Governor McAuliffe Signs Executive Order Strengthening Virginia’s Housing Policy
~Governor makes announcement at the Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference~
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 the Secretary 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:
- Prioritize the most urgent areas of housing and homeless program needs.
- Identify the links between housing and economic and community development.
- Establish working groups as determined by the Secretary of Commerce and Trade and invite stakeholder participation to provide input regarding housing and related issues.
- Conduct a review of programs and policies in coordination with the activities of state-level housing and economic development policy-setting efforts.
- Offer advice and recommendations for policies that address:
- Homelessness, particularly among veterans, young adults, and children;
- Rapid re-housing strategies;
- Housing opportunities for individuals with disabilities and other categories of special needs;
- Appropriate housing options for an aging demographic;
- 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;
- 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,
- 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 until rescinded 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
Levar M. Stoney, Secretary of the Commonwealth