The idea started with the Virginia Housing Partnership Fund. With initial appropriations of $20 million in 1990, the fund was intended to eventually become self-sustaining. The fund recycled proceeds from the repayment of principal and interest from loans, to provide funding to new projects. The original plan was to fund the Partnership Fund for twenty years, which at 3% annual average interest, would have generated $20 million annually upon maturity. Even though only $64 million was allocated over the first five years, the Fund revolved as planned. However, by 2003, Virginia was in the beginnings of the financial crisis. There was a decision to sell the loan portfolio and other assets of the VHPF and allocate the cash proceeds (over $40 million) into the general fund to balance the fiscal year 2003 budget. This left the statutory framework and accounting structure in place and available, but with no long-term source of funding for the program.
The Partnership fund remained in state code until 2013, when the General Assembly passed HB 2005, which amended the Virginia Housing Partnership Fund and renamed it the Virginia Housing Trust Fund. However, the legislation did not address a dedicated source of revenue. The Virginia Housing Trust Fund has received its funding from one-time budget allocations. In the biennium budget for fiscal years 2013-2014 with the help of National Mortgage Settlement funds, the General Assembly allocated $7 million to the VHTF. An additional $1 million was added during the following session from another national settlement around “robo-signing.” The biennium budget for fiscal years 2015-2016 allocated $4 million in the first year and $4 million in the second year to fund activities through the VHTF.
The proposed Governors budget for FY 16-18 was to have $10 million a year. The house proposed a budget of $4 million a year and the senate $6 million a year. During the 2016 General Assembly, the Virginia Housing Trust Fund was funded at $5.5 million per year for the next two years. Which is an increase of $1.5 million per year. This funding will help organizations around the Commonwealth develop more affordable housing and homeless service providers keep more Virginians out of homelessness.
The goal of this site and campaign is to provide information on the critical value of the VTHF and bring about awareness of its potential to meet Virginia’s most pressing housing needs. The ultimate goal is to help establish a reliable dedicated revenue source for the VHTF.