Monthly Archives: November 2014

Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development announces more than $129,000 in Virginia Main Street grants

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development announced $129,400 in Virginia Main Street funding for six projects in Virginia. The grants include Downtown Investment Grants (DIG) and Financial Feasibility Grants.

“Virginia Main Street is working throughout the state to make our communities better places to live, visit and do business,” said DHCD Director Bill Shelton. “We look for projects that clearly align with the community’s vision and desire to draw additional private investment into these downtown districts.”

Through the Downtown Investment Grants (DIG), $54,400 will be awarded to Main Street organizations in the designated communities of towns of Abingdon, Altavista and South Boston. These grants are available to designated Main Street organizations to accelerate the economic revitalization of their downtown districts by helping implement innovative strategies, plans and programs that create an environment for increased, accelerated private investment.

A total of $75,000 in Financial Feasibility Grants will be awarded to the Main Street organizations in the towns of Ashland, Farmville and St. Paul. These grants are intended to assist owners of “white elephant” buildings identify their highest and best use and fund development of preliminary engineering reports, preliminary architecture reports, market demand studies and gap-financing research.  These grants often lead to more prompt redevelopment and leverage private investment.

In 1985, the Department of Housing and Community Development adopted the Main Street program for Virginia to help prevent downtown districts across the commonwealth from economic decline and possible demolition.  This unique program works to re-energize economic development of downtown communities while utilizing their cultural assets and character.  This is further accomplished by pooling the resources of their local civic and business leaders who are determined to bring their Main Street communities back to life.

The innovative Four-Point Approach © program uses design, promotion, economic restructuring and organization to reach their goal to help localities build better communities.  Virginia Main Street works with 25 designated communities throughout Virginia. Through the communities it serves, the Virginia Main Street Program has generated more than $716 million dollars in private investments and also created 15,621 jobs.

 

2014 Virginia Main Street Grant Awards:

Organization Project Name Award
Ashland Main Street Ashland Theatre Feasibility Grant $ 25,000
Downtown Farmville Third and Main Feasibility Grant $ 35,000
St. Paul Main Street 16549 Russell Street Feasibility Grant $ 15,000
Abingdon Main Street Abingdon Main Street Public Art Trail $ 14,400
Altavista on Track Pop-Up Altavista $ 15,000
Destination Downtown South Boston South Boston Shops Booster $ 25,000
Total  $   129,400 
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Governor McAuliffe Announces $300,000 Local Innovation Grant

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today $300,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Local Innovation funding through Mecklenburg County for the Virginia’s Growth Alliance, which is a regional collaboration made up of 10 counties and one city in the Southern Virginia region. The grant will be used to develop several new programs for youth, new businesses and established businesses throughout the region to spur small business development and create jobs.

“Helping the Commonwealth’s existing and future business owners find ways to succeed is an important piece of building a new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Programs like the Community Development Block Grant invest in the success of our communities and encourage business growth throughout Southern Virginia.”

This project will offer several different educational, mentoring and monetary programs including a pilot youth educational program involving both online and classroom education, a six-week “digital high touch” course for new entrepreneurs, a startup principles program for existing businesses, a microenterprise lending program funding business start-up or expansion, and a Peer2Peer XChange mentoring program to help develop network for new business owners.

The Virginia Growth Alliance is comprised of Mecklenburg County, Amelia County, Brunswick County, Buckingham County, Charlotte County, Cumberland County, Greensville County, Lunenburg County, Nottoway County, Prince Edward County and the City of Emporia.

“Entrepreneurial development is an indispensable component of economic growth and community development,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “We look forward to seeing the creativity and release of the entrepreneurial spirit throughout this region, and we hope this is a launch pad for these communities and businesses.”

Since 1982, the federally-funded CDBG program has been administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and Virginia receives up to $17 million annually for this program. The CDBG program is a flexible tool for community improvement in Virginia and can address a wide range of needs, from infrastructure for new or expanding industries, new or improved water and sewer systems in rural areas, rehabilitation of housing in declining neighborhoods, revitalization of commercial districts, support to small businesses and support of facilities for a variety of needed critical community services.  Only eligible units of local government may apply for funding.

2014 CDBG Local Innovation Program:

Locality Project Name CDBG Award
Mecklenburg County

Project area to also include:

Amelia County, Brunswick County, Buckingham County, Charlotte County, Cumberland County, Greensville County, Lunenburg County, Nottoway County, Prince Edward County and the City of Emporia

VGA Small Business/Microenterprise Assistance Program $300,000

 

Governor McAuliffe Signs Executive Order Strengthening Virginia’s Housing Policy

While speaking today at the Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference, Governor Terry McAuliffe issued Executive Order 32 to advance critical components of Virginia’s housing policy agenda. The Executive Order will build upon the Commonwealth’s ongoing efforts to reduce homelessness, implement Virginia’s Olmstead Community Integration Plan and ensure that housing is a key contributor to Virginia’s ongoing economic recovery.

“Expanding access to quality affordable housing is at the very foundation of my administration’s efforts to build a new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Strengthening our Commonwealth’s housing policy will create jobs, grow our economy and help improve the quality of life of Virginians all over our state.”

Executive Order 32 emphasizes community development investments that will further revitalize urban and rural communities throughout Virginia. The Executive Order also seeks to better address homelessness throughout Virginia and achieve the goal of ending veterans’ homelessness by the end of 2015. In addition, through the implementation of Virginia’s Olmstead Community Integration Plan, the Executive Order seeks to meet the terms of Virginia’s Settlement Agreement and expand community living opportunities for people with disabilities.

“Affordable and sound housing is a critical component of growing our economy and making life better for Virginia families,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “Smart housing policy creates jobs and encourages locally-based businesses and industries, which creates healthy and successful communities.”

Following the Governor’s announcement, the 2014 Virginia Housing Awards were given to several organizations and government entities throughout the state. The awards recognize outstanding and innovative efforts in crafting effective solutions for the Commonwealth’s complex array of housing needs. The following were the winners of the 2014 awards:

Best Housing Development

Arlington County and the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing

Project: Arlington Mill Residences

Best Housing Program or Service

Pulaski County and the Town of Pulaski
Project: Pulaski Tornado Recovery Project

Best Housing Preservation/Revitalization Effort

James City County

Project: Forest Heights Neighborhood Improvement Project

Best Affordable Housing Energy Conservation Effort

Better Housing Coalition, Richmond
Project: Somanath Senior Apartments at Beckstoffer’s

Best In My Backyard “IMBY”
Arlington County and the Pike Planning Plenary Group
Project: Columbia Pike Planning Initiative

The Governor’s Housing Conference is Virginia’s largest and most comprehensive affordable housing event. The three-day event features workshops and sessions designed to help public and private sector representatives develop effective housing solutions in Virginia. Nearly 800 affordable housing advocates, providers and policy makers gather each year at the conference.

The text of Executive Order Number 32 is below:

 

 

NUMBER THIRTY TWO (2014) 

ADVANCING VIRGINIA’S HOUSING POLICY

Importance of the Issue

The sustained economic and social vitality of communities throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia depends upon the quality, availability, and affordability of housing. Housing is, and will remain, a key policy priority with far-reaching economic and social consequences. Successfully addressing homelessness, particularly among veterans and youth, requires a continued commitment of energy and resources. Advancing progress in special needs housing is also an imperative to ensure that individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to live in appropriate, fully integrated settings within communities rather than institutional facilities. Moreover, the housing industry is a major direct and indirect contributor to the growth of the state’s economy.

The Commonwealth must build upon the foundation established by public and private constituencies to address homelessness, while identifying several new priority areas in which progress is needed and attainable. The availability of affordable housing is a critical component not only for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, but also for a growing workforce. It is essential to coordinate housing and economic development investments.

Accordingly, by virtue of the power vested in me as Governor under Article V of the Constitution of Virginia and under the laws of the Commonwealth, and subject to my continuing and ultimate authority and responsibility to act in such matters, I hereby direct theSecretary of Commerce and Trade, with the assistance of the Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Executive Director of the Virginia Housing Development Authority, and a representative of the Secretary of Health and Human Resources to identify and implement actions to enable quality, affordable housing, which will strengthen families and communities and foster economic growth.

Policy Review Initiatives

In developing Virginia’s current housing policy, prior housing policy initiatives will be reviewed in addition to the following measures:

  1. Prioritize the most urgent areas of housing and homeless program needs.
  2. Identify the links between housing and economic and community development.
  3. Establish working groups as determined by the Secretary of Commerce and Trade and invite stakeholder participation to provide input regarding housing and related issues.
  4. Conduct a review of programs and policies in coordination with the activities of state-level housing and economic development policy-setting efforts.
  5. Offer advice and recommendations for policies that address:
    1. Homelessness, particularly among veterans, young adults, and children;
    2. Rapid re-housing strategies;
    3. Housing opportunities for individuals with disabilities and other categories of special needs;
    4. Appropriate housing options for an aging demographic;
    5. Economic and community development strategies integrated with housing initiatives for urban and rural revitalization, including adaptive reuse, mixed-use development and mixed-income housing, and the preservation of existing affordable housing;
    6. Cross-Secretariat and agency collaboration and identification of resources to assist individuals receiving supportive services within a community, as appropriate, rather than in institutional settings; and,
    7. Affordable housing that meets the needs of working Virginians in areas where high housing costs impede economic development, productivity, and the quality of life.

Staffing and Funding

Staffing will be furnished by the Office of the Secretary of Commerce and Trade and the Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Department of Housing and Community Development, Virginia Housing Development Authority, and other agencies and offices as needed. Stakeholder participants in the review shall serve without compensation.

Effective Date of the Executive Order

This Executive Order shall be effective upon its signing and shall remain in force and effect untilrescinded by further executive order.

Given under my hand and under the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia, this 30th day of October, 2014.

 

Terence R. McAuliffe, Governor

Attest:               _______________________________________

Levar M. Stoney, Secretary of the Commonwealth