May 3, 2018

Helping Our Housing Partners Use VHDA Resources

In 2018, VHDA is expanding our outreach efforts by hosting roundtable discussions with our partners, right in their own communities. Face-to-face contact helps us connect and encourage partnership opportunities while spreading the word about our revamped Capacity Building and Sponsorship programs.

Sessions have been coordinated and presented by our Community Outreach Division staff in Wytheville, Chesapeake, Richmond, Roanoke and Falls Church. We met with our partners in Danville via webinar.

Attendees at the events represent various facets of Virginia’s housing and service delivery network, including local governments; planning district commissions; redevelopment and housing authorities; for-profit developers; nonprofits and organizations providing services such as rehabilitation, housing counseling and community development — all share a mission to support creation and preservation of affordable housing.

To encourage our partners’ cooperation in striving for our strategic goals, we discuss VHDA’s overarching mission of providing quality, affordable housing and the importance of the delivery network, stressing opportunities to improve capacity.

Participants get a basic overview of all VHDA services, from homeownership creation to preservation and development of affordable rental housing and mixed-use/mixed-income projects. More in-depth information is provided on our Community Outreach programs, including Housing Counseling, Sponsorships, Community Impact, Pre-Development, Capacity Building, Community Housing Revitalization, Granting Freedom (our accessibility grant program for disabled veterans), Rental Unit Accessibility Modification and Housing Education.

These events also allow us to hear from our partners about issues they are experiencing and get their input on how VHDA can support them in their housing and community development efforts. Some common themes we hear from areas across the state include challenges with organizational capacity, the volume of rehabilitation needed in existing housing coupled with increasing demand for improvements in accessibility, as well as the difficulties faced in serving low- and extremely low-income individuals.

Our partners’ feedback has been positive. They appreciate our visits to their communities and our efforts to improve access to VHDA resources. We’re compiling all the feedback and suggestions into a report to help us develop more ways to expand our outreach and improve operations.

These roundtables have been so well-received, we’ve decided to host them annually. In the future, we intend to include our sister agency, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, so we may provide roundtable participants an even more comprehensive review of housing resources available to them.

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