Recent News

rrp

02.16.2021
Federal stimulus funds available to help landlords and tenants impacted by COVID-19 pandemic ARLINGTON—Governor Ralph Northam today announced $524 million in new federal funding to help keep Virginia families in their homes amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Virginia Rent Relief Program (RRP) is funded through the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program included in the recent federal stimulus package and will assist households and landlords with rent payments to avoid eviction. Governor Northam made the announcement at Gilliam Place Apartments, which is owned by the nonprofit organization Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have prioritized efforts to keep Virginians safely in their homes,” said Governor Northam. “There continues to be an overwhelming need for additional relief to help those struggling to make ends meet. This new federal funding will provide an important lifeline to individuals and families, and bolster our ongoing work to address housing affordability in the Commonwealth. I urge eligible households to act quickly and work with their landlords to seek rental assistance through this program.” Virginia is immediately putting $160 million into the RRP to increase housing stability across the Commonwealth and will make additional funding available based upon need. The program will be administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). In June 2020, Virginia was one of the first states in the nation to create a statewide rent and mortgage relief program with federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds. To date, the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP) has distributed over $83.7 million in 24,294 rent and mortgage payments for households throughout the Commonwealth. Families with children represent the majority of households assisted by the program. Governor Northam and the General Assembly allocated Virginia Housing Trust Funds to continue supporting the program prior to this new federal allocation. “RRP is based on a unique, collaborative partnership between tenants and landlords to ensure both remain whole amid the pandemic,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Our priority remains keeping our families in stable housing while also ensuring landlords are receiving the payments they need.” The new ERA funding does not include mortgage relief, so the RMRP that has been operating since June will become the RRP and will no longer accept applications for assistance with mortgage payments. Earlier today, the Biden Administration announced an expansion and extension of federal forbearance and foreclosure relief programs. In addition, Chesterfield County and Fairfax County will operate their own ERA-funded rent relief programs for their residents. Virginia tenants outside Chesterfield and Fairfax Counties struggling to pay rent are encouraged to reach out to their landlords for the quickest path to rental assistance. To submit a landlord-initiated application, visit virginiahousing.com/rentrelief. Virginia law requires landlords to work with their tenant to apply for this assistance. Tenants interested in applying should check their eligibility by completing the self-assessment at dhcd.virginia.gov/eligibility or by dialing 2-1-1 from their phones. Tenants may be eligible for rent arrears payments back to April 1, 2020 and up to three months of payments into the future. The total payments may not exceed 15 months of rental assistance per household. “Maintaining housing for all Virginians is in the interest of public health,” said Senator Janet Howell, Chair of the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee. “This additional funding is vital to providing rent relief to prevent evictions and get financially distressed Virginians back on track with rent payments.” “This program has been critical to addressing and preventing evictions for thousands of Virginians,” said Delegate Luke Torian, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. “Continued funding of this program is necessary to prevent gaps in assistance for Virginians who are facing unprecedented challenges in the face of this pandemic.” Current state and federal eviction protections through the courts do not prevent rent payments from accumulating. The Commonwealth remains focused on helping eligible households access resources to maintain housing stability during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the future. Additional information on RRP is available at dhcd.virginia.gov/RRP. For additional housing resources, visit StayHomeVirginia.com. Watch the video of this announcement here.

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02.11.2021
Funding supports COVID-19 response, housing rehabilitation, and water and sewer improvements RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced more than $3.8 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) for the counties of Montgomery, Scott, and Southampton, the towns of Appomattox and Independence, and the city of Norton. The funding will support projects that rehabilitate housing, improve water and sewer infrastructure, and facilitate COVID-19 recovery and response efforts, benefitting more than 1,400 low- to moderate-income Virginians throughout the six communities. “Supporting housing, infrastructure, and other immediate needs of our rural communities is more important now than it has ever been,” said Governor Northam. “This funding supports projects that will enable these six localities to continue delivering essential services to Virginians during the pandemic and help build a stronger future for our Commonwealth.” Three projects will be funded through a second round of CDBG Community Improvement Grants, which are awarded through a competitive process that evaluated each project for demonstrated need, applicant readiness, capacity, and benefit to the community. Two projects will be funded through COVID-19 CDBG funding, a reallocated funding source that is assisting with a variety of COVID-19 response and recovery activities. One project will be funded through the CDBG Construction-Ready Water and Sewer Fund, which is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and offers assistance to projects providing public water or sewer service to communities made up of at least 60 percent low- to moderate-income households.  The federally funded CDBG program has been administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development since 1982 and annually receives approximately $18.5 million to distribute to small cities, counties, and towns. Most CDBG grants are awarded through a competitive process, with a goal of benefiting low- and moderate-income households, improving housing and infrastructure, and addressing an urgent community need. In 2020, the CDBG program distributed more than $31.1 million across Virginia. For additional information on the CDBG program, visit dhcd.virginia.gov/cdbg. “These grants fund six vastly different projects, all targeted to improve the quality of life for those who live and work in these communities,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “One of CDBG’s great advantages is its flexibility to support a wide range of projects, and it is an important tool in solving issues caused or exacerbated by COVID-19.” The following projects will receive CDBG funding: Appomattox Church Street Waterline Town of Appomattox $650,000 (CDBG Construction-Ready Water and Sewer Fund) The town of Appomattox will receive funding to replace an existing waterline on Church Street and the surrounding areas. The project will replace water lines and the central water main, as well as improve the area’s fire protection. The replacement water system includes 730 residential households and 200 commercial and industrial sites, benefiting 1,145 low- to moderate-income individuals. Food Independence Town of Independence $105,000 (CDBG COVID-19 Response) The town of Independence will receive funding for the purchase of food, safety equipment, freezers, and other equipment necessary for the operation of Food Independence, which serves approximately 600 individuals each month. Participants receive a box of food containing a mix of canned, boxed, and fresh foods from local givers, stores, farmers, and other local venders.  Millstone Kitchen Food Program Montgomery County $135,433 (CDBG COVID-19 Response) Montgomery County will receive funding to continue operations of the Millstone Kitchen Food Program through June 2021. The county, in partnership with the local community drive nonprofit Live Work Eat Gather, has been utilizing the Millstone Kitchen to bolster and expand meal delivery services in the community. The Millstone Kitchen is a commercial shared-use kitchen that is a part of the Old School at Prices Fork. The 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. This program has organized local caterers operating out of the Millstone Kitchen to prepare and deliver at least 600 meals per week, serving approximately 10,000 meals since July 2020. The new funding will provide approximately 10,000 additional meals through June 2021. Southside Comprehensive Community Development City of Norton $1,500,000 (CDBG Community Improvement Grants) The city of Norton will receive funding for the Southside Comprehensive Community Development Project, which includes the rehabilitation of 14 housing units, replacement of waterline infrastructure, and sidewalk and street improvements. Of the housing rehabilitation activities, two units will be substantially reconstructed, and nine vacant, dilapidated structures will be demolished. The project will serve 176 low- to moderate-income individuals in this neighborhood, which was voted as the highest-priority rehabilitation area for the city. Blackgum Water Project Scott County $313,500 (CDBG Community Improvement Grants) Scott County, along with the Scott County Public Service Authority, will receive funding to extend public water service to a neighborhood that is currently unserved. This project will result in the provision of a safe, reliable source of drinking water for area residents. Provision of the new public water line will benefit 19 households, which includes 31 low- to moderate-income individuals. Newsoms Housing and Drainage Improvement Project (Phase 1) Southampton County $1,237,468 (CDBG Community Improvement Grants) Southampton County, along with the town of Newsoms, will receive funding to support the Newsoms Housing and Drainage Improvement Project, which includes the rehabilitation of seven houses, substantial reconstruction of two additional houses, demolition of one blighted structure, and major improvements to the storm drainage systems throughout the neighborhood. The project has been a top priority for the town of Newsoms for many years. This project is the first phase of a multi-phased drainage improvement approach, and the project will serve 53 low- to moderate-income individuals.

port

02.09.2021
$1 million in funding will help stimulate economic growth and revitalize structures in port host communities RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced $1 million in grants from the Port Host Communities Revitalization Fund (PHCRF) will help Virginia’s oyster industry by making upgrades to the Menchville Marina in Newport News, revitalize the vacant and obsolete 57,792-square-foot Willis Building in Norfolk, and stimulate the local economy by redeveloping the derelict and abandoned 51-acre Lovett Point property in Portsmouth for industrial use. “With these three projects, we are making important investments that will help ensure our global economy continues to flow through Hampton Roads,” said Governor Northam. “Transforming poorly functioning and unused structures not only promotes job growth and new opportunities, it will also improve the quality of life for all those who visit, live, and work in these communities.” The General Assembly allocated $1 million in PHCRF grants for fiscal year 2021 to assist with removing, renovating, or modernizing port-related buildings and facilities in Virginia’s five port host communities, which are the town of Front Royal and the cities of Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Richmond. The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development administers the funding, which requires a 100 percent match from public or private sources, leveraging diverse resources for the redevelopment of derelict structures, spurring long-term employment opportunities, and ongoing physical and economic revitalization. Financial barriers often block the timely redevelopment of these structures, which require more than local resources to attract private-sector investment, and this is especially true in distressed commercial corridors. Eligible properties may be redeveloped for any market-driven purpose (including mixed-use), regardless of the original use. “The PHCRF grants will add great value to community development efforts and create jobs in Newport News, Norfolk, and Portsmouth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Currently, these sites are a deterrent to economic development in the surrounding port host areas and regions, and now they will be part of the attraction efforts.” This round of PHCRF grants follows an additional $1 million awarded in fiscal year 2020, which included funding to support initial improvements at the Menchville Marina and to redevelop the Norfolk Railyard at Lambert’s Point and a former coal plant in Portsmouth. To learn more about the PHCRF, visit dhcd.virginia.gov/phcrf. 2021 PHCRF Grant Awards: City of Newport News | Menchville Marina $250,000 The City of Newport News will receive a grant for the second phase of improvements at the Menchville Marina, the primary facility serving watermen working the James River. The marina is one of the largest oyster landing sites in Virginia, houses more than 90 boats, and employs 225 watermen. Phase two will include the installation of three floating dock systems to increase mooring options and improve the functionality for the watermen. New pilings, commercial grade floating docks, and associated gangways will be installed, and old docks, debris, and pilings will be removed. The project will bring the docks to current code standards, build permanent restroom facilities, and will include the installation of approximately 380 feet of riprap to stabilize the shoreline. City of Norfolk | Willis Building $250,000 The City of Norfolk will receive a grant to redevelop the vacant Willis Building, a 32-year-old, 57,792-square-foot building on Church Street purchased by the Norfolk Economic Development Authority (EDA) in 2019. The EDA is currently reviewing development proposals, which include the renovation of the building for retail and office space, potentially for the City of Norfolk’s Department of Human Services, as well as for affordable housing. Although the project is still in the planning stages, the City anticipates that either proposal will generate at least 20 new jobs. City of Portsmouth | Lovett Point $500,000 The City of Portsmouth will receive a grant to redevelop the 51-acre Lovett Point site, which includes the decommissioned BASF Chemical plant, for port-related industrial uses. The site is owned by Thomas Industrial LLC (TI), in partnership with its parent company, Marathon Development Group (MDG). These two entities will work to restore the site, which will include asbestos abatement, demolition and removal of all existing buildings and foundations, and site preparation to allow for marketing and the redevelopment of the property. MDG and TI will market the property for industrial development to include uses such as warehouse, distribution and logistics, cold storage, and manufacturing. The removal of the derelict and abandoned plant buildings from the property will make valuable industrial real estate available for development. The project is estimated to provide between 50 and 100 permanent new full-time jobs.

Upcoming Events

Eviction Moratorium

CDC-issued eviction moratorium has been extended by the recent federal stimulus package, to suspend eviction proceedings through Jan. 31, 2021.

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.

Housing Innovations in Energy Efficiency

DHCD's Housing Innovations in Energy Efficiency (HIEE) Program is funded through Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) proceeds. The program will make energy efficiency upgrades to new and existing residential buildings to reduce energy bills for low-income Virginians

Virginia Governor's Housing Conference

Mark your calendar for the virtual 2021 Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference Nov.10-12. Join us for this three-day event packed full of educational sessions led by experts in housing, finance, and community development.

Grant Management Workshop

Mark your calendar to attend the virtual DHCD Grant Management Workshop, Back to Basics: Building a New Foundation, on Jan. 26-28. 

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.