Recent News

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09.28.2020
Funding will provide housing stability, assist small businesses with rent and mortgage payments, costs incurred to safely reopen RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced more than $1.7 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) for three projects in James City and York counties and the city of Williamsburg that will assist local governments and community partners in meeting the needs of Virginia families and small businesses impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “The Peninsula is among the areas of our Commonwealth hardest hit by the financial impacts of this pandemic, in part because of the tourism-driven economies that they rely on every year,” said Governor Northam. “By directing CDBG funding towards these projects, we will ensure more Virginians can stay in their homes and help businesses can keep their lights on as we weather this public health crisis.”  Since 1982, the federally funded CDBG program has been administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Virginia receives funding annually to distribute to small cities, towns, and counties, and funding is allocated among local government applicants through an open submission application process using objective scoring criteria developed in consultation with eligible localities. Large cities and counties receive a direct allocation of CDBG resources from the federal government, so the state-administered funds must focus on smaller and more rural regions of the Commonwealth. This year, more than $20.4 million has been distributed to communities across Virginia through the CDBG program. DHCD reallocated existing CDBG funding to assist with COVID-19 response and recovery activities. Funding can be used for: Construction or rehab of structures for shelters Testing or equipment manufacturing Training programs for healthcare workers or service industry jobs transitioning to food or pharmaceutical delivery systems Acquisition costs for telework or telemedicine services Job creation or business development for manufacturing of COVID-related materials Business assistance for job training or re-tooling business services to reopen and adapt in a new environment Small business recovery funds for rent and mortgage assistance Personal protective equipment, sanitization, dining equipment, and barrier devices to meet social distancing requirements “Access to this type of grant funding is more important than ever for many of Virginia’s communities right now,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “This realignment of funds is an innovative approach to addressing the needs of many Virginians, and we will continue to move Virginia forward.” The following projects will receive CDBG funding: Housing Assistance Program $348,104 James City County This project will provide financial assistance and ongoing housing counseling with support services to eligible individuals, including those that have recently become unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The tourism industry has been heavily impacted by business closures, and James City County has seen a large increase in unemployment, furloughed employees, and a decline in seasonal hires. The funding will target housing and financial stabilization through rent and/or utility payments, as well as ongoing housing and financial counseling for 54 households that have been directly impacted by COVID-19. Emergency Housing and Food Assistance for Homeless and Low- to Moderate-Income Individuals $165,203 City of Williamsburg The city of Williamsburg has partnered with Colonial Williamsburg and a local hotel to provide lodging and isolation space for 50 individuals experiencing homelessness. Additionally, the city will support approximately 75 households with rental assistance and provide approximately 1,200 bags of fresh produce and prepared meals to families. Lower Peninsula Business Assistance Program $1,230,000 York County York County and the cities of Poquoson and Williamsburg will utilize CDBG funds to assist more than 200 Lower Peninsula businesses with the costs associated with reopening safely, many of which are tourism or retail and have remained closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. York County will be the lead applicant and administer this business recovery grant in partnership with both cities. Businesses can receive up to $5,000 for rent relief and equipment purchases to help businesses re-open safely and in accordance with state procedures. This region is home to many hotels, restaurants, and service and entertainment businesses typically supported by the many tourism attractions that have had their normal operations disrupted by the pandemic.

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09.28.2020
Funding will help small businesses and community partners with rent relief, equipment purchases RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced more than $8.4 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) for 14 projects that will help rural communities across Virginia respond to recover from the public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.  “Our administration remains committed to investing in rural communities during this unprecedented health crisis and as we work to rebuild Virginia’s economy,” said Governor Northam. “This funding will go a long way to address the immediate needs of Virginia families and provide relief to small businesses, so they are better prepared for economic growth despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic.” Since 1982, the federally funded CDBG program has been administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Virginia receives funding annually to distribute to small cities, towns, and counties, and funding is allocated among local government applicants through an open submission application process using objective scoring criteria developed in consultation with eligible localities. Large cities and counties receive direct allocation of CDBG resources from the federal government, so the state administered funds must focus on smaller and more rural regions of the state. This year, more than $20.4 million has been distributed to communities across Virginia through the CDBG program. DHCD reallocated existing CDBG funding to assist with COVID-19 response and recovery activities. Funding can be used for:  Construction or rehab of structures for shelters Testing or equipment manufacturing Training programs for healthcare workers or service industry jobs transitioning to food or pharmaceutical delivery systems Acquisition costs for telework or telemedicine services Job creation or business development for manufacturing of COVID-related materials Business assistance for job training or re-tooling business services to reopen and adapt in a new environment Small business recovery funds for rent/mortgage assistance Personal protective equipment, sanitization, dining equipment, and barrier devices to meet social distancing requirements “Virginia continues to take an innovative approach in providing resources to assist households and businesses throughout the Commonwealth as they navigate this pandemic,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “From housing to business assistance, this CDBG funding will create healthy and safe ways for Virginians to move forward with recovery efforts.” The following projects will receive CDBG funding: Small Business Recovery Assistance $1,600,000 Alleghany County Alleghany County, along with the city of Covington and the towns of Clifton Forge and Iron Gate, will utilize CDBG funds to assist small businesses in the Alleghany Highlands region with a small business recovery assistance program. The localities will allow up to $5,000 per business to reimburse the costs incurred to reopen the business in accordance with state guidelines, as well as provide up to $8,400 in commercial rent relief for affected businesses. CDBG funding will assist approximately 150 businesses in the area, many of which are small retailers or tourism-related businesses that have remained closed during the pandemic. Alleghany County will be the lead applicant and administer the business recovery grant in partnership with Clifton Forge and Iron Gate. Amherst County Urgent Need $569,650 Amherst County A local Amherst County business, Swissomation, has been contracted by General Motors to increase production of components for ventilators in the midst of the pandemic. The CDBG funding will help with the purchase of specialty equipment as it expands business operations to meet this crucial need for the nation. Swissomation specializes in micromachining small parts, usually smaller than the size of a dime, with extreme accuracy. Small Business Recovery Assistance $550,000 Amherst County Amherst County will utilize CDBG funding to bolster the county’s small business support program and assist at least 50 businesses. The county previously provided local relief funds to pay rent for small businesses through a grant program administered by the Amherst Economic Development Authority, and these funds were quickly expended, with many additional businesses identified in need of support. The CDBG funding will provide rent relief and equipment purchases that allow the businesses to reopen safely and in accordance with state guidelines. The county is partnering with the Small Business Development Center to offer support services for e-commerce orientation and training, technology training, and specific assessments for each business to help them strengthen their online presence.  Brunswick County Small Business Recovery Assistance $520,000 Brunswick County Brunswick County will provide recovery assistance to small businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses will be able to apply for up to $5,000 for retooling and technology activities and up to $10,000 for three to six months of rent and mortgage relief. Brunswick County will work with its local partners to assist at least 40 businesses. Small Business Recovery Assistance $850,000 Town of Culpeper The town of Culpeper will support businesses throughout Culpeper County with a small business recovery assistance program. Approximately 370 businesses were required to shut down during COVID-19, and many others reduced hours or staff in accordance with state and national guidance. The town of Culpeper in partnership with the Community Investment Collaborative will provide business support for at least 100 businesses, with at least 32 businesses being small, women- or minority-owned. This program will offer rent relief, provide funds for equipment purchases that will allow businesses to reopen safely and in accordance with state guidelines. Mecklenburg County Small Business Recovery Assistance $520,000 Mecklenburg County Mecklenburg County will assist at least 40 businesses that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses will be able to apply for up to $5,000 for retooling and technology activities and up to $10,000 for three to six months of rent and mortgage relief. Millstone Kitchen Food Program $126,586 Montgomery County Montgomery County, in partnership the local nonprofit organization Live Work Eat Gather, will utilize the Millstone Kitchen to bolster and expand meal delivery services.. This program will organize local caterers operating out of the Millstone Kitchen, a commercial, shared-use kitchen that is a part of the Old School at Prices Fork, to prepare and deliver at least 600 meals per week to six community-based organizations for six months. CDBG funding will provide a managing director for this operation, reliable contract work for caterers, and the delivery of meals to vulnerable populations in the area. LENOWISCO Regional Small Business Recovery Assistance $1,700,000 City of Norton The city of Norton andLee, Scott, and Wise counties will partner to support and assist the region’s small business community that was adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses will be awarded up to $15,000, which can go toward rent relief or costs incurred to reopen in accordance with state guidelines. Small Business Strong $548,275 Page County Project “Small Business Strong” will support the recovery of approximately 300 local lodging, retail, restaurant, and service-oriented businesses in Page County with tailored equipment or supplies for to help them better serve consumers and keep employees safe. Pop-Up Food Hub and Mask Production $175,800 Page County Page County will expand its food pantry to provide meals to low- to moderate-income households and elderly individuals, along with hospitality and restaurant workers that have been laid off or furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The food hub expansion will retain at least six jobs in the kitchen at the Mimslyn Inn to create meals and organize food services at the food pantry at least four days a week. The county will also help establish a small mask production operation, which will donate the masks higher risk populations or those returning to a job in the service and tourism sectors. The mask production operation will create five part-time jobs and approximately 3,800 masks for the community. Shenandoah County Small Business Recovery Assistance $550,000 Shenandoah County Shenandoah County will assist the small business community adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualifying businesses can apply for up to five months or a maximum of $7,000 in rent or mortgage relief and up to $5,000 in reopening expenses associated with equipment purchases and technology upgrades. Smyth County Food Pantries Expansion/Assistance $440,000 Smyth County Smyth County will partner with the four food pantries in the county to bolster operations and serve approximately 2,000 low- to moderate-income individuals per month. The county will utilize CDBG funding to acquire cold storage equipment, technology, and barrier equipment to assist distribution operations to standards in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines, as well as partner with local businesses to increase the variety of food options at each of the four food pantries. Halifax County Small Business Recovery Assistance $550,000 Town of South Boston The town of South Boston will partner with Halifax County to assist businesses that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The town will award businesses up to $5,000 for retooling and technology activities and up to $10,000 for three to six months of rent or mortgage relief. The town will utilize Destination Downtown South Boston, a Virginia Main Street organization, to administer the funding for the county and provide wrap-around support.    Lunchbox276 $187,500 Wise County Wise County and the city of Norton are partnering with Lunchbox276 to expand food programing options for approximately 500 children and families. Lunchbox276 is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to alleviating childhood hunger in Wise County by providing breakfast and lunch to students and their families. The county and city have identified 20 local businesses that will work with Lunchbox276 to provide dinners for these families, expanding the food options for program participants and retaining local jobs in the participating restaurants.

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09.24.2020
Landlords can now apply to receive rental assistance on behalf of tenants RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced the expansion of the Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP), which first launched at the end of June with $50 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to assist households facing eviction or foreclosure due to COVID-19. Landlords can now apply to receive financial assistance for current and past-due rental payments dating back to April 1, 2020 on behalf of their tenants who qualify for RMRP. This new application is available in addition to the existing tenant-based application. Current state and federal eviction protections through the courts do not prevent rent and mortgage payments from accumulating. The Commonwealth is focused on helping eligible households and property owners access resources to maintain housing stability during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the future. Virginians are encouraged to act quickly and work with their landlord or lending institution to understand their rights and responsibilities and seek rent and mortgage relief assistance if needed. “Housing is key to ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of all Virginians,” said Governor Northam. “We continue to look for innovative ways to reach as many households and property owners as possible throughout this pandemic and our economic recovery. Expanding this program will provide much needed relief for landlords and property owners facing financial hardship and help ensure that more Virginia families can remain safely in their homes.” The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) administers the RMRP program through approximately 30 local and regional housing-related agencies throughout the Commonwealth. Virginia Housing, the state’s housing finance agency, has partnered with DHCD to manage landlord-initiated applications.  Eligible households must demonstrate difficulty in making rent or mortgage payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Monthly rent must be at or below 150 percent of Fair Market Rent (FMR) and eligible households must have a gross household income at or below 80 percent of area median income (AMI). “The top goal of RMRP is to keep families in safe and affordable housing by utilizing the funding resources to make tenants and homeowners, as well as landlords and mortgage companies, whole on outstanding payments,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “A strong partnership between landlords and tenants is imperative to keeping Virginians who owe back rent stably housed through this pandemic and beyond.” More than 60 percent of the households served between August 27 and September 9 included children under 8 years old, and 58 percent included children ages 9-17. Of those who identified race, Black households accounted for more than 45 percent of those served, and white households accounted for 30 percent. The RMRP provides financial assistance in the form of a one-time payment with the opportunity for renewal based on availability of funding, the household’s need for additional assistance, and continued eligibility. This includes financial assistance for rent or mortgage payments past due from April 1, 2020 and onward. A federal moratorium on evictions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently in place through December 31, 2020 and suspends eviction proceedings for households facing eviction due to unpaid rent. The moratorium requires tenants to sign a declaration of eligibility and deliver the document to their landlord, but does not prevent rent payments from accumulating. Additional information is available at StayHomeVirginia.com/renters. To submit a landlord-initiated application, visit virginiahousing.com/RMRP. Tenants interested in applying should visit dhcd.virginia.gov/eligibility to conduct a self-assessment for eligibility or call 211 VIRGINIA by dialing 2-1-1 from your phone. Tenants and homeowners are strongly encouraged to know their rights and responsibilities and pay their rent and mortgages on time if they are able and if they are not able, to reach out to their landlord or lending institution along with RMRP. Visit StayHomeVirginia.com for additional information and resources.

Upcoming Events

Rent and Mortgage Relief Program

The Rent and Mortgage Relief Program will launch on Monday, June 29. Click here to find out if you may be eligible.

COVID-19 Homeless Assistance and Prevention

Those experiencing homelessness or other housing crisis should contact their local crisis assistance hotline by clicking here to find your local hotline.

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a market-based collaborative effort among Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, while driving economic growth. DHCD, in coordination with the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, will administer just over half of the proceeds from the RGGI cap and trade program to energy efficiency programs benefiting low-income Virginians by making investments in affordable housing.

Virginia Governor's Housing Conference

Mark your calendar for the virtual 2020 Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference Nov. 18-20. Join us for this three-day event packed full of educational sessions led by experts in housing, finance, and community development.

Pool and Spa Safety

In the midst of summer, pool safety is at the forefront of our minds. Check out multiple resources to keep your family safe in and around pools. 

Local Government Exchange Program

The Virginia Local Government Exchange Program will serve as a vehicle to explore and build stronger relationships between community leaders in our vast state. This pilot program is a partnership of the Governor’s Office, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) and Virginia Municipal League (VML).

Partners for Better Communities Podcast

Each episode features the voices of leaders and change makers across the commonwealth. We will look at the innovation and inspiration at play as local, regional and state leaders work together to create safe, affordable and prosperous communities.

Virginia Disparity Study

Virginia has commissioned BBC Research & Consulting (BBC) to conduct a disparity study to assess whether barriers exist for minority- or woman-owned businesses that make it more difficult for them to compete for commonwealth contracts.

Virginia Main Street Blog

Check out the latest happenings in the Main Street and downtown revitalization world through the Virginia Main Street Blog.

2018 Code Development Process

The Virginia Building Codes are updated through the code development process. Virginia is a leader in building and fire code development, and stakeholder input is vital to Virginia’s code development process. Participation is encouraged and remote participation is made possible through cdpVA.

Landlord Tenant Handbook

The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (VRLTA) handbook has been prepared to provide information on the rights, remedies and responsibilities of landlords and renters concerning the rental process. Before signing a lease, prospective tenants should read and understand the terms of the contract. Consulting a lawyer or the landlord for clarification of the rental agreement is advisable.