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Gov. Tim Kaine Addresses Need for Affordable Housing at Conference

Norfolk, Virginia—Creating affordable housing is a vital component to stabilizing our communities across the Commonwealth of Virginia. This was the message Gov. Tim Kaine gave to nearly 1,000 housing advocates, providers and policymakers at the 2006 Governor’s Housing Conference.
In his remarks during a luncheon last Thursday, Kaine said that housing is a very personal issue that affects Virginians from all social and economic backgrounds. He applauded the efforts of housing and community development advocates, like Community Housing Partners (CHPC), to create affordable housing opportunities for our citizens.
"One of our biggest challenges is convincing communities to embrace affordable housing,” Kaine said. “But we are looking at ways to break down the barriers.”
One option Kaine suggested was using the state’s discretionary money to reward localities that are proactive in building affordable housing in their communities. Those governments that inhibit such efforts may not be able to receive grant funding for economic development.
While many housing advocates have been lobbying for a state housing trust fund, Kaine said such an initiative is not likely to take place during this budget year.
However he reiterated that housing must remain a critical part of the state’s economic development plan and that he will work to find new sources of funding for housing.
“Affordable housing must be part of our community and economic development strategies - not as an isolated issue," Kaine said. "For the first time ever, Virginia's strategic economic development plan contains goals and strategies to develop and preserve workforce housing. But my administration cannot solve Virginia's challenges alone. We must recognize and encourage the innovative solutions pursued by public and private partners across Virginia."
Orlando Artze, CHPC's Executive Vice President and COO, agrees with Kaine. "The creation and preservation of affordable housing is a critical need in many communities throughout Virginia," he said. "It's important that we keep working towards creating new sources of support, like the state housing trust fund, while taking full advantage of existing programs."
The Governor’s Housing Conference is held annually to bring public and private, national and regional housing and community development advocates to discuss housing issues. The three-day conference is sponsored by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, Virginia Housing Development Authority, Virginia Housing Commission, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban development – Richmond Field Office, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development.