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Governor Northam Pledges Continued Progress to Meet Affordable Housing Demands in Virginia

12.09.2019
Governor Ralph Northam today highlighted his administration’s progress in enhancing the quality, availability, and affordability of housing in the Commonwealth. Speaking at the 2019 Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference in Hampton, Governor Northam announced several accomplishments since he signed Executive Order Twenty-Five in November 2018. The executive order outlined the administration’s priorities to confront the Commonwealth’s unmet housing needs by increasing the supply of permanent supportive housing, addressing the shortage of quality, affordable housing, and reducing the rate of evictions across Virginia. “Having a stable, safe, and affordable place to live is a key part of keeping a job, getting an education, and leading a healthy, productive life,” said Governor Northam. “I am proud of the progress we have made to address our most pressing housing challenges, but we know there is much work left to do. I remain committed to ensuring that we meet the demand for affordable housing so that all Virginians have an equal opportunity to thrive in our Commonwealth.”  Since the signing of Executive Order Twenty-Five, Governor Northam worked with the General Assembly to increase the Virginia Housing Trust Fund to $11 million, strengthening one of the state’s most flexible tools to combat homelessness and provide affordable housing and permanent supportive housing. As a result, the Commonwealth was able to finance more than 15 additional affordable housing initiatives that support moderate- and low-income families this fiscal year. There has been a continued drop in homelessness across Virginia, with the most recent data showing a 36 percent reduction in overall homelessness since 2010. Earlier this year, the General Assembly authorized an eviction diversion pilot program that will launch in four communities in July 2020 to help address the high eviction rates in Virginia. An additional $1.3 million in legal aid has been allocated to fund 17 housing attorneys in legal aid offices around the state. The Virginia Poverty Law Center also received private funding to create an evictions helpline, growing the legal aid opportunities for individuals facing evictions. “The Governor’s executive order is key to continuing our efforts to create strong, sustainable, and thriving communities for all Virginians,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “We look forward to continuing our work together with members of the General Assembly, as well as our public and private partners, to address these priorities and to provide affordable housing throughout Virginia.” The Commonwealth was recently awarded additional funding from public and private partners, bolstering Virginia’s efforts to increase affordable housing and decrease homelessness, especially among the most vulnerable populations. Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded nearly $5.9 million in annual funding to public housing agencies throughout Virginia, providing permanent affordable housing to an additional 729 residents living with disabilities through the Mainstream Housing Choice Voucher Program. This funding is part of $131.3 million awarded to 325 local public housing authorities across the country to provide permanent affordable housing to nearly 15,363 additional non-elderly persons with disabilities. The Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta also recently announced that it will award Virginia $6.9 million in affordable housing funds and partner with local for-profit and nonprofit developers to assist in the acquisition, new construction, rehabilitation, or preservation of over 1,200 affordable rental and homeownership units the Commonwealth.

10.30.2019
WHEREAS, Virginia has a long-standing commitment to conserve its energy resources and to help low-income households through the Weatherization Assistance Program; and WHEREAS, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development has administered the Weatherization Assistance Program since the program’s inception in 1976, providing a variety of state and federal resources through 17 community action agencies, nonprofits, and local governments that serve people in every town, city, and county in the Commonwealth; and WHEREAS, the Weatherization Program’s local service providers consider weatherization a vital part of their overall effort to provide a cost-effective permanent solution for reducing the heavy energy burden on low-income Virginians and provide affordable and safe housing for all; and WHEREAS, the Weatherization Program not only assists in reducing energy costs and providing efficient housing, but also contributes more broadly to the improvements and progress of communities by eliminating carbon emissions, stimulating local economies, creating jobs, and stabilizing neighborhoods; and WHEREAS, it is important to recognize the significance of these programs that ensure that all residents have the opportunity to live in energy-efficient, healthy, safe, and comfortable homes across the Commonwealth; and WHEREAS, October is Energy Awareness Month and October 30th is designated as Weatherization Day; and WHEREAS, Weatherization Day is an opportunity to focus local, state, and national attention on the benefits of weatherization and the work being performed by the dedicated members of the Weatherization Assistance Program; NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize October 2019 as ENERGY AWARENESS MONTH and October 30, 2019, as WEATHERIZATION DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.

Governor Northam Announces More Than $1.4 Million in Industrial Revitalization Funds

10.30.2019
Governor Ralph Northam today announced $1,440,000 in Industrial Revitalization Fund (IRF) grants for the towns of Bedford and St. Paul, and the cities of Covington and Richmond. IRF grants provide gap financing for construction projects aligned with local and regional economic development strategies, primarily in distressed communities. Governor Northam made the announcement at Virginia Union University, where IRF funding will support a project to redevelop the historic Industrial Hall building into a Center for African American History and Culture. “The Industrial Revitalization Fund continues to be an important resource for redeveloping deteriorated structures across the Commonwealth and encouraging the public and private sectors to work together to increase economic and community development,” said Governor Northam. “With these grants, we are investing in projects that will transform older, vacant buildings, bringing bring new life and purpose to their communities and spurring new jobs and positive growth across our Commonwealth.” Projects were reviewed and evaluated competitively, with an emphasis on those with a high level of blight, identification of impediments to economic development efforts, alignment with regional or local strategies, availability of matching resources, the level of community distress where the property is located, and an identified and feasible end use. Eleven applications totaling more than $6.1 million in funding were received. “The funded projects are transforming deteriorated buildings that stand as a significant deterrent for future economic opportunity in the surrounding areas and regions,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Through the IRF grants, we are investing funds into the vibrancy of these communities through impactful projects, and we are encouraging strategic public-private collaboration that will encourage new economic and community development in the four communities.” Since 2012, the IRF program has funded 29 projects that have revitalized vacant, blighted buildings. These projects have generated more than $81 million in other public and private investment, and resulted in the creation of more than 415 jobs across the Commonwealth. The following projects were awarded funding through the 2020 Industrial Revitalization Fund program: Applicant Project Name Award Town of Bedford Bedford School Campus Redevelopment Project $400,000 City of Covington Alleghany Highlands Industrial Heritage and Technology Discovery Center $240,000 City of Richmond Virginia Union University Industrial Hall $400,000 Town of St. Paul Lyric Project $400,000 TOTAL: $1,440,000

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Virginia Governor's Housing Conference

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