In March of 2020, the General Assembly passed H.B. 854, which mandates that the Department of Housing and Community Development and Virginia Housing carry out a study of housing policies, programs, and conditions in the Commonwealth as well as assess several specific program concepts. HousingForward Virginia is the prime contractor for this work.
DHCD and Virginia Housing will form a Stakeholder Advisory Group made up of housing experts and practitioners from across the state. This group will review the findings of the study and make recommendations for action.
The bill lays out several charges for the Stakeholder Group:
- Determine the quality and quantity of affordable and workforce housing
- Conduct a review of current programs and policies
- Develop a projection of future housing needs
- Make recommendations for the improvement of housing policy in Virginia
In addition, the study will examine the impact of the pandemic on affordable housing as well as the status and impact of racial inequity in affordable housing. Finally, the project will look specifically at several program areas: state rental assistance, utility rate reduction, property tax reduction, bond financing, and other programs that increase housing supply.
You can get involved in this statewide effort right away by taking our provider survey. The survey is your opportunity to provide detailed and meaningful feedback on any and all state-administered housing funds, policies, and programs your organization uses. We are also interested in learning how race and COVID-19 have affected the affordable housing arena. Your responses will be used to educate policymakers and influence policy changes.
In addition, we are looking for practitioners to participate in focus groups throughout January and February of 2021. These focus groups will take deeper dives into housing issues based on the results of this survey. If you are interested in helping, there is a question at the beginning of the survey where you can agree to participate, and get notified in January when meetings are planned.
The final report will be completed in the fall of 2021. Per H.B. 854’s requirements, it will include a full analysis of existing policies and programs (using knowledge gained from this survey), assessments of potential new housing programs, and a quantitative determination of the quality and quantity of affordable housing in the commonwealth.