Housing Virginia congratulates DHCD on another successful Governor’s Housing Conference this past November. The theme “A Door to Economic Opportunity” cast a focus on the importance of housing as a major industry in our Commonwealth – one that affects every Virginia resident.
The opening plenary focused on a study underway by a coalition of universities selected by the Governor’s Housing Policy Advisory Council (HPAC). This study, conducted by faculty from four Virginia universities known as the Coalition of Housing and Economic Development Researchers, examines the linkages between housing and economic opportunity.
Housing Virginia hosted a number of sessions throughout the conference, most of which highlighted the connection between housing and other sectors:
Housing Trends in Rural Virginia: Policy Options to Address the Needs for the Next Decade
Housing Virginia, FAHE, and Rural LISC all presented on rural housing trends in Virginia, policy, and nationwide. This session not only covered Housing Virginia’s rural housing needs and gaps assessment, but important policy implications in light of the presidential election and national best practices to best serve rural communities.
(Stay tuned for our final report in early 2017)
Reducing the Family Energy Bill Equals Making Homes Affordable
Virginia’s Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP), the National Housing Trust Enterprise Preservation Corporation, and Dominion discussed how for families with limited incomes, the cost of energy can be a significant component of overall housing cost. When the utility bill can be reduced, it means housing becomes more affordable. This session explored existing efforts to reduce consumer energy bills in Virginia and looked at best practices from around the country.
(Stay tuned for an expansion of our research surrounding energy efficiency in LIHTC in 2017)
Research-Based Policy Solutions in Housing and Health
This session explored the connection between housing and health by taking a preliminary look at a Housing Virginia project underway for the Williamsburg Health Foundation that will examine the connections between housing, community design, and health outcomes in the Williamsburg region. The Green and Healthy Homes Initiative shared their model as an innovative way to address challenges surrounding housing and health.
(Stay tuned for the findings of this work in 2017)
Plenary: Challenges in Rural Housing
Rural affordable housing providers are often faced with a myriad of challenges as the needs vary widely from region to region. Rural residents experience very different social, demographic, and housing challenges than those in urban areas. This panel, including Housing Virginia, Rural LISC, and the National Rural Housing Coalition, discussed these unique challenges and opportunities at the state and national levels.
Age Waves: Demographic Landscape of the Next Decade
Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University, Lisa Sturtevant & Associates, and Housing Virginia discussed the most significant demographic trends shaping the next 10-20 years of the housing market landscape. This session covered the two big “age waves” – Baby Boomers and Millennials – and how they will affect the rental and homeownership markets in the near future.
Deconcentrating Poverty and Opportunities for the Future
The number of impoverished people in the United States remains at recession-era record levels. Concentrated poverty often results in higher crime rates, poorer mental and physical health, and lower-performing schools. This session, with speakers from the Urban Institute, Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership, and the City of Richmond Office of Community Wealth Building, addressed the pervasive effects of concentrated poverty. The session also covered best practice examples of successful efforts to deconcentrate poverty and resources to assist private and pubic sector practitioners when they address poverty issues in their communities.
(Stay tuned for Housing Virginia tools and resources surrounding the deconcentration of poverty in 2017)