Props to Governor McDonnell for establishing a framework for housing policy and initiatives---with its own website! In an April 2010 executive order, the Governor revealed several housing principles, including:
- Recognizing the role of the housing industry as a critical economic development engine
- Promoting sustainable and vibrant communities, including mixed use and green technology
- Ensuring a range of housing
- Increasing capacity to address the needs of the homeless
The latest update report (12/13/2011) identifies progress on a variety of programs and actions consistent with the above four principles. The matrix specifically identifies the need for both a housing trust fund (HTF) and legislation necessary to eliminate local barriers to affordable housing. Unfortunately, however, the trust fund was DBA (dead before arrival) in the Governor’s budget this year. Several bills to create the HTF have been introduced in the Assembly bill, but it will be shocking if they go anywhere. Further and to my knowledge, there are no bills pending that would give localities any more flexibility to craft affordable housing approaches---meaning that many potential tools would still need authorization in Richmond.
The Governor deserves credit for taking a comprehensive look at housing. But without new financial support and increased local flexibility, the only thing being built higher is the paper pile. And the legislature owns that pile, too.
Follow the housing policy framework process.
Follow key bills affecting housing.