September 25, 2014

Governor’s Housing Conference to be Held Oct. 29 - 31 in Norfolk

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Governor McAuliffe to Speak at Housing Awards Luncheon

VHDA is looking forward to the 2014 Governor’s Housing Conference, which takes place on October 29 - 31 in Norfolk. The Governor's Housing Conference is Virginia's largest and most comprehensive annual affordable housing event, and this year it’s happening almost a month earlier than previous conferences. In addition, it was recently announced that Governor Terry McAuliffe will be attending the conference and is scheduled to speak at the Virginia Housing Awards Luncheon on Oct. 30.

September 24, 2014

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.

Frontier Communications, DISH Team Up to Support Revitalization of Small Cities With America's Best Communities Contest

(RECAP: The $10 million contest will help address the need for growth by identifying and investing in innovative ideas that small cities and towns can use to build and sustain their local economies. Winning ideas then become available as a roadmap for growth for rural communities across the U.S. Communities must apply by Jan. 12, 2015, to qualify.)

How to fix wealth inequality

(RECAP: A recent report from the Census Bureau found the median wealth of the poorest 20% of American households was negative $6,029 in 2011, compared with negative $905 a decade ago. If we want to reverse this trend and narrow the wealth gap, we need a better path to homeownership for low-income families.)

Could rooftop apartments transform suburban retail?

(RECAP: Suburban retail areas are redeveloping into mixed-use neighborhoods all over the DC region. Usually redevelopment means mid-rises replace single-story retail, but could another model work? What if retail strips added rooftop apartments?)

Even grandmothers get the (NIMBY) blues

(RECAP: When even senior housing meets with vociferous objection, is there any hope for the housing community? There sure is. Research by NHC and the experience of housing practitioners provide us with techniques communities can use to help counter opposition in the future.)

How Land Trusts Can Counter New Urbanism's Gentrifying Tendencies

(RECAP: Aaron Bartley, co-founder of People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) in Buffalo, N.Y., argues that community land trusts and land banks are great ways to create permanently affordable housing and “emphasize the stewardship of land and property in ways that preserve space and generate wealth for low-income people.”)

September 23, 2014

VHDA Opens Housing Choice Voucher Waiting Lists

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Starting September 24, VHDA is opening the voucher waiting list for various agencies across Virginia. APPLICATIONS ARE ONLY ACCEPTED ONLINE! Applicants should not show up at the local agency office because paper applications will not be available. If you don’t have a computer or Internet access at home, we recommend you contact a family member, friend, church or your local public library to ask if you can use their computer or if they can help you get connected to the Internet. Many businesses offer free Wi-Fi (Internet) service. You can even call a friend with a computer and have them apply for you while you give them your information.

For more information on how to apply, go to:

For a list of the waiting lists that will be opening, go to:

To review a list of Frequently Asked Questions, go to:

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

September 17, 2014

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.

It's Tough Out There for Renters, But Most Americans Still Want More Options to Buy a Home

(RECAP: Even after a Great Recession triggered by mortgage hanky-panky, and despite a herky-jerky housing market ever since, Americans are holding fast to the vision of investing in a home.)

Slowing Down Streets With Art Under Your Feet

(RECAP: Changing how pedestrians and cars interact doesn't always need new lights and street design. These communities have done it a more simple way.)

Where Are the Baby Boomers Going to Live Out Their Golden Years?

(RECAP: Increasingly, the housing stock built by and for Baby Boomers doesn't meet anyone's needs — neither a younger generation looking for starter homes that don't exist, nor an older generation confronted by accessibility challenges.)

Why Trails Are America’s New Town Squares

(RECAP: Many suburbs now boast trails that don’t simply loop around a pond, but carry people to schools, libraries, farmers markets, restaurants or shopping districts. Trails are becoming the new town square where people bump into their neighbors, sparking conversations and friendships.)’s-new-town-squares

Tips for Getting Your “Innovative” Project Funded

(RECAP: Funding innovative or non-conventional projects provides an opportunity to explore new methods and means of solving critical housing issues. Even those projects that fail to fully achieve proposed outcomes provide opportunities to enhance housing policy.) 

A Beehive For Humans, Designed So We Can Live On Mars

(RECAP: Here's one vision for the two-bedroom apartment of the future: A modular, hexagonal building with two baths, basic appliances and walls that happen to be able to withstand -80 degree temperatures, constant space radiation and frequent dust storms.)

September 16, 2014

Virginia Housing Directory - What is it? Where do I find it?

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Since 1992, VHDA has produced the Virginia Housing Directory as a resource to find organizations engaged in housing activities (i.e. non-profit organizations, federal and state agencies, and county and city resources).  This directory is a cooperative effort of VHDA and the agencies and organizations listed therein. The information captured provides the description, address, phone number, email address and area of services provided. The information is provided by each individual organization, which is solely responsible for their content.

If your organization is already listed, does it need updating? Would you like to be listed? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then please contact us at

We hope you will use this valuable tool and join us in our goal to help Virginians obtain safe, decent and affordable housing that would otherwise be unaffordable for them.

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

September 11, 2014

Coming Up: The 12th Leckey Forum, “Aging in Our Neighborhoods: Options for Low and Moderate Income Seniors”

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Today’s guest post is provided to us by Mary Rouleau, Executive Director for The Alliance For Housing Solutions.

“Aging in place” is the desire and the mantra, but how does it happen in a high-cost, land-starved area like Arlington, Virginia? The 12th annual Leckey Forum, “Aging in Our Neighborhoods: Options for Low and Moderate Income Seniors,” will explore the ability to provide a desirable housing mix for seniors today, for boomers and beyond.

This event, co-sponsored by The Alliance for Housing Solutions and the Arlington Commission on Aging, will be held Friday, September 19, from 2 - 4:30 p.m. at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Building in Ballston, Arlington. VHDA is also a sponsor and Mike Scheurer, VHDA’s Community Housing Officer for Northern Virginia, will serve as a moderator. The Forum will review demographics and “readiness” research, describe current and “newish” programs designed to assist lower- and moderate-income seniors, take a fresh look at building and residence design and identify potential roadblocks. A wine reception will follow.

The Forum may well raise more questions than it answers. But Arlington — indeed, all communities — must explore the “aging in place” challenge now to best craft the vision and tools necessary to meet it.

The Forum is free, but an RSVP is requested. To RSVP and get more information about parking restrictions, visit or email
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Privacy Policy.

September 10, 2014

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.

Building Healthy Places at the 2014 Fall Meeting

(RECAP: Urban Land Institute’s Fall Meeting, to be held October 21-23 in New York City, will feature strong content related to health and real estate. Session topics include Repurposing and Repositioning: New Life for Obsolete Properties and Housing and Health: From Research to Real Deals.)

Living Large on a Small Footprint

(RECAP: Engineers at MIT may soon offer cities another lever to increase both workforce housing and urban density. The CityHome is a transformable wall system that integrates furniture, storage, office space and entertainment hardware. It’s also modular and scalable: smart architecture that can be inserted into a “dumb” chassis, relieving risk-averse developers from up-front overhead costs.)

Believing in Homeownership: How It Affects the Desire to Buy

(RECAP: Policymakers should consider changing policies and political rhetoric that emphasize owning and its benefits. They should acknowledge that renting has advantages, promote balanced messages that do not favor one tenure form over the other, and design new policies to support a range of options suitable to meet the diverse housing needs of all households who aspire to the American Dream.)

Can Cities Ease Homelessness With Storage Units?

(RECAP: Transitional storage isn't a solution for homelessness, per se. But it can alleviate the suffering and distress that the homeless feel and, in some cases, help people to avoid long-term homelessness altogether.)

A learning series from the Financial Capability Demonstration Project

(RECAP: Learn how to effectively integrate and support financial capability services in your non-profit organization. NeighborWorks America's new series of financial capability project briefs examine financial coaching as an effective approach to building financial capability.)

September 9, 2014

Four Factors I Considered When Buying A Home, Part 7

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An article titled “The Cheapest Generation” stirred up a conversation about what led some of our young professionals to choose their current or future homes. We’re pleased to present this series, Four Factors I Considered When Choosing a Home, to shed light on what homebuyers may be looking for. Feel free to share your own factors or thoughts in the blog comments section!

Name: Jessica Griffin
Hometown: Bremerton, Washington
Current: Roanoke, Virginia
Education: Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Job Title: Asset Manager

Four Factors I Considered When Choosing a Home

My husband and I were lucky enough to begin our home buying adventure as recent college grads from Virginia Tech. He is from Missouri and I am from Washington State, and we fell in love with the charm and outdoor activities of Roanoke. Luckily, the housing bubble worked in our favor and there was a large inventory of homes to view.

September 4, 2014

Rental Scams Hit Close To Home - Part 2

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We shared the story of a rental scam taking place in the Richmond area in Part 1 of Rental Scams Hit Close to Home. While our original story is out of Richmond, these types of scams are happening everywhere. For renters, the best defense is a healthy sense of skepticism and following the practices that websites recommend when considering rental properties. Take the time to protect yourself against fraud and theft before starting your search. Here are a few ways renters can check on potential rental properties:

  • Beware of paying application fees or security deposits before you actually view the property. Today’s world is fast-paced and lots of transactions happen online, but protecting yourself takes first priority.
  • Beware of individuals who ask for cash only and won’t accept guaranteed funds such as a cashier check or money order. You should never provide credit card or bank account information or wire funds to people you don’t know. 
  • Research the price of comparable rentals in the neighborhood to see if the price is “too good to be true.” Everyone wants a good deal, but is it really a good deal or is it a scam?
  • Run an online search of the property address, the landlord’s name, and any other contact information, such as an email address and phone number. Watch for properties that come up for sale and not for rent; non-existent addresses; or properties that appear more than once and with different contact information. Be especially cautious when no or limited contact information is provided.
  • Copy and paste a section of the ad into a search engine. If the section pops up in another unrelated ad, assume that it’s a scam.

What can renters who have been scammed do? Unfortunately, most victims don’t get their money back, but by reporting the scam, they can help save others from the same fate.

  • Immediately contact the website, newspaper or other source where the ad was posted to report the scam.
  • Report the incident to local law enforcement. Remember that the home seller may be unaware of the scam, too. Be careful not to lay blame if you can’t prove anything. Ask law enforcement to contact the home seller about the scam.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the State Attorney General’s office

We wish we could share a happy ending for those who lost money. But the truth is, the criminals who run these scams are difficult to catch. However, you can protect yourself and others against scams by following the tips presented here, and on rental and real estate websites. That’s the best defense of all.

September 3, 2014

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.

2014 Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference

(RECAP: In addition to keynote speaker David Steven, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, the conference features educational concurrent sessions and a variety of thought-provoking plenary sessions in housing, finance and community development. Slated for October 29 – 31 in Norfolk.)

Coalition Urges Congress to Expand Access to RAD

(RECAP: As affordable housing programs face budget cuts year after year, public housing authorities (PHAs) are increasingly asked to do more with less. Out of these difficult circumstances came the idea of the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), which allows PHAs to place targeted public housing properties on more stable financial footing for the long term.)

Fee-Simple Small Lots Yield Urbane Density

(RECAP: The choice of fee-simple lots rather than what could have been apartments or condos changes a broad spectrum of development considerations. The market for fee-simple ownership is broader, and the home values are higher than those for communal ownership.)

London Joins The List Of Cities Trying To Build Swimming Pools In Their Rivers

(RECAP: When it comes to inventive urbanism, big cities tend to copy one another. Bike sharing, riverside beaches and High Line-type initiatives--were all good ideas that started in one location before being widely imitated. The latest trend: swimming pools carved out of rivers. New York’s project, called +Pool, is set for a 2016 launch. Now London wants in.)

Overall, Americans in the Suburbs Are Still the Happiest

(RECAP: The State of the City Poll, which surveyed a representative sample of over 1,600 U.S. adults on a wide-ranging set of topics related to quality of life and local government policies, found that all things considered, Americans who live in suburban areas are the most satisfied with the places where they live.)

HUD Improves Project-Based Voucher Program But More Remains to Be Done

(RECAP: HUD has recently made some important changes to the rules for its Project-Based Voucher PBV program, which helps families live in affordable rental housing. While the changes were an improvement, unfortunately, HUD’s final rule did not incorporate many suggestions made by CBPP and other groups that would further strengthen the program.)

September 2, 2014

Rental Scams Hit Close To Home - Part 1

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Scams targeting renters and homeowners have always been a cause for concern. In the Homeownership Education classes offered by VHDA and by our certified training partners, we share information about types of fraud that might be encountered, but sometimes we hear about new tricks that crooks use to target innocent people. Here’s one that recently came to our attention:

A home seller in the Richmond area posted a FOR SALE ad for a move-in-ready house on a popular real estate website. After the ad had run for several days, the seller was contacted by someone who had driven by the property and called the number on the sign in the yard. The caller said how excited she was to be renting the house. The seller explained the house was for sale, not rent. When another person hoping to rent the house contacted the seller, the details started to fall into place.

The home seller’s listing had been copied (text and pictures) and posted with different contact information on rental websites as a home for rent. The fake landlord asked for a small application fee and later contacted the potential renters for a deposit. Of course, the fake landlord then disappeared with the money. In this instance, the real seller received six calls in two days from rental prospects who had driven by the property and used the contact information from the yard sign, instead of from the fake listing. There’s no telling how many people paid the fake landlord before finding out the home was not for rent.

Home sellers caught in these scams can’t do much except report the fraudulent listings to the websites, contact local law enforcement and be firm but empathetic with callers, especially those who may have already paid the application fee or deposit. Real estate websites have teams dedicated to weeding scams out and responding to complaints, but it’s very difficult to stay ahead of the game.

For renters, the best defense is a healthy sense of skepticism and following the practices that websites recommend when considering rental properties. Take the time to protect yourself against fraud and theft before starting your search.
Find out ways to avoid becoming the victim of a rental scam in Part 2 of Rental Scams Hit Close to Home.
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Privacy Policy.