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2020 Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference

November 18, 2020 November 20, 2020

Responding Boldly in a Changing World

Virginia’s largest housing event brings together housing and community development professionals from throughout the commonwealth to network and attain the tools needed to transform Virginia’s communities into thriving, vibrant and sustainable places for all! 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 as well as unique networking opportunities with colleagues from across the commonwealth.

The VAGHC planning team is committed to the safety and well-being of our attendees, speakers, exhibitors, sponsors and partners during this year’s conference. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the planning team has transitioned the conference from in-person to a complete virtual conference to ensure sure our attendees’ health and safety, and we are confident that you will find the same high-quality conference you have come to expect. We look forward to safely welcoming you from the comfort and safety of your home or office to this year’s virtual conference!

Be sure to check out these exciting sessions from HousingForward Virginia and our partners.

Wednesday, November 18th

Undocumented, Unhoused, and Unstable: Helping Virginia’s Immigrant Population

1:00 – 1:30pm

At the beginning of 2020, Virginia’s General Assembly took several steps to recognize the undocumented community that continues to be a vital part of the commonwealth’s economy and culture. But, as the undocumented immigrant population continues to grow, so do the challenges of finding quality and safe housing, with many being forced to choose below-standard housing or to double- or triple-up in units. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted these conditions and instabilities for undocumented communities who do not receive federal assistance. This session will give an overview of the housing challenges that undocumented communities face and what we can do to ensure the health and safety of this increasing population choosing to call Virginia home.

Speakers:Eric Mai, HousingForward Virginia
Nady Peralta, Legal Aid Justice Center
Organizer:Eric Mai, HousingForward Virginia

Thursday, November 19th

Identifying and Addressing Housing Challenges Before, During, and After COVID-19

1:30 – 2:30pm

Delivering affordable housing was a challenge before COVID-19 as developers and the construction industry struggled with the availability of workers, securing funding, and the time required to complete projects. COVID-19 has also brought new financial and operating challenges to nonprofit housing agencies and homeless service providers as they continue their missions, which have become even more critical in the pandemic’s wake. This session will dig into these challenges using results from recent surveys and research conducted in Northern Virginia, the Richmond region, and beyond. Panelists will also discuss potential solutions, including expanded use of off-site construction, and program virtualization, and changes in staffing and service delivery.

Speakers:Jonathan Knopf, HousingForward Virginia
Nora Daly, Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance (NVAHA)
Michelle Krocker, NVAHA (HousingForward Board member)
Ryan Colker, International Code Council
Organizer:Jonathan Knopf, HousingForward Virginia

Making it Right: How Housers Can Address Racial Inequalities and Close the Homeownership Gap

1:30 – 2:30pm

This year has laid bare the urgent need to dismantle racial disparities in our country. Inequalities in housing and homeownership—especially for our black neighbors—are some of the most dire challenges we must address. The Black homeownership rate in the U.S. is still mired exactly where it was over 50 years ago when the Fair Housing Act was enacted. This session will provide attendees with both a high-level overview and then a deeper dive into effective strategies to increase minority homeownership. Panelists will describe forward-thinking solutions that are both currently in practice and aspirational.

Speakers:Dianna Bowswer, Southside Community Development and Housing Corp.
Earlene Powell, Southside Outreach Group
Organizer:Bob Adams, HousingForward Virginia

From Obsolescence to Transcendance: Repurposing Obsolete Lands for Affordable Housing

1:30 – 2:00pm

Many of our urban communities, especially those along older transportation corridors, are littered with vacant or under-utilized spaces, including malls, vacant office buildings, motels, car dealerships, sales lots, shopping centers and the land behind them. Creative planners and developers have started redeveloping these parcels into affordable housing, mixed-use or other community amenities. This session will focus on the tools needed to start this work in your own community, examples of projects that have started this process, as well as barriers and opportunities.

Speakers:Dan Cohen, Chesterfield County
Sharon Ebert, City of Richmond
Organizer:Bob Adams, HousingForward Virginia

Turbocharging the Mobile Home: The Future of Manufactured Home Communities in 2020 and Beyond

3:00 – 4:00pm

It has been nearly five years since the affordable housing community in Virginia began rethinking mobile home parks, and communities are seeing manufactured housing as a viable affordable housing option. THear the success stories and challenges associated with implementing these new models in two Virginia communities, and gain an understanding of how to leverage factory-built housing in developing scattered infill lots.

Speakers:Chris Nicely, NextStep
Lee Householder, project:HOMES
Earl Reynolds, City of Danville
Kim Walker, City of Danville
Organizer:Jonathan Knopf, HousingForward Virginia

The Rise of Renters: Reframing Housing Tenure in Virginia

3:00 – 3:30pm

The number of renters is increasing across the commonwealth as wages have largely failed to keep up with the costs of homeownership. Studies have highlighted the vulnerability of these low-wage renters, but the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new light to the tenuous relationship between income and housing security. Without an industry-wide response to this unexpected insecurity, renters have turned to one another to reshape the industry, with tenants unions and cooperatives cropping up all over the country. With the rising number of individuals who are choosing or being forced to rent due to income stagnation, explore the movement towards cooperative models, the importance of reframing the homeowner versus renter dichotomy, and the need for new housing tenure models in Virginia. 

Speakers:Dr. Kathryn Howell, RVA Eviction Lab / VCU
Adam Ryan, New River Workers Power
Organizer:Eric Mai, HousingForward Virginia

From NIMBY to YIMBY: Reassessing Public Opinion in a Post-COVID and Post-Minneapolis World

3:30 – 4:00pm

2020 has been a year of dramatic and traumatic change and disruption. The COVID pandemic and the rise of Black Lives Matter has caused new perspectives on social norms and interaction,  as well as more widespread recognition of the damage caused by systemic racism. All of this has changed public perception on many issues, including affordable housing. This session will explore these shifts and what they mean for how we can more effectively communicate the community benefits of our work.

Speaker: Bob Adams, HousingForward Virginia 

Friday, November 20th

The High Cost of Low-Income: Meeting the Affordable Housing Needs of Low-Income Households

9:00 – 9:30am

Did you know that 81% of Virginia renters at 31-50% area median income are housing-cost burdened, and 70% of renters at or below 30% of area median income are paying more than 50% of their income on housing? The highest need and gap is in Northern Virginia, but rural areas have seen the highest growth in cost burden during the last 15 years. Learn about the challenges housing providers have had to overcome and their strategies to meet the needs of households who need affordable housing the most.

Speaker:Shelley Murphy, Wesley Housing
Organizer:Alice Tousignant, HDAdvisors

Registration will cut off on Friday, Nov. 13.


November 18, 2020
November 20, 2020


Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference
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