Where insights advance affordability

HousingForward Virginia is the Commonwealth’s trusted resource for affordable housing data and actionable insights. Advocates, planners, developers, and mission-aligned organizations rely on us to help them build connections and advance their work. With our tools, they’re able to better identify needs, influence decision makers, and ultimately increase access to affordable housing for all.

What We Do

  • Inform public policy and housing regulations
  • Support local and regional housing networks
  • Encourage a healthy lending and financial environment
  • Convene key stakeholders
  • Provide leaders with actionable information  
  • Explore innovative methods to reduce housing costs
  • Promote strategies to preserve affordable housing 
  • Shine a light on racial disparities in housing 
  • Assist with development of equitable housing policy
  • Build a positive public image for affordable housing

An Approach with Intent

Our efforts place priority on racial equity. Our work ensures affordable housing in Virginia is planned, developed, and built with purpose to end the cycles of poverty, racism, and community violence. We recognize Housing is a Social Determinant of Health, understanding that where and how we live impacts an individual’s and a family’s health. We believe HousingForward Virginia’s efforts spark change and create a better quality of life for all our neighbors.

Our Board

Nathalia Artus, Chair

Community Development Banker, Atlantic Union Bank

Nathalia is a community development banker with Atlantic Union Bank. Her focus at work is promoting community economic development through financial assistance – including within the nonprofit and governmental sectors. She is active in the support of Richmond’s nonprofit community and currently also serves on the Boards of Family Lifeline and Virginia Supportive Housing. A native Brazilian, Nathalia has lived and worked in Richmond for the past seven years.

Michelle Krocker, Vice Chair

Executive Director, Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance

Michelle Krocker is a community development and public policy consultant, assisting private sector organizations and local governments in creating diverse, sustainable communities through housing and land use policies. Currently she serves as the Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance, a regional advocacy coalition engaged in public outreach, education, and housing research that addresses the unmet housing needs of Northern Virginia’s low and moderate income households.

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Vaughn Poller, Immediate Past Chair

Neighborhood Development Administrator, James City County

Vaughn has been a resident of James City since 1991. He worked in the James City County Office of Housing and Community Development as the Community Development Planner for ten years and was a founding member of the County’s Neighborhood Connections Office. From 2005-2011 he was the Housing Division Manager for York County. Vaughn has affiliations with neighborhood organizations, non-profits and regional coalitions, including the Hampton Roads Housing Consortium. He has also served on the Trustee Board of St. John Baptist Church in upper York County, as an Assistant Scout Master with Boy Scout Troop 195, and is Chairman of the Board of Directors for Child Development Resources.

Shernita Bethea, Secretary

Housing Administrator, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission

Shernita L. Bethea is the Housing Administrator for the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission. In her capacity as a planner, she works with a variety of organizations and agencies in the effort to promote regional approaches to issues pertaining to the elderly population, services for persons with disabilities as well as various housing issues.

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Lisa Porter, Treasurer

Executive Director & CEO, Bristol RHA

Lisa R. Porter is the Executive Director & CEO at the Bristol Redevelopment and Housing Authority and a member of the Virginia Housing (formerly VHDA) Board of Commissioners. She has spent her career in affordable housing for the past twenty-nine years serving in positions at Cumberland Plateau Regional Housing Authority, Marion Redevelopment and Housing Authority, and the Housing Authority of the City of Yuma, AZ. She is a past President of both the Virginia Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (VAHCDO) and the Little Ten Housing Authorities of Southwest Virginia. She currently serves on the NAHRO Small Agency Advisory Committee, HousingForward Virginia Board, Abuse Alternatives Board, and is Chair of the SERC-NAHRO Small Agency Task Force (SATF).

Orlando C. Artze

President & CEO, Orlando Artze Consulting LLC

Orlando C. Artze is the President and CEO of Orlando Artze Consulting LLC, a consulting group providing services to nonprofit and faith-based organizations, government agencies and for-profit companies in the fields of affordable housing and community development.

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Andrew Clark

Vice President of Government Relations, Home Builders Association of Virginia

Andrew serves as HBAV Vice President of Government Relations. Andrew manages the HBAV government affairs and regulatory programs as well as the HBAV Build-PAC. As HBAV Chief Lobbyist, Andrew works with members of the Virginia General Assembly and Virginia’s regulatory agencies to ensure housing affordability is taken into consideration when policymakers craft laws and regulations for Virginia’s citizens. Andrew is a graduate of Gettysburg College. Prior to joining HBAV in July of 2017, Andrew served as the Director of Government Affairs for the Home Builders Association of Richmond and at the Virginia General Assembly as a legislative aid to a Virginia delegate.

Susan F. Dewey

Executive Director, Virginia Housing

Susan has served as the Executive Director of Virginia Housing (formerly VHDA) since 1999. Prior to this, she served for three years as Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Virginia and was an ex-officio Virginia Housing Commissioner. Susan directs all operations of Virginia Housing, a $9 billion independent, self-supporting authority that is responsible for addressing the statewide housing affordability needs of low and moderate-income Virginians. Virginia Housing provides a variety of rental and homeownership lending programs, and free homeownership education. Virginia Housing also administers the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program and a statewide Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Leslie Frazier

SVP of Community and Industry Relations, Virginia REALTORS®

Before becoming Senior Vice President of Community and Industry Relations for Virginia REALTORS®, Leslie worked for two Virginia governors, applying her skills and passion to an array of policy initiatives, from veteran and military issues to foster care. It was her early endeavors on political campaigns where she garnered a foundation in community organizing, helping her to build relationships and foster strong connections to assist her with reaching her goals. This background makes her a perfect fit for her role with Virginia REALTORS®.

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Yolunda Harrell

Founder and CEO, New Hill Development Corp.

Yolunda Harrell originally hails from Alabama (Roll Tide) but grew up predominantly in South Carolina. She has worked, served, and lived in the Charlottesville area for the last 13 years. Yolunda is a Christian, wife, business partner, executive manager, entrepreneur and CEO and Founder of New Hill Development Corporation. As a professional business leader, Yolunda is able to leverage 24 plus years of profit management, staff development, external and internal customer experiences, community engagement, and self-development.

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Sherry Norquist

Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Sentara

Sherry Norquist, MSN, RN-ACM leads and provides strategic oversight for Sentara Healthcare’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), enhancing partnerships that build upon Sentara’s longstanding commitment to creating healthier communities. Sherry works to align and integrate CSR programs enterprise-wide by maintaining existing relationships and identifying external partners and opportunities that support a holistic and strategic prioritization model to address Social Determinants of Health. Sherry is also responsible for managing key elements and driving awareness and engagement for Sentara’s grant opportunities that align with Sentara’s Community Health Needs Assessments.

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Toni Ostrowski

Senior Community Housing Officer, Virginia Housing

Toni has over 30 years experience in affordable housing finance including mortgage loan originations, real estate appraisal, single-family and multi-family underwriting and community development. She assists in Virginia Housing’s affordable lending and relationship building initiatives by developing strategies to finance affordable housing in response to identified housing needs, designing new loan products and forming partnerships with community leaders. She served as president of the Virginia Mortgage Lenders Association in 2004 and received the VMLA Alex McCrone Member of the Year award in 2002.

Earl B. Reynolds, Jr.

Deputy City Manager, City of Danville

Born in Roanoke, Virginia, Mr. Reynolds graduated from Lucy Addison High School in 1969. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Fayetteville State University and two Masters Degrees from the State University of New York at Albany. Mr. Reynolds has taught in the North Carolina Public School system and as an Associate Professor at Ferrum College, Ferrum, Virginia. He began his full-time career in government in 1975 when he joined the staff of the West Piedmont Planning District Commission in Martinsville, Virginia.

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Andrew K. Ryan

Partner, Gray Ryan Communications

Andrew is a co-founder and partner with Gray Ryan Communications, a public relations and communications firm that serves clients in the real estate, A/E/C, and senior living industries. He partners with clients on an array of strategic communications initiatives, including public relations, reputation management, content marketing, community relations, and crisis communications.

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Sean G. Stevens

Director of Electric Distribution Design and Project Management, Dominion Energy

Sean G. Stevens is the Director of Electric Distribution Design and Project Management in Dominion Energy’s Grid and Technical Solutions Group. His areas of responsibility include design, customer contracts, joint use, right of way, and project management activities, as well as emergency response during restoration events. Stevens joined the company in 2005 after spending four years with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. He has held a variety of leadership roles within the Electric Distribution organization in both distribution design and construction. Stevens earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Greensboro College.

Lisa Sturtevant

Chief Economist, BrightMLS

Dr. Sturtevant has been involved in research on economic, demographic, and housing market issues for more than 20 years. She currently serves as Chief Economist with Bright MLS, one of the largest multiple listing services in the country, serving over 100,000 subscribers across 6 states and the District of Columbia. In her role, she leads research and forecast activities for Bright, serving as a thought leader on the housing market.

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Carrie Schmidt, HUD Liaison

Field Office Director, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Carrie has served as the Richmond Field Office Director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development since 2011. She is responsible for ensuring that all HUD programs are effectively delivered across the Commonwealth providing coordinated opportunities to communities that support community economic development, quality housing, access and affordability.

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Our Staff

Erica Sims

Executive Director for Strategy and Sustainability

Erica Sims has worked in the non-profit management, affordable housing development and community organizing fields for over 17 years. Her focus has been on social and economic justice through housing and economic development.

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Jonathan Knopf

Executive Director for Programs

Jonathan directs HousingForward Virginia’s research and progam efforts across the commonwealth. This work includes regional and local housing needs assessments, policy generation and implementation, and communications strategies.

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Eric Mai

Senior Associate

Eric is a Senior Associate at HDAdvisors, where he specializes in policy research and outreach to gain a comprehensive understanding of affordable housing needs and opportunities.

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Maria Dougherty

Senior Associate

Maria Dougherty joined HDAdvisors in June 2022. In Fall 2022, she will have her Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP), with a focus in community-engaged design and housing and eviction policy. She is currently a part of a variety of projects, including work for HousingForward Virginia, the Piedmont Housing Alliance, and the Virginia Statewide Community Land Trust.

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Flora Valdes-Dapena

Junior Associate

As Junior Associate, Flora handles branded communications for HousingForward Virginia, including our website, social media, and email list, as well as organizing meetings, keeping records, and taking on special projects.

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Karin Sheets

Development Consultant

Karin has more than 20 years of fund development and administrative experience in the nonprofit sector.

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Our Supporters

Our work would not be possible without the generous support of our funders and partners. You can become a supporter by donating today.