in addressing the affordable housing crisis, and the role residents can play in that transformation.)

Strength Matters: Improving Organizational Operating Performance

(RECAP: To be cost effective and have impact, nonprofit owners and developers must be entrepreneurial, productive and cost-effective. To achieve these results, community development real estate institutions (CDRIs) need tools to identify operational strengths and challenges, respond appropriately to each, and to assess and mitigate risk.)

Built to replace Ellen Wilson housing project, townhouses are a mixed-income model

(RECAP: Washington D.C.’s first social experiment with mixed-income housing—a federally funded project that replaced abandoned public housing—has become a model for other developments, even if it made only a modest contribution toward solving the District’s affordable housing problem.)

20K project builds smart homes for under 20k

(RECAP: Sometimes the definition of "affordable housing” is enough to raise eyebrows, but in Alabama, a state with some extremely impoverished regions, a group of architecture students decided to take it seriously with the 20k Program. The program aims to build houses for under $20,000, reflecting the maximum amount of money someone living on Social Security could realistically spend on a home.)

November 20, 2013

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.

Slideshow: How Governments Are Using Instagram

(RECAP: Governments increasingly are using Instagram’s photo-sharing service to connect with citizens, whether to push out important information, share the whereabouts of political leaders or just to post a pleasant picture.)

Commuting Places as Community Spaces

(RECAP: The idea of a station as destination and gateway is not new, as visits to older railway terminals reveal, but along the way we seem to have forgotten how special these spaces can be and what important community centerpieces they can become.)

How the U.S. Became a Unique "Nation of Homezoners”

(RECAP: Exceptionalism is a word often associated with the U.S., most often with foreign policy. Sonia Hirt of Virginia Tech argues that, since its inception, American zoning has also taken a unique form compared to European counterparts—detached single family zoning.)

Four Infographics About Resilient Urban Systems

(RECAP: With cities witnessing an increasing frequency of extreme weather events, it’s more crucial than ever that the systems that keep our cities functioning are resilient to the complex, uncertain and constantly changing risks that face them.)

ReThink Survey: Perceptions of Public Housing 2013

(RECAP: ReThink Why Housing Matters is a new initiative challenging the sometimes negative perceptions Americans have about public housing by sharing stories of public housing’s successful impact on individuals, families and your own community.)

November 18, 2013

2013 Governor’s Housing Conference Begins This Week

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The 2013 Governor’s Housing Conference will be held Nov. 20-22 at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott.
This year’s conference is focused on building strong economies through housing and community development. Attendees will be exploring how to prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities, tackle today’s challenges and build strong neighborhoods and communities for the next decade.

The conference will kick off on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 4 p.m. for the opening plenary, Housing as an Economic Driver, followed by the opening reception at 5:30 p.m. The three-day conference also offers numerous educational concurrent sessions and a variety of thought-provoking plenary sessions led by experts in housing.

Back by popular demand this year, the conference will feature a multitude of “snaps,” 30-minute sessions that link experts to practitioners on specific community development and housing topics.
This year, conference sessions will include:

  • Entrepreneurs: Powering Community Innovation and Individual Assets
  • Echoboomers, Babyboomers, and Immigration: The Changing Faces of Communities
  • 25 Years and Counting: Rethinking the Low Income Housing Tax Credit
  • The Mortgage Web: Navigating the Changing Mortgage Finance Industry
  • Veterans and Their Communities: Strategies for Re-entry and Thriving Lives
  • Social Media for Nonprofits: Knowing What to Say and How to Say It
  • What Every Funder Wants to Know About Your Nonprofit

Please visit for more information and updates or call 804- 371-7000 with questions.

© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Privacy Policy.

November 13, 2013

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.

Lighting a Spark Between Energy Advocates and Community Development

(RECAP: Partnerships between utility companies and affordable rental housing owners are ripe for development. In fact, in the next 10 years, utility companies are set to budget a conservative estimate of $12 billion for programs that could help finance affordable housing energy-efficiency retrofits, including everything from small-scale updates to more comprehensive treatments.)

Shipping Containers and the Pop-Up City

(RECAP: Despite the initial appearance, shipping container construction is not just a novelty construction method for pop-up city projects. Provided there’s demand for temporary spaces, shipping containers – materials that have proven themselves to be sustainable and affordable – may be able to provide the solution.)

Understanding the quirks of incremental urbanism

(RECAP: Incremental Urbanism is a critically important part of addressing our economic and environmental challenges, so we must help make it happen in the right places, work diligently to make it excellent and learn to accept its occasional quirkiness.)

Coming Soon: NeighborWorks One-Week Certifications 

(RECAP: Beginning December 9, 2013, NeighborWorks America will offer one-week certifications in community engagement, construction and rehab, management and leadership, and homeownership and community lending. The goal is to help provide community development and affordable housing professionals with efficient paths to empowerment and accomplishment.)

‘Habilitation’ Among New Health Care Benefits

(RECAP: People need habilitation when they have a congenital defect or disease that impairs the development of basic life skills. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, habilitation services will now be an “essential benefit” in private insurance plans. The states, together with insurers and advocacy groups, will have a big say in what, and how much, is covered.)

November 12, 2013

Keeping Up With Compliance in Rental Housing

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VHDA’s mission is to help Virginians attain quality, affordable housing, but affordable housing doesn’t mean that safety and security can be left lacking. To that end, our Rental Housing Division has a team of internally-trained Asset Managers and Compliance Officers who focus on identifying and correcting issues found at properties in which VHDA has an active interest. This process is based in a Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program requirement for reporting to the IRS. But for VHDA, it also means watching out for the Commonwealth and its communities.

November 6, 2013

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.

Analysis: Who's Moving to Your State?

(RECAP: States welcomed more than 8.9 million new residents in 2012. Census data paints a portrait of each state’s new crop of residents, showing significant variation across different demographic groups.)

City Sustainability Must Begin With Reinvestment in Neighborhoods

(RECAP: Neighborhoods are where development decisions are made and where increments of change actually take place, as well as where residents and workers experience the city environment on an everyday basis. Quite literally, sustainability starts in the neighborhood.)

Watch Arlington’s “Bikeswell”

(RECAP: Arlington produced a half-hour documentary about its bike planning efforts, and how it became one of the east coast’s best cycling towns.)

Home Sharing Meets Growing Need for Senior Housing Alternative

(RECAP: While meeting companionship and home maintenance needs but without offering medical care, home sharing is rising in some areas as an affordable alternative to traditional assisted living and independent living communities designed for the aging population.)

Sustainable Design and Green Building Toolkit for Local Governments

(RECAP: Developed by the EPA, this toolkit is designed to assist local governments in identifying and removing barriers to sustainable design and green building within their permitting process.)