2023 State Policy Priorities

VHA’s 2023 legislative agenda prioritizes strategic investments to address both the supply and demand side of the affordable housing needs of Virginia’s lowest income households.

Virginia Housing Trust Fund

Established in 2013 and supported by every administration, the Virginia Housing Trust Fund (HTF) is administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development(DHCD) in partnership with Virginia Housing (VH). The HTF uses public dollars to leverage private investment in housing for people with extremely low incomes. Since 2014, the General Assembly has appropriated $104.38M to the HTF through the competitive loan pool resulting in the creation or preservation of 10,764 affordable units.

The HTF is coordinated and targeted to our lowest income residents. Since 2014, DHCD has collaborated with Virginia Housing and the Department of Behavioral Health and Disability Services (DBHDS) to coordinate and implement strategies to address the housing needs of vulnerable populations including people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, serious mental illness and those who are chronically homeless through the creation of additional permanent supportive housing (PSH) units.

Safe, decent, affordable housing is essential for individual and family stability, yet the Commonwealth has a shortage of at least 200,000 affordable homes. Continued and increased funding is needed to make strides to meeting the housing needs of all of our neighbors, including our seniors and people with disabilities, members of our workforce, young families, and new graduates.

VHA supports an additional investment of $75M in the Virginia Housing Trust Fund (HTF) which will bring the total amount of funding to $150M for FY24. This amount will help responsibly scale up the program to more rapidly address Virginia’s shortage of nearly 300,000 affordable

Housing Needs Assessment and Housing Plan

Virginia has a shortfall of over 200,000 affordable, quality, and accessible rental homes, and currently no guiding framework to help Virginia address the shortfall. A housing needs assessment and housing plan will help Virginia plan for and take steps to meeting the growing housing affordability needs of its community members.

VHA supports Virginia conducting a housing needs assessment every 5 years and a housing plan biannually.

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Virginia Housing Stability Fund

Across the Commonwealth, more than 70% of Virginia's extremely low-income households (earning less than 30% of the area median income) are severely cost burdened, paying more than 50% of their income on housing costs and too frequently forced to choose between paying the rent, keeping the lights on, providing food for their family, and/or seeking medical care. Being an extremely low-income, cost burdened renter increases the risk of eviction, adversely impacts children's ability to perform in school, and can negatively impact parents’ mental and physical health.

VHA supports the Virginia Housing Stability Fund (VHSF) pilot which will provide long-term rental assistance to low-income households enabling them to afford housing costing no more than 30% of their income. The $90.1M budget amendment for FY24 will fund the pilot program for three years, providing rental assistance to approximately 5,000 cost burdened households in the commonwealth.

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Accessory Dwelling Units

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are residential units that exist on the same parcel as single-family homes. In order for a single-family homeowner to add an ADU, they must go through an expensive and time consuming process with the local government.

VHA supports requiring all localities to permit accessory dwelling units by-right as a way to address Virginia's affordable housing supply challenge. Fewer barriers such as special use permit processes, fees, and parking requirements, mean a greater likelihood homeowners will opt to create ADUs.

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High Needs Support Benefit

Virginia would like to take full advantage of the 2018 expansion of Medicaid by implementing the High Needs Support Benefit, a need identified by stakeholders that would provide additional support to individuals with complex health conditions who face barriers to maintaining housing and employment. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) through the Medicaid 1115 waiver demonstration, allows participating states to propose modifications to their program to better meet the needs of recipients.

Virginia proposed and was approved by CMS to administer the benefit. However, in order to fully implement the benefit, the General Assembly must allocate resources to conduct a rate study to determine how much these services will cost.

VHA supports allocating $175,000 of State General Funds to leverage a matching amount through Federal Financial Participation from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to conduct a rate study.

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The power of partnership. The VHA Partner Network is built on a simple premise: together, we can accomplish more.

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