Recent News

grant

10.07.2020
Successful program is helping both residents and landlords to stay current on rent and mortgage payments RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced he is directing $12 million in additional funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to Virginia’s Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP), due to high demand for financial assistance. The program assists households and landlords with rent and mortgage payments to avoid eviction or foreclosure due to COVID-19. The additional funding will enable the Department of Housing and Community Development to continue the program until it is able to transition to a Community Development Block Grant funding stream, also provided through the CARES Act. This action is a financially prudent way to maximize the value of different federal funding sources and deliver the most benefit to households across the Commonwealth. “We created this program because people need help to stay in their homes, especially when they are dealing with job and income losses because of this public health crisis and through no fault of their own,” said Governor Northam. “We have seen high demand for the financial assistance provided through this program, which proves how much it needs to continue. A global pandemic is the worst time for Virginia families to face losing their homes, and we know that safe and stable housing is critical to helping people stay healthy as we continue to combat this virus.”  The RMRP was first launched in June with $50 million in federal CARES Act dollars to help renters and homeowners whose income has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic stay in their homes. Last month, the program also began allowing landlords to apply for payments on behalf of tenants. Families with children in the home represent the majority of households assisted by the program. The tenant-based application process is delivered in every locality of the Commonwealth by more than 30 grantees, and the landlord-initiated application process is administered statewide by Virginia Housing. The original $50 million has been fully obligated to the tenant and landlord administrators who are processing the increasing number of applications being received from both tenants and landlords. “Virginia families are struggling,” said Senator Ghazala Hashmi. “We can help keep families stable by helping them make rent and mortgage payments to stay in their homes and ensuring that landlords get payments they need.” “While we are working to end the evictions crisis, we are also doing everything possible to ensure that the fallout from the pandemic does not exacerbate an already difficult situation,” said Delegate Marcia Price. “This additional funding is important so that there are no gaps in assistance for Virginia families.”  Current state and federal eviction protections through the courts do not prevent rent and mortgage payments from accumulating. The Commonwealth is focused on helping eligible households and property owners access resources to maintain housing stability during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the future. Virginians are encouraged to act quickly and work with their landlord or lending institution to understand their rights and responsibilities and seek rent and mortgage relief assistance if needed. To submit a landlord-initiated application, visit virginiahousing.com/RMRP. Tenants interested in applying should visit dhcd.virginia.gov/eligibility to conduct a self-assessment for eligibility or call 211 VIRGINIA by dialing 2-1-1 from your phone. Additional information and resources are available at StayHomeVirginia.com.

seal

10.07.2020
Localities can apply for funding to support expansion of high-speed, broadband internet RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia is allocating $30 million in funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to improve broadband access in underserved localities. Localities must apply for the funding, and eligible projects are those able to be completed within the time constraints on spending federal dollars, which means more Virginians could get connected to high-speed, broadband internet by the end of the year. “Broadband is to today’s economy like electricity was generations ago—when you have it, you can get ahead,” said Governor Northam. “High-speed internet is essential for students to connect to education, business to connect to the wider world, and citizens to connect to work. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this even more clear, as so much of our lives have moved to virtual platforms. Since day one of our administration, we have made it a priority to increase access to broadband, and I am pleased that we can help more Virginians make those connections now, when they are needed most.” The State Council of Higher Education in Virginia estimates that 200,000 K-12 students and 60,000 college students in Virginia lack access to broadband at home. Universal broadband access has been a priority for the Northam administration, which has worked to support broadband infrastructure projects capable of connecting more than 108,000 homes and businesses. Governor Northam’s current budget proposals include $85 million in investments for broadband infrastructure.  “Any part of Virginia without broadband risks being left behind in our increasingly digital world,” said Senator Jennifer Boysko, Chairwoman of the Broadband Advisory Council. “This initiative will speed up the work of connecting every corner of Virginia, so that everyone has access to opportunity.” “Broadband access is a matter of equity, as the pandemic and the rise in virtual meetings and classes demonstrate,” said Delegate Roslyn Tyler, Vice Chairwoman of the Broadband Advisory Council. “Getting broadband access to rural and urban Virginia helps to ensure that everyone in Virginia moving forward together, and I applaud the Governor for devoting CARES Act funding to this critical priority.” The CARES Act funding allocated to this initiative is separate from other broadband funding streams. Localities are encouraged to creatively address the digital divide, including projects that address infrastructure or the cost of broadband services.   The follow are examples of eligible projects. Projects not listed below, but related to broadband and telecommunications expansion will also be considered. Broadband infrastructure capable of delivering a minimum of 25Mbps/3Mbps to Virginians currently unserved, with limited overbuilding of existing infrastructure. Broadband service connection costs for passings or property with high cost for individual connections, no greater than $10,000 per connection. Examples of such connections are for passings with long driveways, on a private road, or that have costs associated with a rail or highway crossing. Cellular transmission equipment for parts of the Commonwealth without cell service.  The program will launch Friday, October 9, and only localities are eligible to apply for funding. Additional information will be provided to local chief administrative officers. Detailed program and application information will be made available at commonwealthconnect.virginia.gov.

seal

09.28.2020
Funding will provide housing stability, assist small businesses with rent and mortgage payments, costs incurred to safely reopen RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced more than $1.7 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) for three projects in James City and York counties and the city of Williamsburg that will assist local governments and community partners in meeting the needs of Virginia families and small businesses impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “The Peninsula is among the areas of our Commonwealth hardest hit by the financial impacts of this pandemic, in part because of the tourism-driven economies that they rely on every year,” said Governor Northam. “By directing CDBG funding towards these projects, we will ensure more Virginians can stay in their homes and help businesses can keep their lights on as we weather this public health crisis.”  Since 1982, the federally funded CDBG program has been administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Virginia receives funding annually to distribute to small cities, towns, and counties, and funding is allocated among local government applicants through an open submission application process using objective scoring criteria developed in consultation with eligible localities. Large cities and counties receive a direct allocation of CDBG resources from the federal government, so the state-administered funds must focus on smaller and more rural regions of the Commonwealth. This year, more than $20.4 million has been distributed to communities across Virginia through the CDBG program. DHCD reallocated existing CDBG funding to assist with COVID-19 response and recovery activities. Funding can be used for: Construction or rehab of structures for shelters Testing or equipment manufacturing Training programs for healthcare workers or service industry jobs transitioning to food or pharmaceutical delivery systems Acquisition costs for telework or telemedicine services Job creation or business development for manufacturing of COVID-related materials Business assistance for job training or re-tooling business services to reopen and adapt in a new environment Small business recovery funds for rent and mortgage assistance Personal protective equipment, sanitization, dining equipment, and barrier devices to meet social distancing requirements “Access to this type of grant funding is more important than ever for many of Virginia’s communities right now,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “This realignment of funds is an innovative approach to addressing the needs of many Virginians, and we will continue to move Virginia forward.” The following projects will receive CDBG funding: Housing Assistance Program $348,104 James City County This project will provide financial assistance and ongoing housing counseling with support services to eligible individuals, including those that have recently become unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The tourism industry has been heavily impacted by business closures, and James City County has seen a large increase in unemployment, furloughed employees, and a decline in seasonal hires. The funding will target housing and financial stabilization through rent and/or utility payments, as well as ongoing housing and financial counseling for 54 households that have been directly impacted by COVID-19. Emergency Housing and Food Assistance for Homeless and Low- to Moderate-Income Individuals $165,203 City of Williamsburg The city of Williamsburg has partnered with Colonial Williamsburg and a local hotel to provide lodging and isolation space for 50 individuals experiencing homelessness. Additionally, the city will support approximately 75 households with rental assistance and provide approximately 1,200 bags of fresh produce and prepared meals to families. Lower Peninsula Business Assistance Program $1,230,000 York County York County and the cities of Poquoson and Williamsburg will utilize CDBG funds to assist more than 200 Lower Peninsula businesses with the costs associated with reopening safely, many of which are tourism or retail and have remained closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. York County will be the lead applicant and administer this business recovery grant in partnership with both cities. Businesses can receive up to $5,000 for rent relief and equipment purchases to help businesses re-open safely and in accordance with state procedures. This region is home to many hotels, restaurants, and service and entertainment businesses typically supported by the many tourism attractions that have had their normal operations disrupted by the pandemic.

Upcoming Events

Rent and Mortgage Relief Program

The Rent and Mortgage Relief Program will launch on Monday, June 29. Click here to find out if you may be eligible.

COVID-19 Homeless Assistance and Prevention

Those experiencing homelessness or other housing crisis should contact their local crisis assistance hotline by clicking here to find your local hotline.

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a market-based collaborative effort among Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, while driving economic growth. DHCD, in coordination with the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, will administer just over half of the proceeds from the RGGI cap and trade program to energy efficiency programs benefiting low-income Virginians by making investments in affordable housing.

Virginia Governor's Housing Conference

Mark your calendar for the virtual 2020 Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference Nov. 18-20. Join us for this three-day event packed full of educational sessions led by experts in housing, finance, and community development.

Pool and Spa Safety

In the midst of summer, pool safety is at the forefront of our minds. Check out multiple resources to keep your family safe in and around pools. 

Local Government Exchange Program

The Virginia Local Government Exchange Program will serve as a vehicle to explore and build stronger relationships between community leaders in our vast state. This pilot program is a partnership of the Governor’s Office, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) and Virginia Municipal League (VML).

Partners for Better Communities Podcast

Each episode features the voices of leaders and change makers across the commonwealth. We will look at the innovation and inspiration at play as local, regional and state leaders work together to create safe, affordable and prosperous communities.

Virginia Disparity Study

Virginia has commissioned BBC Research & Consulting (BBC) to conduct a disparity study to assess whether barriers exist for minority- or woman-owned businesses that make it more difficult for them to compete for commonwealth contracts.

Virginia Main Street Blog

Check out the latest happenings in the Main Street and downtown revitalization world through the Virginia Main Street Blog.

2018 Code Development Process

The Virginia Building Codes are updated through the code development process. Virginia is a leader in building and fire code development, and stakeholder input is vital to Virginia’s code development process. Participation is encouraged and remote participation is made possible through cdpVA.

Landlord Tenant Handbook

The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (VRLTA) handbook has been prepared to provide information on the rights, remedies and responsibilities of landlords and renters concerning the rental process. Before signing a lease, prospective tenants should read and understand the terms of the contract. Consulting a lawyer or the landlord for clarification of the rental agreement is advisable.