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01.22.2020
$18.3 million in Virginia Telecommunication Initiative grants awarded to support 12 projects CHARLES CITY—Governor Ralph Northam today announced more than $18.3 million in grants through the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) to support 12 projects across Virginia. These projects leverage over $35 million in local and private matching funds and will connect approximately 36,000 households, including thousands of businesses and community anchor institutions. The VATI program provides targeted funding to extend service to areas that are presently unserved by any broadband provider. The Governor made the announcement at the Charles City branch of the Heritage Public Library, where he presented local officials with a check for one of the awarded projects. “Broadband is a necessity for communities to attract business, for students to use educational resources, and for Virginians to receive healthcare through telemedicine,” said Governor Northam. “My administration is committed to expanding broadband access to every part of Virginia, so that all of our citizens have access to the opportunities that connectivity make possible.” Governor Northam’s proposed budget adds an additional $16 million a year on top of the $19 million allocated annually last year, bringing the total investment to $35 million each year to further expand broadband in the Commonwealth. The VATI program is a state-funded program administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The goal of VATI is to create strong, competitive communities throughout the Commonwealth by preparing those communities to build, utilize and capitalize on telecommunications infrastructure. “VATI is a key resource we are utilizing to expand broadband access to all Virginians,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “This funding will contribute significantly to the number of residents across the Commonwealth that are able to live and work more efficiently thanks to broadband connectivity.” Projects were selected through a competitive process evaluating each project for demonstrated need and benefit for the community, applicant readiness and capacity, and the cost and leverage of the proposed project. The level of funding awarded is based on the infrastructure needs in the project areas. DHCD allocated more than $18.3 million to eligible applicants to provide “last-mile” services to unserved areas of Virginia and received 39 applications from 34 localities requesting $43.6 million in funding. 2020 Virginia Telecommunication Initiative Grants: Locality/Organization Project Name Award Albemarle Broadband Authority ABBA Century Link VATI 2020 $291,300 Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission Virginia Telecommunications Initiative 2020 $2,202,000 Charles City County Virginia Telecommunications Initiative 2020 $3,966,012 Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission CPC Broadband Expansion – Council to Davenport $226,560 Franklin County Franklin County Broadband Authority $2,383,039 Grayson County Connect Grayson $1,838,255 Halifax County Halifax County MEC/EMPOWER VATI $710,514 King and Queen County King and Queen County $2,020,291 LENOWISCO Planning District Commission LENOWISCO Regional Broadband Expansion Phase I $790,464 Patrick County Patrick County Broadband Expansion $798,283 Stafford County Stafford County – KGI VATI 2020 $874,478 Surry County Prince George Electric Cooperative $2,225,000 TOTAL: $18,326,196

GO Virginia

12.11.2019
Governor Ralph Northam today announced more than $5.8 million in Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) funding for nine regional projects. The GO Virginia Board reviewed and approved seven grant requests and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) reviewed and administratively approved two grant requests. These grants will help strengthen and diversify regional economies, build a pipeline of workers to support targeted industry sectors, and encourage collaboration among local governments, public sector partners, and private industry. “GO Virginia supports economic development projects that strengthen and grow our local economies using an approach that is unique to the Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam. “With an emphasis on regional collaboration, this successful program continues to encourage communities to think creatively about how to build talent pipelines in key industries, create good-paying jobs, and drive positive, long-term growth.” The GO Virginia Board, which includes key members of the Governor’s cabinet, the General Assembly, and the business community, also approved a new policy that encourages GO Virginia regions to apply for future funding for site development and infrastructure projects of regional significance. The policy was developed in partnership with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) and focuses GO Virginia investments on projects that will grow each regions’ targeted industry sectors, as well as support the state’s economic development objectives. “The range of economic development opportunities funded by these grants will have a tremendous impact on Virginia,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “As a result of these projects, the Commonwealth will have a more qualified workforce and resource-rich environment for both start-up and existing businesses, and the physical site and infrastructure investments to support new jobs.” The GO Virginia grants will be used to implement projects that align with each region’s Growth and Diversification Plan. These locally-developed plans identify priority industry sectors and strategies based on each region’s assets. Initiatives that advance strategies developed through the planning process are key in strengthening each region’s economy and creating better career opportunities for Virginians. The grant awards will leverage an additional $6.4 million in non-state resources to assist with economic diversification throughout Virginia. “We are excited for this GO Virginia investment in Northern Virginia, especially towards the support of growing the computer science workforce pipeline and increasing technology business growth,” said Senator Janet Howell, a GO Virginia board member. “The work the GO Virginia regions are doing throughout Virginia is increasing our workforce talent development, building stronger businesses, and encouraging new economic growth in all areas of the Commonwealth.” Since program inception in 2017, GO Virginia has funded 74 projects and awarded approximately $38 million to support regional economic development efforts. Individuals interested in learning more about GO Virginia and activities in their region should visit the DHCD website. 2019 GO Virginia Round 4 Grant Awards: GO Virginia Region and Partnering Localities Project Name Project Description   Award   Region 4: Chesterfield, Hanover, and Henrico counties, and the city of Richmond CampusRVA –  Phase 2 ChamberRVA will develop a program to help area employers fill high-paying jobs with talent developed locally by promoting the Richmond region as a good place for young professionals, providing resources to move and assimilate to the region and implementing a job-matching platform. $500,000   Region 5: Cities of Hampton and Newport News Coastal Virginia Maritime Advancement Programs (COVA MAP) Old Dominion University’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) will develop a Coastal Virginia Maritime Advancement Map (COVA MAP) that will engage industry partners and prospective students, identify workforce gaps, and develop an innovative and new framework (smart mobile devices) for delivering cutting-edge curriculum to support the maritime industry. $1,532,500                    Region 9: Albemarle County and the city of Charlottesville Biotech Innovation Cluster Growth CvilleBioHub will lead the growth and expansion of the biotechnology innovation cluster within the region. This initiative will serve the needs of existing companies through programming, the planning and design of a wet lab space, workforce training, and candidate matching opportunities. $548,000   Region 1: Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe counties, and the cities of Bristol, Galax, and Norton Region 1 REI Coordinating Entity Opportunity SWVA, along with the University of Virginia College at Wise, will collaborate to develop the Launch SWVA Region 1 Strategy for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Investment. $80,000 Region 2: Alleghany, Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, Botetourt, Campbell, Craig, Floyd, Franklin, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski, and Roanoke counties, and the cities of Covington, Lynchburg, Radford, Roanoke, and Salem Region 2 Entrepreneurship Initiative   Valley Innovation Council (VIC) will coordinate and collaborate with stakeholders throughout Region 2 to develop the Region 2 Innovation and Entrepreneurial Investment Plan. VIC will map the regional ecosystem assets and develop strategies to attract entrepreneurship resources. $299,995 Region 5: Accomack, Franklin, Isle of Wright, James City, Northampton, Southampton, and York counties, and the cities of Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg REI: 757   757 Accelerate, in partnership with 757 Angels and E&M Consulting, will convene key stakeholders to conduct a gap analysis, develop best practices, and incorporate existing analyses to develop a comprehensive plan for the Region 5 entrepreneurial ecosystem. $266,667 Region 2: Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, and Campbell counties, and the city of Lynchburg Central Virginia Training Center (CVTC) Redevelopment Plan The Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance will create a redevelopment master plan for the former 350-acre Central Virginia Training Center (CVTC) site, located in Amherst County. $100,000 Region 4: Dinwiddie and Prince George counties, and the city of Petersburg Richard Bland College Aeronautics Program   Richard Bland College of William & Mary will create a business plan to develop key partnerships and establish an applied associate’s degree in Aeronautics with a stackable credential in small Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).  $50,000 Region 5: City of Chesapeake Region 7: Loudoun County Virginia K-12 Computer Science Pipeline   The Loudoun Education Foundation (LEF) will develop an immersive and integrated computer science curriculum in grades 6-12 in Loudoun County and Chesapeake City Public Schools. The two participating school systems will offer students an opportunity to learn computer science and computational thinking as part of the grades 6-12 core curriculum, culminating in capstone courses and experiential learning opportunities including internships at the high school level. $2,424,537 Total: $5,801,699

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.

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