This news release is from the previous Governor's administration.
For Immediate Release: March 20, 2015
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Brian Coy, 804-225-4260, | Virginia Housing Development Authority: Brian Matt, (804) 343-5520, | Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development: Amanda Pearson, (804) 371-7006,

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