Monthly Archives: March 2015

Virginia Housing Policy Advisory Council Holds First Meeting

Virginia’s Housing Policy Advisory Council held its first meeting on Wednesday to address important housing issues facing the Commonwealth. Created as a result of Governor McAuliffe’s Executive Order 32, “Advancing Virginia’s Housing Policy,” the council is chaired by Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones and is tasked with developing housing policy initiatives aimed at addressing Virginia’s critical housing needs.

“One of my administration’s top priorities is to expand access to quality affordable housing in Virginia,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Strengthening our Commonwealth’s housing policy will help us build a new Virginia economy by creating jobs and improving the quality of life of all Virginians.”

The first meeting featured various presentations focused on urban and rural revitalization issues, affordable housing, the housing needs of seniors and people with disabilities and homelessness, particularly veteran homelessness. Staff from various state agencies provided a comprehensive overview of housing needs throughout the Commonwealth.

“Housing is both a strategic economic growth sector and a platform for accomplishing many of the administration’s priorities,” added Secretary Jones. “The convening of this council is a great opportunity for us to benefit from the advice and counsel of great talent from around the Commonwealth to make sure we are excellent in this very important area.”

The housing policy will focus on key areas of housing and interlink housing and community and economic development. Economic conditions drive the need and demand for affordable and adequate housing, and the council will create a new policy to address this in all communities across the Commonwealth.

“One of the major topics for discussion among the council was the need for data supporting the linkages between economic development and housing,” said Susan Dewey, Executive Director of the Virginia Housing Development Authority.  “The council is very interested in looking at the impact that housing currently has on Virginia’s economy and opportunities for the future.”

“Housing is a key component of every community’s economic development strategy,” said Bill Shelton, Director of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. “Unaddressed housing needs stifle economic growth and impede community revitalization in communities throughout Virginia.”

Virginia recognizes the interrelationship between housing and economic revitalization, and the members of the Virginia Housing Policy Advisory Council represent a broad geographic area. The council is comprised of diverse professionals in various sectors of economic development and housing.

Members of the Virginia Housing Policy Advisory Council

Maurice A. Jones, Chair — Secretary of Commerce and Trade

Susan F. Dewey, Ex Officio Member — Director, Virginia Housing Development Authority

William C. Shelton, Ex Officio Member — Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development

Pamela Kestner, Ex Officio Member —Special Advisor on Families, Children and Poverty, Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Resources 

Yvonne Allmond (Norfolk) — Senior Vice President, Towne Bank; former Board Member, Virginia Housing Development Authority Board

Janaka Casper (Christiansburg) — President and CEO, Community Housing Partners (CHP)

Pablo Cuevas, Shenandoah Valley— Current Chairman, Rockingham County Board of Supervisors; former Board Member, Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development and Virginia Housing Development Authority Board

Mary Dykstra (Roanoke) —Director of Business Development, MKB, REALTORS

Jay Fisette (Arlington) — Current Chairman, Arlington County Board of Supervisors; former President, Virginia Municipal League; former Board Member, Virginia Housing Development Authority

James Hyland (Northern Virginia) — Group President, The Pennsylvania Avenue Group; Board Member, Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development and Virginia Housing Development Authority Board

Hugh Keogh (Richmond) — Former Director, Virginia Department of Economic Development; former President, Virginia Chamber of Commerce

Laura Lafayette (Richmond) — CEO, Richmond Association of Realtors; gubernatorial appointee, Virginia Housing Commission; Vice-Chair, Better Housing Coalition and Housing Virginia

John Napolitano (Virginia Beach) — President, Home Builders Association of Virginia; Senior Vice President, Napolitano Homes in Virginia Beach

Richard Owen —Senior Vice President of Residential Mortgage, Middleburg Bank; formerly of Virginia Bankers Association/Virginia Mortgage Lenders Association

Earl Reynolds (Danville) —Director of Community Development, City of Danville; former Director of Housing and Community Development, Total Action for Progress; former City Manager, City of Martinsville

Wanda Y. Stevens (Staunton) — Executive Director, Staunton Redevelopment and Housing Authority; Past President, Virginia Association of Housing and Community Development Officials

Kathy Vesley-Massey (Northern Neck/Middle Peninsula) — President and CEO, Bay Aging

Jody Wagner (Virginia Beach) — Former Virginia State Treasurer and Virginia Secretary of Finance, former ex-officio Board Member of VHDA

For more information about the Virginia Housing Policy Advisory Council, including its membership and the work of the council, visit


Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development announces Virginia Main Street Milestone Achievement Awards

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development announced today the Virginia Main Street Program Milestone Achievement Awards to designated Virginia Main Street communities. The awards were presented at a dinner in Richmond that also celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Virginia program.

“The Virginia Main Street program is a vital part of building a new Virginia economy,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “The work throughout the 25 Virginia Main Street communities and the many affiliates has created sustainable and vibrant downtowns that make Virginia communities a great place to live, work, play and do business.”

Main Street communities and organizations were recognized for achieving notable milestones in volunteer contribution, private investment and building rehabilitation. Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones served as keynote speaker for the event.

“In the last five years, designated Main Street communities have sparked more than $148 million in private investment in their districts,” said Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development Director Bill Shelton. “As a result, last year, there was a net collective gain of 607 jobs across the 25 Main Street downtown districts.”

Below is a list of award recipients:

Volunteerism Milestone Achievement Awards
1,000 Volunteer Hours
Ashland Main Street Association
Fredericksburg Virginia Main Street Inc.
Hopewell Downtown Partnership

5,000 Volunteer Hours
Believe in Bristol

10,000 Volunteer Hours
Farmville Downtown Partnership

20,000 Volunteer Hours
Altavista On Track

35,000 Volunteer Hours
Culpeper Renaissance Inc.
Martinsville Uptown Revitalization Association

50,000 Volunteer Hours
The Partnership for Warrenton Foundation

55,000 Volunteer Hours
Downtown Franklin Association

60,000 Volunteer Hours
Historic Manassas Inc.

90,000 Volunteer Hours
Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance

100,000 Volunteer Hours
Lynch’s Landing Foundation

110,000 Volunteer Hours
Staunton Downtown Development Association

Private Investment Milestone Achievement Awards
$1 Million in Private Investment
Believe in Bristol and the city of Bristol
Downtown Farmville and the town of Farmville

$25 Million in Private Investment
Martinsville Uptown Revitalization Association and the city of Martinsville

$35 Million in Private Investment
Destination Downtown South Boston and the town of South Boston
The Partnership for Warrenton Foundation and the town of Warrenton

$60 Million in Private Investment
Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance and the city of Harrisonburg

$120 Million in Private Investment
Lynch’s Landing Foundation and the city of Lynchburg
Winchester Old Town Development Board and the city of Winchester

Building Improvement Milestone Achievement Awards
250 Building Projects
Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance and the city of Harrisonburg

500 Building Projects
Bedford Main Street and the town of Bedford
Winchester Old Town Development Board and the city of Winchester

The Virginia Main Street program, managed by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, provides assistance and training to help communities increase the economic vitality of their downtown commercial districts. Virginia Main Street uses the National Main Street model to help communities revitalize their downtowns by focusing on their unique heritage and attributes. The program helps communities implement a comprehensive revitalization strategy that creates economic growth and pride in downtowns.

Governor McAuliffe announces $226,000 in Building Entrepreneurial Economies funding

Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced $226,000 in Building Entrepreneurial Economies (BEE) awards for 12 projects in the Commonwealth. The BEE program provides funding to nonprofits and local governments to assist with the development of local and regional entrepreneurial economies that foster job creation and expansion by micro- and small businesses.

“Creating a place for entrepreneurs to start and grow a business is a major component of creating a new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Through this program, we are funding key projects that are building and expanding strong entrepreneurial ecosystems all across the Commonwealth and creating the environment our small businesses need to succeed.”

BEE offers three types of grants including innovation, implementation and planning. The innovation grants are awards of up to $45,000 for projects that develop and test an innovative approach to service delivery and micro-business financing not currently used in Virginia. The implementation grants are awards of up to $25,000 for the projects that expand geographic coverage for micro-business support services or implement innovative ideas that have already been funded and field tested through the BEE innovation grant. Planning grants are awards of up to $7,500 to research, develop and plan for a potential project.

“In addition to creating the right atmosphere for small and micro-businesses to thrive, these grants will provide the tools and techniques that support place-based entrepreneurship,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.  “These businesses are so important for the economic health of our communities.”

Eighteen applications totaling approximately $400,000 in funding were received. Applications were due on December 1, 2014 and competitively evaluated, scored and ranked based on criteria including organizational and personnel capacity, reasonable goals, alignment with a local or regional community’s vision for economic and community development, and various other items.

The following projects were awarded funding through the 2015 Building Entrepreneurial Economies program:


BEE Innovation Grants

Applicant Project Name Award Offer
Northern Virginia Family Service Lending Circles      $ 45,000
Staunton Creative Community Fund Local Investing Program      $ 45,000
Total:  $ 90,000


BEE Implementation Grants

Applicant Project Name Award Offer
Floyd County Economic Development Authority Floyd Innovation Center Business Challenge      $ 16,000
Community Investment Collaborative (CIC) Louisa-Fluvanna Entrepreneur Workshop      $ 25,000
Waynesboro Economic Development Waynesboro Innovation and Strategic Entrepreneurship Event      $ 25,000
RVA Works Financial Innovation Fund      $ 25,000
Total:  $ 91,000


BEE Planning Grants

Applicant Project Name Award Offer
Culpeper Renaissance Inc. (CRI) Light Technology Market Alignment Plan      $ 7,500
Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission Regional Outdoor Recreation Business Development Strategies      $ 7,500
Blue Ridge Crossroads Economic Development Authority Professional Development for the Business Owner      $ 7,500
Rappahannock Goodwill Entrepreneurship Information Clinics      $ 7,500
City of Galax Micro-lending Program      $ 7,500
People Inc. Youth Entrepreneurship Training Program      $ 7,500
Total: $ 45,000


Governor McAuliffe Announces More Than $2 Million In Industrial Revitalization Funds

Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced $2.3 million in Industrial Revitalization Fund (IRF) awards for the cities of Petersburg, Roanoke and Waynesboro, as well as the town of Ashland. The IRF program provides gap financing for construction projects aligned with local and regional economic development strategies, primarily in distressed communities.

“In order to build a new Virginia economy, the Commonwealth needs strong and vital infrastructure,” said Governor McAuliffe. “By revitalizing these dilapidated structures, we are generating new economic development opportunities for these communities and bringing these once-empty structures back to life.”

Projects were reviewed and evaluated competitively, with an emphasis on those with a high level of blight, identification of impediments to economic development efforts, alignment with regional or local strategies, availability of matching resources, the level of community distress where the property is located and an identified and feasible end use.

The maximum award is $600,000 per project. Nine applications totaling more than $5.5 million in funding were received. The funds are intended to leverage local and private resources to achieve market-driven redevelopment of these derelict structures, creating catalysts for long-term employment opportunities and on-going physical and economic revitalization.

“By leveraging public and private resources, we are able to create support for the project and provide the necessary funding to complete the revitalization effort,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “The $2.3 million from the IRF program will spur nearly $11 million in total development for the four projects.”

The following projects were awarded funding through the 2015 Industrial Revitalization Fund program:


Locality Project Name Award Offer
City of Petersburg Petersburg Ice and Coal Building      $ 600,000
City of Roanoke Gill Memorial Technology Accelerator      $ 600,000
City of Waynesboro Virginia Metalcrafters Redevelopment      $ 600,000
Town of Ashland Ashland Theatre Redevelopment      $ 500,000

Governor McAuliffe Announces Development of Resiliency Plan for Coastal Communities

Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Virginia is developing a resiliency plan for its coastal communities.

“Our coastal communities are already feeling the effects of environmental challenges such as sea level rise, recurrent flooding and other extreme weather events,” said Governor McAuliffe. “The Commonwealth has identified Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore as the target areas for this resiliency plan that will unite the region, build water management solutions, strengthen vulnerable neighborhoods and improve economic vitality.”

The Commonwealth is currently applying for assistance through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the National Disaster Resilience Competition to support innovative resilience projects at the local level. The competition will also benefit communities statewide in efforts to adopt policy changes and activities that plan for the impacts of extreme weather and climate change.

The Governor’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission, established by Executive Order, is chaired by the Secretaries of Natural Resources and Public Safety and Homeland Security.

“Through this plan and assistance, communities will be better positioned to recover from prior disasters and improve their ability to withstand and recover more quickly from future disasters and hazards,” said Virginia’s Chief Resilience Officer and Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran.

Participation in the effort is broad based, bringing together multiple state and federal agencies, local governments, institutions of higher education, community groups and private sector partners. The Commonwealth is seeking input from the public for the resiliency plan proposal and will hold a public hearing on March 10, 2015, at 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Ted Constant Center, located at 4320 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk, Virginia. Copies of the draft proposal will be available and comments will be heard at this forum.

“Collaboration in development of this plan will create a stronger framework that will encompass all aspects of communities affected by these types of extreme weather and climate change,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward. “We look forward to hearing from the public on this issue and receiving input from the various stakeholders in Virginia’s coastal communities.”

For more information on the resiliency plan, visit