Recent News


Activities promote participation in the upcoming census, encourage Virginians to take action in their communities RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today invited Virginians across the Commonwealth to participate in a 2020 Census week of action tomorrow through next Friday. Events throughout the week encourage Virginia residents to learn more about what’s at stake in the 2020 Census and to take action in their communities to help ensure Virginia has a complete and accurate count. “An accurate count in the 2020 Census will support our efforts to build a Commonwealth for all Virginians and paint a more complete picture of the diverse voices that make up our state,” said Governor Northam. “I urge all Virginians to take part in the 2020 Census week of action and learn about how you can raise awareness about the upcoming census in your community.” Virginians throughout the Commonwealth can help promote the census by taking part in the following activities. Friday, February 21 – Sunday, February 23 | Interfaith Engagement This weekend, faith-based organizations and communities are encouraged to share information about the 2020 Census with their parishioners by incorporating messaging into their sermons, lectures, or other teaching, and by including information in programs, bulletins, and newsletters. Faith-based organizations and communities can access the Virginia Complete Count Commission’s Interfaith Engagement Toolkit here. Monday, February 24 | Engaging Virginia’s Seniors Facilities and organizations that support Virginia’s seniors are encouraged to share information about the 2020 Census. Additionally, families are encouraged to create a plan of action for completing the 2020 Census with the seniors in their lives. Older Virginians and their loves ones are also asked to mark their calendars for Wednesday, March 4 and join the 2020 Census Tele-Townhall hosted by the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth and AARP Virginia. From protecting themselves against census scams to letting family caregivers know how to help their loves ones, the Tele-Townhall will offer important information to help people make sure they are counted. Details about how to participate in the 2020 Census Tele-Townhall will be made available here. Tuesday, February 25 | College Students’ “Talk About It Tuesday” Colleges and universities are encouraged to educate students and faculty about the importance of the 2020 Census. Students are encouraged to participate in “Talk About It Tuesday” by talking to their parents and guardians to create a plan of action for completing the 2020 Census. College Students can find information on student enumeration here. Wednesday, February 26 | Let’s “Get Social” (on Media) Virginians can “Get Social” (on Media) by following Virginia’s Census engagement efforts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Virginians are also invited to participate in a Twitter chat about what’s at stake in the 2020 Census. Questions can be tweeted to @CountOnVirginia. Promote the Census using the hashtags #Census2020 #VACompleteCount #CountOnVirginia. Pledge to be Counted The Northam administration recently announced a partnership with CommunityConnect Labs to use mobile messaging to connect with hard-to-reach populations. On Wednesday, February 26, Virginians are encouraged to “Pledge to be Counted” by texting the word “PLEDGE” or “CENSO” (Español) to the number for their respective locality. Participants will receive a digital pledge card that can be shared on social media. Standard text messaging data rates may apply. Valley: (540) 235-5155 Northern: (703) 684-0007 or (571) 200-0828 Coastal: (757) 210-3232 Southside: (434) 201-4884 Southwest: (276) 218-8138 Central: (804) 203-0393 “We are excited to use our new text messaging platform to reach Virginians all over the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of the Commonwealth Kelly Thomasson. “We know that text and other mobile messaging is one of the best ways to reach underserved populations, especially those populations that are historically hard-to-count in the census.” Thursday, February 27 | Counting Our Youngest Virginians It is estimated that upwards of 5 percent of children under the age of four went uncounted in the 2010 Census. On Thursday, early childhood care and education centers are encouraged to share information with parents and guardians about the 2020 Census and the importance of young children born on or before April 1, 2020 (Census Day), being counted. Information on the enumeration of children ages 0-4 can be found here. Friday, February 28 | K-12 “Census in Schools” Educators and school administrators are encouraged learn about how they can incorporate the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistics in Schools (SIS) program into their lessons and classroom activities. The SIS program uses census statistics to create classroom materials for grades pre-K through 12. Learn more about the SIS program here. Additionally, Parent-Teacher Associations are encouraged to share information on the importance of the 2020 Census through newsletters and on social media—highlighting the value of programs such as Head Start, school breakfasts and lunches, and how 2020 Census data will support these efforts.   About the Virginia Complete Count Commission On December 18, 2018, Governor Northam signed Executive Order Twenty-Seven establishing the Virginia Complete Count Commission. The purpose of the Commission is to improve participation and representation of all Virginians in the 2020 Census. The Commission facilitates the sharing of ideas and community resources regarding the 2020 Census and serves as a conduit between the Commonwealth and the United State Census Bureau. The Virginia Complete Count Commission serves as a trusted voice and resource to educate, empower, and engage all communities for the purpose of ensuring that everyone who lives in the Commonwealth of Virginia is counted in the 2020 Census. For more information on the 2020 Census and Virginia Complete Count Commission, visit or follow @CountOnVirginia on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today launched the Virginia Local Government Exchange Program, designed to bridge cultural and geographic divides across Virginia. The pilot program will begin with two partnerships: Wise County and the City of Norton will team up with the City of Alexandria, and the City of Danville will connect with Loudoun County. The program is modeled after the successful Sister Cities International program, which provides a forum to exchange information and build stronger relationships around the world. President Dwight Eisenhower created Sister Cities International in 1956 to promote better understanding, respect, and cooperation across international boundaries. “The Virginia Local Government Exchange Program will create opportunities for leaders to experience just how diverse our Commonwealth is,” said Governor Northam. “The idea is simple—it’s much easier to understand a distant place when you see it, talk to the people who live there, get to know one another, and exchange ideas. This a way to move beyond politics that too often pits communities against each other. This program is designed to help localities learn about each other’s challenges and opportunities, and view other regions of the state as partners, not competitors.” The program is a partnership between the Governor’s Office, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, Virginia Association of Counties, and Virginia Municipal League. These communities will develop delegations that will visit their partner communities to highlight assets and opportunities and familiarize themselves with another community. Each participating community will assemble a delegation of local elected and appointed officials, state legislators, and other key stakeholders to participate in the exchange program. The members of the delegation, who will travel and visit their partner once over the next year, will serve as hosts to their paired community. The hosting communities will develop an itinerary that highlights tourism, natural and cultural assets, and economic development strategies. “We look forward to learning from our new partners across the Commonwealth to help us better serve the residents of our community,” said City of Alexandria Mayor Justin M. Wilson. “We look forward to the opportunity to learn more about other communities in Virginia and for them to learn about Danville,” said City of Danville Mayor Alonzo Jones. “We feel like we’ve got a great story to tell, and I am certain the others do as well.” “On behalf of Loudoun County, we are looking forward to sharing our story and successes with the city of Danville, and we are pleased to participate in the Commonwealth’s effort to advance local government exchange opportunities through this new program,” said Chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Phyllis J. Randall. “The City of Norton is supportive of efforts to connect communities across the Commonwealth as a means for gaining a better understanding of the similarities and differences our communities face,” said City of Norton Mayor Joseph Fawbush. “A collaborative partnership between Wise County and the City of Alexandria provides the opportunity to share cultural and economic stories and successes that will help each of us grow and prosper through this new program developed by the Commonwealth,” said Chairman of the Wise County Board of Supervisors John Schoolcraft. Virginia has more than 8.5 million people living in 38 cities, 95 counties and 190 towns covering over 42,000 square miles. The pilot localities are geographically very distant, but all have a strong local vision for advancing opportunity and promoting partnerships and mutual understanding across the Commonwealth. Tomorrow, the Governor will host leaders from the five pilot localities at the Executive Mansion in Richmond to kick off the program.         


New fund dedicates $1 million to support port host community improvements RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that new state “port host community” grants will help Virginia’s oyster industry upgrade the Menchville Marina in Newport News, complete a pedestrian-friendly mixed-use development around Lambert’s Point in Norfolk, and redevelop the derelict site of the decommissioned former Cogentrix coal-fired power plant in Portsmouth. The City of Newport News owns Menchville Marina and will lease it to a consortium of four Virginia oyster companies, which have a combined 200 years of experience. They have committed to make needed improvements to the marina. The Mariner’s Museum and Christopher Newport University also will use the facility for hands-on educational programming about clean water, conservation, and the oyster industry. “A huge number of the country’s oysters flow through Menchville Marina, but the marina itself needs work,” said Governor Northam. “So we’re investing in it just like we’re investing to restore oyster reefs in the Chesapeake Bay. I grew up on the water, and it’s important to me to invest in the communities that depend on the water.” In Norfolk, “The Railyard at Lambert’s Point” is an 8.8-acre parcel where a new mixed-use development will connect the Norfolk Naval Base, Old Dominion University, Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Sentara, and downtown Norfolk. The neighborhood will be fully accessible by bikes, pedestrians, and cars. “I used to work and go to school near Lambert’s Point in Norfolk, and this community means a lot to me,” said Governor Northam. “I’m glad the Commonwealth can help support a new pedestrian-friendly mixed-use neighborhood along Hampton Boulevard. It’s an important addition to downtown Norfolk.” The City of Portsmouth plans to demolish and remove structures from the site of a decommissioned Cogentrix coal-fired power plant. This property has sat vacant since 2015 and can no longer function as a coal plant due to new emissions regulations. Industrial Realty Group, with the assistance of the grant, will market the property to warehouse, distribution and logistics, cold storage, and manufacturing sectors, which are growing target industries for the area. “Demolishing the derelict structures of the decommissioned Cogentrix coal-fired plant will allow Portsmouth to bring new life to the shuttered facility,” said Governor Northam. “Once the site is ready for development by a new industrial end user, the project could restore many of the jobs that were lost when Cogentrix closed and spur over $16.5 million in additional private investment to the redevelopment of the site.” The General Assembly allocated $1 million in Port Host Communities Revitalization Fund (PHCRF) grants for the current fiscal year to assist with removing, renovating, or modernizing port-related buildings and facilities in Virginia’s five port host communities, which are Front Royal, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Richmond. The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development administers the funding under the new PHCRF grant program. The grants are intended to leverage local and private resources for the redevelopment of derelict structures, spurring long-term employment opportunities and ongoing physical and economic revitalization. This is the first time PHCRF grants are being awarded, and all grants require a 100 percent match from public or private sources. “The flexibility of the Port Host Communities Revitalization Fund allows for a wide variety of redevelopment activities in the awarded communities,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Each project is being redeveloped for a market-driven purpose, regardless of its original use, that will best support the economic strategies of the community and region.” Additional information on the Port Host Communities Revitalization Fund is available here. 2020 PHCRF Grant Awards: Applicant Project Award City of Newport News Menchville Marina $250,000 City of Norfolk Norfolk Railyard at Lambert’s Point $250,000 City of Portsmouth Project Power $500,000 TOTAL: $1,000,000

Upcoming Events


“Whether it is providing guidance on funding or attending a training, we gain knowledge and confidence in our abilities to improve the quality of life or others.” 

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).

Virginia Governor's Housing Conference

Mark your calendar for the 2020 Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference on Nov. 18-20 at the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center in Roanoke, Virginia. Join us for Virginia’s largest housing event packed full of educational sessions led by experts in housing, finance, and community development as well as amazing networking opportunities with colleagues from across the commonwealth. 

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.

Building Safety Month

Building Safety Month (BSM) is a public awareness campaign celebrated by jurisdictions worldwide during the month of May to help individuals, families and businesses understand what it takes to create safe and sustainable structures. DHCD has various campaigns to recognize and celebrate Building Safety Month throughout the commonwealth.

Virginia Main Street Blog

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

Code Connection Blog

Check out the latest happenings in the world building and fire regulations through the Code Connection Blog.