May 3, 2018

Focus on Regional Housing Needs

Over the last six months, Housing Virginia convened a series of regional discussions to address housing needs in different parts of the state. Associates from VHDA’s Community Outreach Division participated in the events, which brought together local elected officials, planners, landlords, private developers, housing and social service providers, representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, and other state agencies.

Topics of discussion included the shrinking supply of affordable rental units, a review of existing housing programs and services, and how well the needs of localities are being met. Each session was tailored to the specific needs of the area in which it was held, and different themes emerged for each region.
  • Oct. 19, 2017 - Project Faith / King George County Housing Summit: This session focused on Project Faith’s single-family homeownership pipeline and how to prepare potential buyers early so their creditworthiness, savings and other financial preparation can be done in time to qualify them for a spot in the pipeline.
  • Feb. 1, 2018 -  Bay Aging Northern Neck / Middle Peninsula Summit: There were presentations from a wide range of speakers on affordable housing and transportation issues in the area.
  • Feb. 6, 2018 - HOPE, Inc. and Mt. Rogers CSB / Wytheville Housing Summit: Discussions centered on the shortage of market-rate units that can be used to take vouchers for both DD and Section 8 tenants, as well as other affordable housing development needs.
  • March 1, 2018 - Foothills Housing Corporation / Warrenton Housing Summit: 25 local affordable housing and social service organizations convened to tackle a variety of strategies including:
    • Developing a coalition of like-minded groups to make the case for more affordable housing by explaining how communities benefit economically and otherwise.
    • Providing evidence of best practices or examples of jurisdictions that successfully manage growth.
    • Addressing zoning issues around retrofitting motels into affordable housing.
    • Offering legal programs (Know Your Rights) to deal with high eviction rates through improvements to the court system.
These events were a great venue for VHDA’s Community Outreach staff to share information about our housing programs and resources. We also established new relationships and identified some potential partnerships. At one event, we visited a fellow attendee’s potential project site to discuss how we might be able to provide them with guidance and assistance. We expect more opportunities to arise as we continue to follow up on information and contacts gathered at these very enlightening sessions.

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