Description of the Agency's Products and/or Services:
1. Housing Assistance
Factors Impacting Agency Products and/or Services:
DHCD provides comprehensive housing assistance services to low-income and very-low-income citizens, as well as the elderly, individuals with mental and physical disabilities and AIDS. Through the use of federal funding, DHCD creates affordable housing for ownership and rental, provide funds for down payment and closing costs, and preserve the housing that serves these populations.
While most affordable housing programs serve individuals at or near 80% of median income, DHCD targets the hardest-to-serve individuals and families. Typically, DHCD programs serve households below 60% of median income. In order for housing to be affordable, either for rent or for ownership, DHCD creatively leverages its federal funding to provide very low-interest, no interest loans and grants in cooperation with and through partner agencies and organizations. Many of the individuals and families served would never qualify for home ownership through conventional loan programs or be able to afford the rental housing being developed though other development and financing organizations. Others would be forced to leave existing housing due to safety, accessibility or lack of basic services, like indoor plumbing.
Housing improvements are targeted to low-income citizens who live in substandard housing, with a special emphasis on those without basic indoor plumbing facilities. According to the 2006 American Community Survey, approximately 10,688 occupied households in Virginia lack indoor plumbing.
Housing Assistance provides loans or grants that directly affect the quality and affordability of housing; assist in emergency repairs, weatherization and rehabilitation activities including indoor plumbing; promote the creation or preservation of affordable renter- and owner-occupied housing; and provide training, technical assistance and support to potential local partners. Working in collaboration with community-based nonprofits, local governments, state agency partners and others, the Department’s activities in the area of housing assistance result in:
• Expanded home ownership opportunities for low-income persons through financial assistance for down payments and closing costs and access to low-interest loans;
• An increase in safe, accessible and affordable rental housing, as well as housing ownership
opportunities for low-income and very-low-income persons and families, the elderly, those transitioning from homelessness, and disabled persons through organizational development and
pre-development loans to community-based housing organizations (CHDOs) assistance and construction loans;
• Safer homes through grants that remove health and safety hazards, barriers to habitability and
accessibility, and lead paint assessment and abatement;
• More affordable housing through energy assessments and grants that weatherize; and
• Improved housing conditions for families without access to indoor plumbing.
A. Homeownership Programs
The Home Ownership Program down payment assistance to help low- and moderate-income families become first time home owners. This approach helps leverage the resources of Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA), HOME funds are used to cover down payments and closing costs. Funds are made available through regional administrators. This results in over 200 new homeowners each year.
B. Housing Production and Preservation Programs
Affordable Housing Production and Preservation provides low-interest loans for the construction and rehabilitation, including acquisition/rehabilitation, of multifamily rental properties (four or more units) and congregate housing projects that serve low-income households. A portion of the funds are set aside for projects developed by CHDOs. Under this program over 400 units of affordable housing are created or rehabilitated each year.
C. Housing Rehabilitation and Safety Programs
Check Off for Housing Program provides state grants to nonprofit organizations, community action agencies and units of local government for projects that improve the accessibility of housing for disabled persons, the elderly and persons who are low-income.
Emergency Home Repair provides grant funds for energy improvements and repairs to homes of very low- income persons (those below 50% of the area median income) for the removal of health or safety hazards and barriers to habitability and accessibility. The program is administered through local administrators including nonprofit and local government entities and typically address 400 homes per year.
Lead-based Paint Abatement will make 100 housing units across the Commonwealth safe from the hazards of lead-based paint by removing or covering deteriorated paint. The program targets pre-1978 housing and assists low-income families with children six years of age and younger who have been affected or may be affected by lead in paint. Local health departments provide medical case management to families with affected children. Assistance is available to income eligible households including owners of rental properties affordable to the targeted population. Funds are provided to DHCD from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Weatherization provides federal grants to make energy-related repairs and testing of heating system safety to homes occupied by families with low incomes. The program is administered through local administrators including community action agencies, governmental entities and nonprofit organizations. Funding is provided through state general funds, the U.S. Department of Energy, and from a set-aside of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to the Virginia Department of Social Services. Each year over 2,000 homes are weatherized and have heating systems repaired, which makes these homes more affordable to the families living in them.
Indoor Plumbing Rehabilitation provides grants and loans to lower-income households that lack complete indoor plumbing. Improvements are made not only to provide indoor plumbing, but also to bring the entire unit up to established Housing Quality Standards. This program annually provides services to 175 lower-income households that lack complete indoor plumbing.
DHCD works in collaboration with communities throughout the Commonwealth as part of its comprehensive approach to meeting the housing needs of: (a) the homeless; (b) those at risk of becoming homeless; (c) special needs populations; and (d) individuals with HIV/AIDS. Each year, more than 30,000 persons are served by programs that prevent homelessness, shelter those who are homeless, move the homeless into permanent housing, and offer supportive services to those with special needs including victims of domestic violence. Without these programs, the safety and lives of thousands of individuals and families would be jeopardy. Again, DHCD leverages its funds and that of its partners to insure that the housing needs of Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens are met. Services to these customers result in:
• A reduction in homelessness through temporary rent and mortgage assistance and security deposits for households transitioning out of homelessness;
• Safe and available emergency housing for thousands of individuals and families who find themselves homeless each year and services that help move them from homelessness into housing;
• Supportive services that allow families to secure employment and to move to transitional or permanent housing; and
• Housing availability for individuals who have mental or physical incapacities, AIDS, or other conditions that require more services than are available through traditional housing models.
2. Homeless and Supportive Housing Assistance Programs
The Homeless Intervention Program provides state as well as TANF funds to local administrators to be used for loans and grants for temporary rental and mortgage assistance and security deposit assistance to households that are homeless or to low-income households at imminent risk of homelessness due to a crisis situation. Eligible local administrators are local governments, public housing authorities and nonprofit organizations. Over 1,100 households are able to maintain their current housing as a result of this program.
Shelter Improvement Grants provide state and federal funds through grants in the form of forgivable loans for acquisition, new construction and/or rehabilitation for the expansion or preservation of emergency shelter and transitional housing. Eligible project sponsors are local governments, public housing authorities and nonprofit organizations.
Emergency Shelter Grant and State Shelter Grants offer funds to providers of emergency shelter, day shelter and transitional housing for the homeless for operations and supportive services that work to resolve the reasons for homelessness. Eligible project sponsors are local governments and nonprofit organizations. Emergency and transitional housing services were provided to over 30,000 persons in 2009.
Child Care for Homeless Children Program provides federal grant funds made available through the Department of Social Services to providers of emergency shelter and transitional housing for homeless families that are employed or are in job training or educational programs. Eligible project sponsors are local governments and nonprofit organizations. Child care was provided to 395 children in FY 2007, which allowed a parent to engage in education, training or employment.
Child Services Coordinator Grants provide state grant funds to providers of emergency shelter for homeless families with children for salary support for child services coordinators. Eligible project sponsors are local governments and nonprofit organizations. There are child services coordinators in 56 emergency and domestic violence shelters and transitional housing facilitates throughout Virginia.
Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS provides federal grant funds for acquisition, rehabilitation, new construction, leasing, operation of housing facilities, rental and mortgage assistance, utility payments, housing information, resource identification, technical assistance and supportive services for low-income persons with AIDS or HIV and their families. Eligible project sponsors are local governments and nonprofit organizations that serve persons with AIDS or HIV. Each year more than 250 households affected by HIV/AIDS receive supportive services and housing through this program.
3. Community Development and Revitalization
Community Development and Revitalization covers a board spectrum of efforts designed to enhance the development of Virginia’s most distressed communities and serve low-income residents.
DHCD provides flexible, overall community development assistance that can be tailored to meet the priority needs of an area. Infrastructure development provides drinking water and wastewater disposal to areas that do not have adequate facilities to meet residential or economic development needs. These activities address the needs of Virginia households that do not have access to clean, safe drinking water. Community services and facilities that are targeted to meet the needs of low-income citizens may also be undertaken. Housing rehabilitation improvements are targeted to low-income citizens who live in substandard housing and support for new housing development for low-income citizens and special needs populations is also available. Communities can use DHCD resources to craft responses to what they consider their most pressing concerns. These overall community development efforts provide clean, safe drinking water to over 1,000 households each year and improve the housing conditions of approximately 300 families annually.
Community economic development efforts range from infrastructure support for industrial locations, to downtown revitalization to entrepreneurship. DHCD administered state incentives are used to encourage businesses to target new jobs and investment in designated distressed areas. These activities help make distressed communities more competitive in a rapidly changing global economy. DHCD’s community economic development efforts usually assist at least 350 businesses each year and support the creation of over 4,000 new jobs annually.
Program activities are carried out through local and regional partners. This means that DHCD needs partners that are capable of carrying out complex projects, often involving multiple funding resources. It also means that our partners are the critical connection to the individuals, neighborhoods and communities that will benefit from program activities. In order to strengthen and develop effective partnerships, individual and community capacity building activities are carried out to ensure that local governments and community-based organizations are positioned, trained and organized to participate in a wide spectrum of community development efforts. DHCD also provides targeted assistance, through community-based organizations, that helps individuals overcome barriers that inhibit them from fully participating in community and economic activities. These capacity building efforts assist approximately 30 community-based organizations each year.
A. Community Development Programs
Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) - provides federal community development grant funding to localities for water, sewer, housing rehabilitation, economic opportunities and community service facilities for low- and moderate- income citizens. A one-time allocation (CDBG-R) under ARRA to focus on projects that be completed in a timely manner, provide significant job creation opportunities, and support regional economic development.
Appalachian Regional Commission Program (ARC) - provides financial assistance to communities located within Virginia's Appalachian Region, primarily to support community development and job creation activities.
Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project (Virginia Water Project) - provides state assistance to families for community water and sewer systems.
Regional Infrastructure Support Grants – state funds are directed to Planning Districts 1,2 and 3 to support regional efforts to provide water and wastewater service to areas that currently lack such public services.
Southern Rivers Watershed Enhancement Program - provides funding to non-Chesapeake Bay watershed communities to develop wastewater systems which eliminate direct discharge of sewage and pollution of streams.
Neighborhood Stabilization Program – new source of federal assistance, mainly follows rules and regulations of the CDBG program. Effort is focused on purchasing, rehabbing, and reselling foreclosed properties in neighborhoods most impacted by the foreclosure crisis.
B. Community Economic Development Programs
Enterprise Zone Program - promotes overall community revitalization by providing state incentives to businesses creating new jobs or making real property investments within designated geographic zones within communities.
Main Street Program - promotes comprehensive economic and physical revitalization of historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts in Virginia towns and cities.
Community Telecommunications Planning Grants – provide funding and technical assistance to localities to assess broadband needs and develop strategies to partner with private internet providers to bring affordable high speed telecommunications to rural areas.
Virginia Enterprise Initiative (VEI) - provides state grant funding to support micro enterprise development programs promoting entrepreneurship through access to capital and training assistance for lower-income Virginians. VEI leverages significant private sector resources in the form of loan pools from banks and provides business training and assistance to participating entrepreneurs.
C. Community Capacity Building Efforts
DHCD continues to provide customized technical assistance and capacity building services in support of a citizen-based approach to community development. These efforts enable distressed rural communities to access resources to address key community needs, and allow critical partners of DHCD to have access to short-term training and technical assistance.
Virginia Individual Development Accounts – financial literacy training and matched savings are provided to low-income individuals for post-secondary education, first-time home ownership, or self-employment.
4. Building Safety
A. The State Building Code Administrative and Technical Assistance and Services Offices
Virginia is one of seven states with a mandatory system of uniform statewide building and fire regulations enforced by both the state and local governmental entities that adopts at least nine national model codes, prohibiting local amendments apart from more restrictive fire ordinances. The regulations are adopted by the Board of Housing and Community Development (the Board or BHCD), administered at the state level, and enforced at the local governmental levels across the Commonwealth. These Offices work with the Board to promulgate the regulations and to provide technical and administrative assistance to state agencies, design professionals, construction industry tradesmen, building owners, and other citizens seeking information and assistance regarding the state building and fire regulations. DHCD emphasizes a systems approach to the code compliance and enforcement industry, including code development and change, technical interpretation and application, and training and certification. During the code development process, DHCD coordinates and works collectively with a diversity of client, constituent, and stakeholder organizations representing local governments, state agencies, other state boards, design professionals, contractors, tradesmen, professional trade organizations, building owners, property managers, and consumers. In addition to the provision of uniformity, special attention is granted to the achievement of appropriate levels of safety having a minimal impact upon costs and thus the attainment of affordable levels of buildings and structures, especially housing.
In a collaborative approach, the SBCAO and TASO focus on the development, promulgation, interpretation, and application of state building and fire regulations applicable to conventional buildings as well as industrialized, manufactured, and modular structures. An emphasis upon uniformity in regulatory requirements, as well as compliance and enforcement, protects the consumers, users, and owners and reduces building construction and maintenance costs while it also ensures an appropriate level of safety in the built environment.
• During FY 2009, staff facilitated or attended approximately 60 code development meetings and workgroups with the Department clients, constituents, and stakeholders, including government, association/organization, and industry interests.
• Information regarding building codes and regulations, programs, and policies of the Department was presented to more than 4,200 attendees during approximately 140 meetings annually in FY 2009 of various client groups, building officials and technical assistants, as well as professional organizations and trade associations.
• During FY 2009, staff responded to over 11,650 customer requests for technical and administrative assistance.
The State Building Code Technical Review Board (Technical Review Board or TRB) – staffed by the Technical and Administrative Services Office (TASO), supports the quasi-judicial functions and administrative operations, deliberates upon and determines appeal cases brought forth from the local governmental levels, and provides technical opinions and interpretations resulting from formal inquiries.
• During FY2009, TASO staff processed approximately 15 appeal applications concerning disputes over local enforcement of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) and the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code (SFPC). TASO staff also assisted the State Attorney General’s Office in preparation for defense of two Technical Review Board appeal decisions which were further appealed to the Courts.
• TASO staff processed six interpretation requests submitted to the Technical Review Board by local building and fire officials regarding the state building and fire regulations, which resulted in the issuance of three formal interpretations. In addition, the Technical Review Board recommended one proposal to the Board of Housing and Community Development (the Board or BHCD) as a future amendment to the USBC which was approved and adopted.
The Jack A. Proctor Virginia Building Code Academy (JPVBCA) – provides the foundation for the uniform enforcement of the USBC by providing basic, technical, advanced, and specialized training for code enforcement personnel that ultimately focus on the protection of the life, safety, and welfare of the citizens in the built environment, the work, assembly, and living places, throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. The JPVCBA sponsors mandatory periodic training programs, such as code change training associated with each code change cycle, designed to maintain the knowledge and skill bases, and thus the competency and professionalism levels, of the code enforcement community. Effective May 2008, the JPVBCA implemented a continuing education program for all certified code enforcement personnel, requiring 16 hours of continuing education credits for every two year period 2008 in subject matter pertinent to the employment responsibilities of the certificate holder. The development, contemporization, and improvements to the course and program offerings through the JPVBCA continues to progress in sync with the code enforcement needs and demands as well as the industry technology and advancements. DHCD and the JPVBCA affiliate with a sister agency, the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR), as an approved education provider to offer approved credits for DHCD technical and code update courses that comply with continuing education requirements for DPOR individual licensed contractors as master and journeyman tradespersons. DPOR also acknowledges DHCD certified instructors as meeting or exceeding the required proficiency qualifications as an approved DPOR instructor. On behalf of the BHCD, the JPVBCA issues certificates to the code enforcement professionals in the appropriate fields of code compliance and enforcement as conformance with the applicable education and examination requirements are demonstrated.
• Training was delivered in all aspects of code enforcement, filling 1,373 training seats by code enforcement professionals in FY 2009.
• During FY 2009, the JPVBCA provided 32 courses and programs required for individuals seeking BHCD certificates in Virginia, including core, technical, and advanced courses.
•The JPVBCA piloted one three day course regarding residential plan review which supports the plans examiner certification category.
• The JPVBCA offered a series of specialized training courses, totaling 11 single day courses, including accessibility, energy conservation, wall braced panels, and existing building rehabilitation, and one two day course regarding fire protection inspection basics throughout FY 2009.
• During Quarters 1 and 2 of FY 2009, the JPVBCA completed statewide instruction of code updates in conjunction with the adoption cycle of a new edition of the model building codes, filling 2,137 of the total 5,180 training seats filled for the entire program.
•DHCD partnered with the Virginia Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA) to develop and deliver this technologically-enhanced training program to 13 remote site facilities through a combination of simul-cast and web-stream formats.
• During FY 2009, TCU processed 442 continuing education applications.
• During FY 2009, TCU issued904 certifications to code enforcement personnel and independent third- party inspection agents.
• During FY 2009, TCU trained and submitted continuing education credits for 353 DPOR individual licensed contractors.
The Virginia Manufactured Housing and Industrialized Building Programs – provides support to the Manufactured Housing Board and administers the Manufactured Licensing Program and the Transaction Recovery Fund. Its responsibilities also include the investigation of manufactured housing complaints, and the inspection of manufactured homes, manufacturing facilities, and sales lots. During FY 2008, staff accomplished the manufactured housing and industrialized building programs through the following: processed and referred 47 consumer complaints and reported violations of manufactured homes and industrialized buildings, and conducted site investigations of 21 of the structures; conducted 182 inspections at manufactured home retail locations to monitor the dealer’s compliance with state and federal regulations; conducted 66 factory audits at industrialized building factories located in and outside of Virginia to monitor the Compliance Assurance Agencies’ performance; reviewed approximately 965 industrialized building plans to monitor the plans review performance of the Agencies; assisted with settlements from the Manufactured Housing Transaction Recovery Fund, which has paid approximately $324,000 accumulatively since 1996 to consumers for damages or losses to their manufactured homes
5. Regional Cooperation
This service area supports regional community and economic development efforts. Regional approaches offer coordinated, cost effective and efficient methods of intervention in many critical service areas. Localities can use regional structures to access resources that would not be feasible on their own. Coordinated regional planning leads to more efficient deployment of limited state and federal financing resources. Regional entities can also provide assistance in linking individual local efforts to maximize results and minimize costs. State support of regional approaches helps provide better program service delivery and results in more coordinated outcomes.
A. Intergovernmental Relations
This function area integrates the primary activities conducted by the Commission on Local Government. These intergovernmental services enhance localities within the Commonwealth through:
(a) the provision of reports analyzing the ramifications of proposed boundary change, local governmental transition, and related inter-local issues;
(b) the provision of technical assistance regarding Virginia’s local boundary change and local governmental transition processes;
(c) the extension of mediation assistance in efforts to resolve inter-local issues;
(d) the development of statistical analyses providing comparative profiles of local fiscal conditions;
(e) oversight and reporting responsibility with respect to all state and federal mandates imposed on Virginia's localities;
(f) the examination of proposed state legislation for its potential fiscal impact on the state’s localities;
(g) the collection of data and preparation of an annual report on local government utilization of cash proffers; and
(h) the provision of other information relative to the legal framework affecting localities in Virginia.
B. Intergovernmental Relations Programs
Resolution of Inter-local Issues - develops advisory reports on local boundary change and governmental transition issues for localities and the courts. Provides technical assistance to localities, state agencies and citizens regarding local governmental boundary change and transition issues. Identifies and develops mediation resources for use by localities in the resolution of inter-local issues. Annually, this office has documented its provision of technical assistance to over 150 various local governments and other entities and citizens .
Local Statistical Analyses - develops and distributes annual report analyzing the comparative revenue capacity, revenue effort, and fiscal stress of counties and cities. Also, develops and distributes periodic reports analyzing changes in the revenue and expenditure profile of Virginia's cities and counties. Eight state agencies rely on the comparative revenue capacity or the fiscal stress statistics produced annually by this office in their distribution of approximately $163 million in various state-aid funds that they administer.
Catalog and Assess Mandates - develops catalog of state and federal mandates applicable to Virginia localities. Provides oversight of executive agency assessment of state and federal mandates on localities.
Cash Proffer Survey and Report – surveys the acceptance of cash proffers by eligible localities in order to assist the General Assembly in determining the amount of cash proffer revenues and expenditures of local governments and the purposes for which such expenditures were made and publishes the results in an annual report to the chairmen of the Senate Local Government Committee and the House Counties, Cities and Towns Committee.
A. Housing Services
Anticipated Changes in Products or Services:
As housing costs continue to exceed growth in income, the opportunity for low-income individuals and families to find and maintain housing will become more limited, which will cause an increase demand for products and services. A study by the Virginia Tech Center for Housing Research estimated that over 94,000 units would be necessary to meet the growth in the number of lower-income households projected to occur between 2000 and 2010.
The economic turmoil of the past two years has resulted in dramatic changes in Virginia’s housing markets. The long-term impact of these changes is expected to be significant.
• Foreclosures will continue at higher rates than previously experienced. This will result in large numbers of displaced families, instability in previously stable neighborhoods and increasing pressures on the rental housing market.
• Increasing unemployment will result in more families struggling to remain in housing with larger numbers of families paying larger proportions of their income for housing. This in turn will reduce the income the have available for other needs.
• The ability to raise revenue through low income housing tax credits and tax exempt bonds has been significantly limited due to the current market and economic conditions. Thus, the funding available for affordable housing production and preservation has been significantly reduced. Even where tax credit and bond proceeds are available, this revenue limitation has resulted in larger financing gaps. These financing gaps have made it even more difficult to assemble viable affordable housing developments.
• Demolition of deteriorated and obsolete low-income rental units in large metropolitan areas continues to accelerate with expiration of tax credit programs implemented in the mid-80s resulting in shortage in affordable rental housing.
• Growing gap between incomes and housing costs for very-low-income persons as housing costs continue to escalate throughout the Commonwealth.
• Growing numbers of disabled, elderly, and homeless households are creating a higher demand for housing connected to critical supportive services.
• Requests for assistance for home modifications are expected to increase due to a larger elderly
Population and an increasing movement for disable persons to re-enter the community.
• Higher costs for materials are expected to increase the average cost per housing unit.
• Federal funding cuts affecting the operations of many nonprofit organizations, such as Community Action Programs.
• The number of activities/organizations eligible for voluntary contributions from state tax refunds has greatly increased.
B. Community Development
• Funding reliability for the Rural Virginia Broadband Telecommunications Initiative.
• Funding stability for the Southern Rivers Watershed Enhancement Program.
• Funding availability at the state level for the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program incentives and other programs that support business development and private investment.
• Funding availability at the state and federal levels especially reductions in ARC and CDBG allocations.
• Program service revisions in response to new and changing client needs and interests.
• Local capacity to serve as partners in the described activities.
• Legislative changes impacting the structure of these programs and changes in local leadership.
• Local capacity to help make businesses aware of these program resources.
• External economic conditions impact businesses’ ability and willingness to create new jobs and investment regardless of public sector financial inducements.
• Remote location of communities needing access to water and wastewater disposal.
• Lack of broadband infrastructure limiting the economic future and quality of life in rural areas.
• Increased reporting, tracking, and monitoring burdens associated with implementation of HERA and ARRA programs.
C. Building Safety
Factors potentially impacting products and services relative to the USBC and SFPC include:
• General construction industry conditions based upon current economy trends potentially affecting the code enforcement personnel of local governmental entities which enforce the codes and regulations.
• Steady or slightly decreased numbers of code enforcement personnel, i.e. building officials, technical assistants, and independent third-party inspection agents, seeking initial training and subsequent certification in a negative, down-turned, or depressed economy, causing increased code enforcement personnel seeking certification in combination inspections or multiple disciplines, necessitating increased staff response to requests for training, and certification services.
• Steady or slightly decreased numbers of code enforcement personnel seeking certification in combination inspections or multiple disciplines in a negative, down-turned, or depressed economy, necessitating increased staff response to requests for technical and administrative assistance.
• Continued development of new and future technical, advanced, and specialized curriculum, courses, and programs in response to industry technological advancements, to include elevator inspection, accessibility, energy, and sustainability as well as the implementation and promotion of regional training initiatives.
• Development and incorporation of future delivery formats and alternate media to include computer-based and web-based training, as well as distance learning programs.
• Development of periodic training programs, in addition to update of code change training, necessary to maintain the levels of knowledge, competency, and professionalism of the code enforcement professionals. update
• Implementation of continuing education program for code enforcement personnel, requiring 16 hours of continuing education credits every two years, funded through an increase in the levy surcharge permit fee to the full 2% authorized by law, and potentially instigating a rise in demand for advanced, progressive, professional development offerings and opportunities.
• Continued participation of DHCD staff in the development of the new regulatory provisions and subsequent editions of the International Code Council (ICC) national model building codes to assure that the content and intent of the national model codes remain consistent with the ideals and objectives of the Virginia regulations and its citizens, effecting that buildings and structures are constructed and maintained in a safe and affordable manner.
• General construction industry conditions potentially affecting the quantity and complexity of the appeals cases brought forth from the local level to the Technical Review Board and the required continued staff support of the Technical Review Board (TRB).
• Future retirements and departure of key supervisory personnel and senior technical staff and the attraction of their replacements with highly qualified persons having code industry knowledge and skills, necessitating a review of the compensation structure.
Factors potentially impacting products and services relative to the Industrialized Building Safety Regulations (IBSR) and the Manufactured Homes Safety Regulations (MHSR) include:
• Industrialized Building Programs – The numbers of manufacturers and the numbers of industrialized or modular building produced have been increasing 8% annually over the last several years. That trend is expected to continue. In addition, the buildings themselves have become larger and more complex structures, often resulting in additional assistance requests from local enforcement personnel.
• Manufactured Housing Programs – Changes in the federal manufactured housing program impact Virginia’s program. Since these programs are self-funding or Special Fund programs, fluctuations or downturns in the industry have an effect on the funding stream for these programs. When fewer manufactured homes are produced and sold, the revenues for the programs are reduced, without an equal reduction in the workloads of the programs. There is an anticipated 30% drop in production.
D. Regional Cooperation
• The Commission on Local Government has no control over its agenda with respect to inter-local issues, and it is required to accept cases as they are presented to it and to complete its review of those cases within statutorily prescribed time frames.
• Virginia law governing annexation, local government transitions, and consolidations is extremely complex and requires an extraordinary amount of time to inform local government officials, the media, and the public regarding the legal processes and their ramifications.
• Some of the principal data utilized by the Commission is generated by other state agencies, institutions of higher education and local governments, and delays and errors in the production of such data can affect the completion of Commission projects.
A. Housing Services
• The significant downturn in the housing market coupled with the growing foreclosure crisis have resulted in market conditions that make first-time homeownership very difficult for low and moderate income families. It has also resulted in additional demand for the already limited supply of affordable rental housing.
• DHCD will receive $94.1 Million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for the Weatherization Assistance program. The Weatherization Assistance program provides funds to reduce the heating and cooling costs for low-income families, and to ensure their health and safety. Assistance services are available for low-income households, particularly for the elderly, individuals with disabilities, and families with children.
• DHCD will receive $11.4 Million in ARRA funds for the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP). The Homeless Intervention/Prevention program provides short-term emergency assistance to prevent people from becoming homeless by funding housing payments for a short period or by paying for deposits and other required items to help people rapidly move into housing and avoid homelessness.
• The demand for services is anticipated to increase due to the aging population. It is unlikely that the current funding levels will be adequate to meet the increased demand.
• As the cost of materials rises, some program activities may become limited due to caps on the amount of funds, particularly federal funds that may be used in a housing unit.
• As housing units age, they need repairs, often due to deferred maintenance as the occupants are unable to afford the necessary repairs and upkeep. It is anticipated that demand for services will increase as these homes reach critical condition. It is unlikely that the current funding levels will be adequate to meet the increased demand.
• Recent studies have indicated that direct access or rapid exit programs for homeless individuals and families are not only cost effective but also result in improved outcomes. DHCD is working with partner agencies to develop funding formulas that incorporate housing first as a primary means of ending homelessness.
• The federal focus on the chronic homeless and housing, rather than services, is shifting resources away from programs serving the broader population of homeless individuals and families.
• DHCD is examining ways to address the cost of rehabilitating substandard housing units lacking complete indoor plumbing.
B. Community Development
• DHCD continues to explore ways to balance the demand for the Enterprise Zone Program and the allocated resources for the program. DHCD received 374 Enterprise Zone grant applications. EZ grant requests exceeded $30.9 million, a 20 percent increase over last year. All grants were pro-rated at .46 cents on the dollar in order not to exceed the $14.29 million budget allocation. DHCD processed 57 Enterprise Zone tax credit applications. Requests were within the statutory limit of $7.5 million in tax credits (annual limit). DHCD will implement the statutory changes enacted by the 2009 General Assembly in FY 2010 and beyond and it is anticipated that this will provide some relief from the need for such deep pro-ration, provided that further budget cuts are not necessary.
• DHCD will seek innovative ways and partnerships to continue expansion of statewide micro enterprise development through the Virginia Enterprise Initiative’s Regional Service Provider network. DHCD will support innovations in micro-lending, such as, a privately funded social investment fund, through which private investors can pool their funds to make loans to micro-entrepreneurs in targeted businesses as well as lending models such as “peer-to-peer” to assist foreign language speakers through small Virginia Enterprise Initiative grants
DHCD will seek to expand the number of communities in the Virginia Main Street Program so that additional communities can benefit from the design and economic restructuring assistance provided through the program.
• DHCD is working with numerous communities strategies for improvement in quality of life and affordable high speed telecommunications for economic restructuring.
• DHCD’s asset building program, the Virginia Individual Development Accounts program, will significantly expand as a result of a $1 million federal grant. DHCD will implement an electronic application interface to enhance the efficiency of enrolling customers in the program.
• DHCD's e-government initiative will change the way clients interact with the agency. Reports and funding applications can be made electronically making such submissions easier to submit and process.
• DHCD is working to increase capital access for projects in distressed communities or serving distressed populations. This is taking place through a partnership with Virginia Community Capital, Inc., the statewide community development financing institution..
C. Building Safety
Anticipated changes relative to the Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) include:
• Local code enforcement staffs and independent third-party inspection agents typically increase at 2% per year, thus increasing the demand on the TASO staff, including the Technical Services Unit and Training and Certification Unit.
• In a negative, down-turned, or depressed economy, steady or slightly decreased numbers of code enforcement personnel, i.e. building officials, technical assistants, and independent third-party inspection agents, resulting in increased existing personnel seeking certification in combination inspections or multiple disciplines, necessitate increased staff response to requests for training and certification services. Steady or slightly decreased numbers of code enforcement personnel, i.e. building officials, technical assistants, and independent third-party inspection agents,
• In a negative, down-turned, or depressed economy, steady or slightly decreased numbers of code enforcement personnel seeking initial training and subsequent certification, resulting in increased existing personnel seeking certification in combination inspections or multiple disciplines, necessitate increased staff response to requests for technical and administrative assistance.
• New training programs and course offerings have been and will continue to be implemented by the TASO Training and Certification Unit (TCU) in parallel with Gubernatorial initiatives, emphasizing high performance, energy, and sustainability.
• New training delivery formats will be implemented by the TASO Training and Certification Unit (TCU) in parallel with Gubernatorial initiatives, including an increased incorporation of technology such as computer-based, web-based, and alternate media opportunities for statewide broadcast.
• As future editions of the national model codes are adopted and implemented in Virginia, the SBCAO and TASO staff will be relied upon to meet the increased demands for technical and administrative assistance from an increasing number of code enforcement professionals and to facilitate the required code update training.
• The introduction and adoption of the 2009 International Code Council’s (ICC) national model codes will necessitate the development, implementation, and facilitation of additional training in 2010 and 2011 for more than 3,000 code enforcement personnel, independent third-party inspection agents, and clients provided collaboratively by the SBCAO and TASO staff and the JPVBCA instructors.
• The development and implementation of electronic products and software programs in conjunction and cooperation with the ICC provision of Smart-Codes and other electronic products will allow for availability, access, and convenience provided at no or minimal charge to the public users.
• The enhancement of on-line registration and application systems and expansion of electronic databases for technical and training assistance.
• The development and implementation of a GIS-based inspection report system and plan review software programs will augment technical assistance services.
• Electronic publication to and communication with all clients through the DHCD website and other related links will share information, expand awareness, and generate requests for services.
• The development and implementation of automated business and fiscal services and systems support the primary functions and daily operations of the SBCAO and TASO.
• Future retirements and departure of key supervisory personnel and senior technical staff and the attraction of their replacements with highly qualified persons, necessitating a review of the compensation structure.
Anticipated changes relative to the industrialized Building Safety Regulations (IBSR) and the Manufactured Housing Safety Regulations (MHSR) include:
• Industrialized Building Safety Regulations – Since industrialized and modular buildings are often transportable and move across state boundaries, the SBCAO has developed a program for certification and labeling of the existing modular buildings that are brought into Virginia without the Virginia registration seal.
• Manufactured Housing Safety Regulations – The federal manufactured housing programs under HUD and the implementation of new federal manufactured housing program components mandated by federal law has impacted our programs in Virginia by devoting time and resources to train installers.
D. Regional Cooperation
The inter-local issues that are reviewed by the Commission on Local Government can be contentious and disaffection with Commission findings and recommendations can lead to negative reactions.
• While it has become increasingly difficult to recruit cities and counties to analyze proposed legislation as to its fiscal impact, the Commission anticipates that its interactive website developed to assist with the assessment and cataloging of mandates may also be used to simplify the process by which localities provide fiscal impact data on proposed legislation, thereby increasing their participation in the process.