July 28, 2016

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.

Housing Virginia's Most Vulnerable Conference

(RECAP: The Virginia Housing Alliance and the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services will present the 2016 Housing Virginia's Most Vulnerable Conference, on August 24-25 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Midlothian, just outside of Richmond.)

Three questions to ask before choosing art as a community builder

(RECAP: Art is cool, and often beautiful, for sure—but can it really help stabilize and revitalize a distressed community? There are many believers, and Jackie Harder, multimedia specialist with Community Housing Partners in Hopewell is one of them.)

Diamonds Are Forever

(RECAP: They say diamonds are forever. The same can be said about market studies—at least for most affordable housing developments. The long-term implications of decisions made based upon market study data can be a make or break for a project. Thus, extreme care must be taken to procure the most in-depth study possible and to pay close attention to the results.)

Cities Subsidize Ride-Sharing to Boost Transportation Connections

(RECAP: A recent American Public Transportation Association report on the relationship of ride to transit affirmed that ride-sharing increased the use of public transportation. The integration of ride-sharing services into municipal funding decisions holds the potential to be a low-cost way of boosting transportation investment and promoting regional integration.)

'Agrihood' appeal: Farm-centered communities growing in popularity among homebuyers

(RECAP: Late last year, the Santa Clara (CA) City Council chose to fund an agriculture-based, mixed-income development to tackle its affordable housing issues rather than cheaper alternatives.)

July 27, 2016

In Case You Missed It: A Look at Recent National Housing Policy News

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Governor McAuliffe Announces 10.5 Percent Decrease in Overall Homelessness in Virginia

~ $14.7 million awarded in Virginia Homeless Solutions Program grants ~
Governor Terry McAuliffe recently announced that overall homelessness in the Commonwealth declined 10.5 percent in 2016 versus 2015, with a 17 percent decrease in family homelessness in the same period. In addition, more than $14.7 million was recently awarded in Virginia Homeless Solutions Program (VHSP) grants to combat homelessness in Virginia. The new preliminary numbers originate from annual point in time data collected by local Continuum of Care groups across Virginia in January each year and compiled by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. “Virginia is leading fight to end homelessness by expanding access to safe, affordable housing for families who need it,” said Governor McAuliffe, speaking at today’s announcement. “Last year, I announced that Virginia was the first state to effectively end veteran homelessness and vowed to work to make all forms of homelessness in Virginia rare, brief, and non-recurring. These new numbers show that we are moving in the right direction and demonstrate the success of our collaboration between local, state, and federal organizations. Moving forward, we will continue to invest in our successful housing programs and partnerships, as we work to end chronic homelessness and homelessness among youth and families altogether in Virginia.”

FHA Issues Guidance on Insuring Properties with PACE Assessments 

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) recently issued a mortgagee letter clarifying the conditions in which it will insure mortgages on properties that have Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) assessments. While PACE structures vary, states generally treat PACE assessments on properties as they do other special assessments, such as property taxes. Under this structure, the owner of the property with a PACE assessment pays off the obligation to the local government, not the party who provided funding for the improvements. In some cases, PACE assessments generate a lien on the property. This has created a conflict between PACE loans and FHA because federal law prohibits FHA from insuring any property that has any liens attached to it other than the FHA-insured mortgage. In its announcement of the mortgagee letter, FHA acknowledged the importance of improving energy efficiency in residential homes and said the PACE program is an effective way to do so.

Castro Details HUD Actions to Address Lead Poisoning 

At an event hosted by the Center for American Progress (CAP), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro outlined steps HUD is taking to protect children from lead exposure, including developing procedures to contain lead hazards more effectively, improving lead-prevention policies, and partnering with other leaders and agencies to protect residents from lead poisoning. When asked why a lead problem still exists in 2016, Castro responded, "we have not dedicated the kind of resources that ought to be dedicated to the problem." David Fukuzawa, Managing Director of the Health and Human Services Program of the Kresge Foundation, who also participated in the event, stated that this is a "fixable, finite problem." He argued for increased resources for lead abatement programs, saying lead abatement is a solid investment that will reduce exposure to lead while lowering costs in housing, healthcare, and education systems throughout the country.

July 20, 2016

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.

Save the Date: Upcoming Housing Events Approaching Fast!

(RECAP: The season for affordable housing conferences in Virginia is fast approaching. Upcoming events include Housing Virginia’s Most Vulnerable Conference in August, the 4th Annual Housing Credit Conference and Mobile Home Parks Symposium, both scheduled for September, and the 2016 Governor’s Housing Conference to be held in November.)

Green Team Creates "Pocket Park"

(RECAP: Groundwork RVA’s Green Team demonstrates, with the installation of a “Pocket Park” on North 25th Street, that youth can have a transformative impact on the fabric of a city. Young leaders from Armstrong, George Wythe, Richmond Community and Open High School exemplify the crucial role urban teens play in modeling community-led revitalization in the beautification of a vacant property in North Church Hill.)

Americans Worried About Housing Costs, Support Affordable Housing

(RECAP: About 57% of people surveyed have cut back on groceries to afford their rent or mortgage. Nearly one-third of people recently polled fear they will have to move within the next 12 months because of housing costs.)

Who Says a Common Agenda Is Necessary for Collective Impact?

(RECAP: Although we agree a common agenda is important, we suggest that collective impact leaders treat it as an aspiration rather than a destination. Focusing on the process of creating a common agenda allows for diverse perspectives to impact the initiative’s trajectory.)

Using opportunity mapping to improve affordable housing policy

(RECAP: Interest in opportunity mapping has grown because of recent federal actions regarding fair housing. Opportunity mapping uses various data sources to show segregation patterns and to help see how these patterns affect individuals’ abilities to access amenities and services that help promote economic well being.)

The First-Time Homebuyer Education and Counseling Demonstration: Early Insights

(RECAP: Congress and many researchers and practitioners in the field of housing counseling have asked whether pre-purchase homeownership counseling for higher risk borrowers leads to better borrower outcomes and reduced lender risk relative to no counseling. This Early Insights report demonstrates that HUD has successfully implemented the first large-scale national experiment of homebuyer education and counseling that promises to become a foundational source of evidence regarding the impacts of homebuyer education and counseling.)

July 18, 2016

In Case You Missed It: A Look at Recent National Housing Policy News

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Congress Passes Bipartisan Housing Assistance Reform Bill

The Senate passed by unanimous consent H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA), to streamline and reform several federal housing assistance programs. While there was a Senate version of this bill, as NCSHA reported on June 23, Senate passage of the House-passed version expedites the process and now H.R. 3700 is headed to the President's desk to be signed into law.  When enacted, HOTMA will streamline Housing Choice Voucher program inspections, make project-basing vouchers more flexible, and provide public housing agencies (PHAs) greater flexibility to transfer funding between their operating and capital funds. HOTMA also makes several adjustments to federal single-family housing programs, including provisions designed to make it easier for condominium mortgages to be insured by the Federal Housing Administration and directing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to adopt procedures that would allow certain lenders to directly endorse loans through the Section 502 Guaranteed Rural Housing Loans program. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that HOTMA will save the government $311 million over five years.

Cantwell and Hatch Introduce Comprehensive Housing Credit Legislation

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced S.3237, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2016. This comprehensive bill builds on Housing Credit legislation the two Senators introduced together in May, S.2962 (also titled the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2016).  The new bill includes the three provisions also contained in S.2962—a 50 percent increase in Housing Credit authority, minimum 4 percent rates for both acquisition and bond-financed properties, and an income averaging option—plus a host of additional programmatic changes intended to help the program reach more people and places and streamline its administration.

Senator Wyden Introduces First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Bill

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the First-Time Homebuyer Credit Act of 2016, S. 3175, which would provide a refundable tax credit for first-time home buyers, subject to the purchase price and income limits described below.  Under the bill, first-time home buyers would receive up to $10,000 in a refundable tax credit, equal to 2.5 percent of the purchase price for homes purchased for less than $600,000. Homes purchased for $600,000 – $700,000 would be eligible for a smaller credit determined by reducing the maximum credit by how much the purchase price exceeds $600,000. For example, a home purchased for $650,000 would be eligible for a $5,000 tax credit. Homes purchased for more than $700,000 are not eligible for the credit.

HUD Secretary Supports Housing Credit, HOME, & Housing Trust Fund at House Committee Hearing

The House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing 13 to examine recent changes HUD made in its Distressed Asset Stabilization Program ("DASP"), which pools delinquent Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured single-family loans and sells them to investors, subject to requirements designed to help homeowners avoid foreclosure while boosting HUD's Mutual Mortgage Insurance (MMI) Fund.  The witness, HUD Secretary Julián Castro, defended HUD's improvements to the DASP program and disagreed with some Republicans' accusations that he had approved the changes for political reasons.  During the hearing, Committee member Keith Ellison (D-MN) focused on the country's rental crisis and asked Secretary Castro for suggestions on how Congress could address it. Castro acknowledged this rental affordability crisis and its unusual presence not just in metropolitan areas but "in towns big and small throughout the country."

Enterprise Report and Webinar Explore QAP Approaches to Cost-Effectiveness in Housing Credit Development

Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) recently released Giving Due Credit: Balancing Priorities in State Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Allocation Policies, which considers how state Housing Credit allocating agencies are advancing cost effectiveness while still developing and preserving affordable housing that is well-located, durable, sustainable, and connected to good schools, jobs, transit, and health care.  In preparing the report, Enterprise reviewed the qualified allocation plans (QAP) of Housing Credit allocating agency in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, New York City and the U.S. territories. Giving Due Credit identifies leading approaches for a series of key issues, including reducing the cost of development and preservation, creating incentives for innovative practices, and ensuring that Housing Credits produce quality, well-located homes. The report also addresses the impact of cost-related measures on affirmatively furthering fair housing, through efforts both to revitalize distressed communities and to build affordable homes in neighborhoods of opportunity.

HUD Magazine Highlights HFAs' Role in Supporting Affordable Lending

An article published in the spring 2016 issue of Evidence Matters, HUD's quarterly research publication, highlights state HFAs' track record of supporting sustainable and affordable homeownership lending for low- and moderate-income consumers. The article, entitled "Increasing Access to Sustainable Mortgages for Low-Income Programs," examines HFA programs and similar initiatives administered by nonprofits that prove the viability of lending to creditworthy underserved borrowers.  Citing NCSHA statistics, the article notes that HFAs have financed mortgages for over 3 million first-time home buyers since the 1960s. HUD then cites independent research conducted by Stephanie Moulton of Ohio State University that finds that HFAs are "highly effective" market participants who also succeed at fulfilling their affordable homeownership missions.

July 15, 2016

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.

The Place Game: How We Make the Community the Expert

(RECAP: The Place Game is a tool for evaluating any public space—a park, a square, a market, a street, even a street corner—and examining it through guided observation strategies. The best part about the Place Game? Anyone can use it.)

The Right (and Wrong) Ways to Comment on a QAP

(RECAP: Qualified allocation plans (QAPs) often involve debate. Differences of opinion are not only OK but to be expected: HFAs need to hear from developers--but developers need to speak in the most effective way.)

Wanted: Downtown Grocery Stores

(RECAP: As Americans’ taste for downtown living grows, so does their appetite for downtown grocery stores. So, why is it still rare to see a grocery store downtown? Economic development consultant Kennedy Smith provides some answers.)

The Future of Senior Housing: Less Ritz-Carlton, More Southwest Airlines

(RECAP: Too rich for affordable seniors housing, too poor for market-rate seniors housing—the predicament is widespread, but the senior housing options for these older adults are not. Now, there’s an emerging consensus as to how middle-income seniors housing communities should be run: think less like a Ritz-Carlton, and more like Southwest Airlines.)

Fulfilling HUD’s Commitment to Creating Economic Opportunities

(RECAP: The Section 3 program has always been a key component of HUD’s efforts to increase economic opportunities in neighborhoods, but in the past few years they have put new energy behind the program and taken more aggressive steps to provide low-income individuals with the training and jobs they need to lead productive lives.)

July 13, 2016

In Case You Missed It: A Look at Recent National Housing Policy News

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FHFA Issues Single Security, Common Securitization Platform Timelines

The Federal Housing Finance Agency released an update on implementation of its Single Security and the Common Securitization Platform for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, insisting that the goals will provide ease of use and transparency. The update details progress made to date and describes expected milestones that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Common Securitization Solutions, a company created by the government-sponsored enterprises to create the platform, expect to meet to achieve the stated goals for these projects. The Update describes the various phases of testing required for Release 1 and Release 2; announces planned issuance of final Single Security features and disclosures to the market; and provides information on the ongoing alignment of Enterprise programs, policies and practices and the processes that will be followed to further support the Single Security initiative.

Affordable Housing Is the Glue That Holds Everything Together

Former HUD secretaries Henry Cisneros and Mel Martinez call for a LIHTC expansion.
The Bipartisan Policy Center Senior Health and Housing Task Force, which we co-chair, recently released a report urging the greater integration of health care with housing as vital to helping America’s rapidly expanding senior population age more successfully. Former HUD secretaries Henry Cisneros (left) and Mel Martinez co-chair the Bipartisan Policy Center Senior Health and Housing Task Force. A growing body of evidence is showing that more tightly linking senior health and housing has the potential to improve health outcomes for older adults, reduce medical costs, and enable millions of Americans to “age with options” in their homes and communities. To realize these considerable benefits, however, seniors must have access to affordable housing. Without access to such housing and the stability it provides, it becomes increasingly difficult to introduce a system of home- and community-based supports that can enable successful aging.

Affordable homes for first-time buyers coming soon 

In recent months, there has been a well-publicized shortage of affordable homes for today's first-time buyers. That situation may soon change, much to the relief of young consumers anxiously waiting for available homes they can afford. News reports carried on Builder online and by the National Association of Realtors point to a new trend that could result in many new homes keyed to the needs and qualifications of first-timers. It noted that the number of homebuilders offering entry-level housing rose 25 percent last year compared to the year prior.
"Since the recession, the number of new entry-level homes plummeted. Builder online even declared the starter home 'nearly extinct' last year. "However, the analysis of the 2016 Builder 100/Next Builder list points out an increasing number of builders are devoting at least 50 percent of their business to building entry-level homes. While the numbers are rising, the entry-level market is still a fraction of what it once was in 2010."

3 ways to help fix the appalling state of affordable housing

The challenging problem of social inequality comes with more questions than answers: How do we ensure that everyone, regardless of status, has equal opportunities? Where do we begin?
Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer, but here is a good starting point: at home.  Studies show how stable, sustainable housing is crucial in revitalizing neighborhoods and is central to the healthy development of children. Yet millions of low income families struggle for a quality home and it’s only getting harder to find safe, clean affordable housing. According to the Urban Institute, there were only “28 adequate and available rental homes for every 100 extremely low-income renters in 2013, down from 37 in 2000.” Meanwhile, per the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, the number of extremely low-income renters jumped from 8.2 million to 11 million between 2000 and 2013. HUD’s voucher program allows low income tenants to pay 30% of their income for rent. However, this program continues to come under increasing Congressional budgetary pressure, while the program only meets a fraction of demand.

In One Way, the U.S. Mortgage Market Looks Just Like It Did in 2007

The U.S. mortgage market is of course considerably smaller, safer and less accessible than it was nine years ago. The homeownership rate has fallen by more than four percentage points since 2008. At the same time, post-crisis reforms banned much of the risky lending that inflated the nationwide housing bubble, and it became much harder for families to make their first home purchase. But by one important measure — the ability of borrowers to make their monthly payments — today's mortgage market is almost exactly where it was on the eve of the meltdown. In the first quarter of 2016, 94.9% of the residential mortgages serviced by seven big banks were current and performing, according to a report released Friday by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. That percentage compared to 94.4% in October 2007, when the OCC first reported the data.

July 12, 2016

Last Chance to Register for the 2017 QAP Forum

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Don't forget that the 2017 QAP Forum will be held on July 13, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. at the VHDA Headquarters located at 601 S. Belvidere Street, in Richmond, VA 23220. If you plan to attend and have not registered, please do so as soon as possible.  Parking is extremely limited so please consider car-pooling.  



Welcome / Introductions

Timing of QAP Changes

Review and Discussion of Proposed Changes

Open Comment for Additional Proposed Changes

Other noteworthy dates:
QAP Focus Group: September 1st at VHC  
QAP Public Hearing: September 20th at VHDA Headquarters
Board Meeting-Approval of final QAP Regulations and Resolution: October 5th 
How to Complete a Virginia LIHTC Application: October 13th at VHC
Universal Design Seminar: October 20th at VHC
Architect Certification & Universal Design Submission Requirements: October 20th
         at VHC

July 8, 2016

In Case You Missed It: A Look at Recent National Housing Policy News

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According to a new HUD report, home buyer education and counseling leads to improved mortgage literacy, greater appreciation for communication with lenders, and better underwriting qualifications. The report, The First-Time Homebuyer Education and Counseling Demonstration: Early Insights, is based on a study of 5,800 low, moderate, and middle-income first-time home buyers across 28 metropolitan areas in the country. HUD is conducting the study because previous research on the effectiveness of housing education and counseling has been of limited value because of a lack of resources, small sample size, and nonexperimental design. The study's results indicate that home buyer education and counseling could significantly diminish the risks associated with homeownership and help home buyers make better financial decisions. HUD plans to continue this research until 2020 to discover long-term impacts of home buyer education and counseling and its effect on financial success among different subpopulations and demographic areas.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Housing Service issued a notice outlining policies and procedures for the Section 542 Rural Development Voucher Program (RDVP) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. The RDVP was established in 2006 and does not have regulations so this notice, issued annually, serves to inform the public of program funding and administration.
Section 542 Rural Development Vouchers offer protection to low-income tenants of USDA Rural Development-financed multifamily properties when the property owner prepays the Section 515 Rural Rental Housing loan or if USDA action results in a foreclosure of a 515 property. When prepayment occurs, USDA affordable housing requirements and rental assistance subsidies associated with Section 515 generally cease to exist, leading to possible rent increases for tenants. The Section 542 voucher is therefore intended to supplement eligible tenants' rent payment so they can remain in the property or move to a new property. Tenants should receive notice from USDA within 90 days of when prepayment or foreclosure occurs, informing them of the Section 542 voucher and providing application information.

Americans still want to own homes — if they can afford to. That's the finding of a report released by the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies. The pressures of student debt, rising rents and the leftover wreckage from the nearly decade-old housing bust have restrained people's ability to buy, even though the dream remains alive. The report sees reasons for both optimism (more millennials are poised to leave the nest) and concern (rising numbers of renters face extreme costs). Those factors could determine whether the share of Americans who are renting keeps rising or whether the nation's home ownership rate can rebound from a near 48-year low of 63.5 percent.

Real estate is the industry most critical of the House GOP tax reform plan in the early going. Tax reform involves a big bet: That all the businesses, families and groups that benefit from specific tax breaks would be willing to trade those breaks for lower rates and simpler taxes. House Republicans' tax reform proposal recommends setting a top individual tax rate of 33 percent, and a business tax rate of 20 percent. But the trade-off is that the vast majority of existing deductions, credits and exclusions would be eliminated, leaving so few that, Republicans hope, taxpayers could file taxes on a return no bigger than a postcard.

The former head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency called for a radical rethink of the U.S. housing system that could spell the conversion of the GSEs to lender-owned institutions.

Edward DeMarco, who ran the FHFA for more than four years, co-authored “Why Housing reform Still Matters” for the Milken Institute with Michael Bright, who pitched a failed reform plan in 2014 as a member of Senator Bob Corker’s (R-Tennessee) staff. In it, the authors assert that the changes in the housing market since 2009 have become increasingly complex and burdensome, with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at the center, “trapped in a state of legal limbo called conservatorship.” “The government life support given to [the GSEs] at the height of the financial crisis was meant to be temporary, followed by legislation replacing the toxic aspects of their activities and reforming our market structure,” the report states. But a long-term replacement for that “temporary” system has yet to be installed, mostly because of political rancor, and a return to the way it used to be would just set up Congress to have to bail out the GSEs should another financial disaster hit.

July 7, 2016

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.

Meadow making takes root in Charlottesville

(RECAP: There’s a growing number of “meadow makers” bringing more environmentally friendly lawn management to Central Virginia. In addition to providing natural beauty, meadows only need to be mowed once a year. Other benefits of installing meadow landscapes include better storm water control, less erosion, greater biodiversity and fewer lawnmower-related emissions.)

Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) and Library of Virginia

(RECAP: HOME and the Library of Virginia partnered to present an enhanced exhibit including maps from the Library of Virginia’s own holdings alongside the maps created by HOME’s director of research, Brian Koziol to examine the connection between public policy and economic development in Richmond through a fair housing lens.)

Raising the Bar: Linking Landlord Incentives and Regulation through Rental Licensing

(RECAP: A short guide for local government officials to use rental licensing to raise the bar and ensure that landlords are responsible stewards of their properties.)

Planning for the Autonomous Vehicle Revolution

(RECAP: According to a new report, AVs may exert as great an influence on the built environment as mass production of the automobile did in the early to middle 20th century. Parking minimums, street design, rights of way, development demand, signage and signalization, building siting and design, access management, and their accompanying norms and standards have the potential to change dramatically over the next 40-50 years.)

How to engage residents for community change

(RECAP: When community change is desired, resident engagement is not an option--it's a must. But in times of busy schedules, apathy and even hostility, how do you bring diverse points of view together? Read this for ideas.)

The State of Rural Housing in Virginia: A Rural Network Forum Series

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This is a guest post from Housing Virginia.

Rural Virginia is changing and with that, rural affordable housing needs are also in transition. Housing Virginia is assessing demographic and housing trends and has surveyed local rural providers around the state to hear their most pressing needs and their perceptions of the changes happening in their communities.

Housing Virginia will be holding 5 regional forums around the state in July and August where it will present preliminary findings and facilitate discussion to develop an action plan to address these gaps and needs as well as recommend policy alternatives. This plan will be released at the Governor’s Housing Conference in Roanoke this November.

They have also begun to develop a directory of rural housing and service providers by region with data provided by the Virginia Housing Development Authority. Click here to see the first publication of the directory. If you would like to update or add an entry, please contact alise@hdadvisors.net with the information you would like added to a finalized digital version to be uploaded to our website.

Find a meeting near you below!

7/14 – Martinsville 

In partnership with the Martinsville, Henry & Patrick Counties Association of REALTORS®

Click here to register

7/15 – Abingdon 

In partnership with the Southwest Virginia Association of REALTORS®

Click here to register

7/28 – Warrenton 

In partnership with the Greater Piedmont Area Association of REALTORS®

Click here to register

8/11 – Middle Peninsula 

In partnership with the Chesapeake Bay & Rivers Association of REALTORS®

Click here to register

TBD (August) –Southside

Stay tuned for registration information!

They are partnering with local REALTOR® Associations for each meeting, which will run from 8:30-11am at each location. The forums will be split into two parts: Housing Virginia’s presentation of findings – from both the provider survey and regional mapping data – and a facilitated group discussion about their area’s needs and gaps. Please contact alise@hdadvisors.net to be added to the Rural Initiative mailing list for updates!

Why do we need this program? Rural residents face very different demographic, social, and housing challenges than their urban counterparts. Particularly in the southwest corner of the state in Central Appalachia, residents have experienced widespread and persistent poverty that has been exacerbated by the economic downturn, resulting in additional job losses and a further decline in the availability of resources. Their struggles have become visible in the substandard housing conditions they endure, where many still live without plumbing and other modern housing features.

Housing Virginia aims to work closely with on-the-ground rural housing practitioners and service providers to develop a comprehensive action plan to address these unique needs and gaps. Keep an eye out for more news about the findings and the release at the Governor’s Housing Conference in November!

This initiative is made possible with the generous support of BB&T, USDA – Rural Development, the Virginia Community Development Corporation, and local REALTOR® Associations in cooperation with the Virginia Association of REALTORS®.