About

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

Laura Dillard Lafayette, Chair

CEO, Richmond Association of REALTORS® / Central Virginia MLS Co-op

Laura Lafayette is the Chief Executive Officer of the Richmond Association of REALTORS® and the Central Virginia Regional Multiple Listing Service—two organizations that serve the over 4,700 REALTORS® in the Central Virginia area. In addition, she serves as the Executive Director of the Partnership for Housing Affordability, a non-profit dedicated to ensuring that an adequate and diverse supply of affordable housing is a public policy priority in central Virginia.

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Kit Hale, Immediate Past Chair

General Manager & Managing Broker, MKB REALTORS®

MKB REALTORS® is a group of 130 agent firms specializing primarily in residential real estate sales. He has been in the real estate business since 1991. Kit served as President of the Virginia Association of REALTORS® in 2006 and received the Virginia Association of REALTORS®’ REALTOR® of the Year in 2007. That same year Kit also received the Virginia Housing Coalition Outstanding Achievement Award. Kit currently serves on the National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors, the Virginia Housing Board of Commissioners, as well as with many other REALTOR® organizations at the local, state, and national level.

Vaughn Poller, Vice Chair

Housing Director, 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.

Nathalia Artus, Secretary

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.

Andrew K. Ryan, Treasurer

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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Ryan Ammann

Vice President of CRA/Community Development, BB&T (now Truist)

Ryan leads BB&T’s national community development outreach initiatives and manages regional and national community economic development relationships for BB&T. Ryan began with BB&T through the Leadership Development Program in 2006. During his career with BB&T, Ryan has worked in community economic development in Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, and West Virginia.

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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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Heather Mullins Crislip

President & CEO, Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia

Heather holds a BA in Economics and Political Science from the University of Mary Washington and a JD from the University of Connecticut School of Law. While living in New Haven, Connecticut, she directed the region’s welfare to work one-stop center and served as Assistant to the Mayor for Policy Analysis where she worked on workforce development and homeownership issues.

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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.

Basil Gooden

Community Development Consultant, Dominion Energy

Basil is a community development consultant with Dominion Energy. His focus is on outreach to rural with respect to economic and community development needs. He previously served as Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry during the McAuliffe administration. The Secretariat oversees and provides policy guidance to three agencies—the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), the Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF), and the Virginia Racing Commission (VRC).

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Erik Johnston

Director, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development

Erik is responsible for the management and policy oversight of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, which provides community development and housing program support to communities across the Commonwealth. The Department also administers statewide building codes. Erik works closely with the Secretary of Commerce and Trade and with the Governor to advise on community development, economic development, affordable housing, and state uniform building code issues.

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Michelle Krocker

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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Steve Lawson

President, The Lawson Companies

Steve is a third-generation builder and developer who in 1993 joined the Lawson Companies, a single and multi-family builder, developer, and manager based in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. For more than thirty-five years, the company has been active in the financing, development, and management of single and multi-family housing, serving affordable and luxury clients with consistently excellent service and value. As President of The Lawson Companies, Steve oversees a portfolio of five thousand apartments, more than forty limited partnerships, and $15 million in annual construction and development.

Overton McGehee

Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity Virginia

Habitat for Humanity of Virginia is a support organization for the 51 Habitat affiliates in Virginia. Habitat Virginia participates in a number of partnerships with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, Virginia Housing, the National Community Stabilization Trust, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, the Virginia Housing Coalition and other non-profits, private foundations and government entities. From 1997 to 2008, he served as executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville, which develops mixed income communities and grew to have the second largest land inventory among U.S. Habitat affiliates.

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.

Lisa Porter

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).

Michelle Winters

Executive Director, Alliance for Housing Solutions

Michelle Winters is Executive Director of the Alliance for Housing Solutions, a nonprofit organization that is working to increase the supply of affordable housing in Arlington and Northern Virginia through public education, policy development, advocacy and innovation. Prior to joining AHS, Michelle worked for two decades at the national level on housing finance, policy, and capacity building initiatives, most recently as Senior Visiting Fellow for Housing at the Urban Land Institute.

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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

Bob Adams

Executive Director

Bob Adams has a wide, diverse expertise in both housing finance and public policy. In addition to serving as Executive Director of HousingForward Virginia, he is also Senior Advisor of HDAdvisors, which he founded in 2006.

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Erica Sims

Senior Programs Associate

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

Senior Research Associate

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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Julia MacNelly

Projects Associate

Julia MacNelly came to HDAdvisors as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the Maggie Walker CLT and stayed on as Project Manager. She uses outreach, troubleshooting, and research to develop best practices for policies and processes.

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Eric Mai

Research Associate

Eric is a Policy Specialist 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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Flora Valdes-Dapena

Administrative Associate

As Administrative Associate, Flora keeps up communications for HousingForward Virginia, including websites and email lists, organizes meetings, keeps records, and takes 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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Whitney Brown

VCU L. Douglas Wilder School Fellow

Whitney Brown, B.S. is a first-year graduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) pursuing her Masters of Public Administration. She is a Richmond, VA native who holds a Bachelors in Science (Legal Studies, Government Services, and Public Policy option) from The Pennsylvania State University (University Park).

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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.