The Virginia Housing Coalition (VHC), a NLIHC State Coalition Partner, has launched the Fund the Virginia Housing Trust Fund campaign, an initiative to secure a dedicated source of revenue for the Virginia Housing Trust Fund (VHTF).
The campaign builds on VHC’s successes in the 2015 session of the Virginia General Assembly (see Memo, 3/23/15). Despite a projected $2.4 billion revenue shortfall in the state’s budget, VHC’s Restore $10 Million for Housing campaign achieved appropriations of $8 million for the VHTF and $2 million for Virginia’s Rapid Rehousing program over the next 2 years. VHC and advocates across the state also successfully advocated for passage of legislation that directs the Virginia Housing Commission to undertake a study of potential dedicated, non-appropriated sources of revenue for VHTF. According to VHC Policy Director Zack Miller, VHC is “hoping to get a recommendation out of the Affordable Housing, Real Estate Law and Mortgages Workgroup of the Virginia Housing Commission and then the full commission coming into the 2016 session.”
As the Virginia Housing Commission studies potential revenue streams, VHC is pursuing strategies to build support for potential legislation to establish a dedicated source of revenue for the VHTF. Throughout the summer, VHC educated elected officials through meetings and tours of VHTF-funded projects. VHC also launched a website for the campaign that contains information about VHTF, its history and mechanics, recent affordable housing studies, and various fact sheets for advocates. Advocates visiting the site can endorse the campaign and share their own stories about the impact of VHTF funding.
VHC’s efforts also come amid growing interest from Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) in using affordable housing as a tool for economic development. VHC has commissioned the Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech to conduct a study on the economic impact of the first VHTF projects funded in 2013. The results will be presented to the full Housing Commission, as well as to the Counties, Cities, and Towns Committee (CCT) in the Virginia House of Delegates. Any future bill to establish a dedicated source of revenue for the VHTF will likely need to pass through the CCT prior to a full vote on the House floor.
In the coming weeks, VHC will educate the public about the Fund the Virginia Housing Trust Fund campaign during a series of regional policy forums across the state. The forums will be an opportunity for Virginia residents to learn about Virginia’s current housing needs and latest housing policy developments.
For more on the Fund the Virginia Housing Trust Fund campaign, go to: http://www.fundthevhtf.org/
To see the Regional Policy Forum Schedule go to: http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/50638/c/10316/t/0/blastContent.jsp?email_blast_KEY=1328433
For more information contact Zack Miller, VHC Policy Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org