RD14 - Virginia Housing Commission 2012 Annual Report

Executive Summary:
The Virginia Housing Commission (VHC), a state legislative commission, has legislative members and three Governor's appointees, who work throughout the interim to study issues and create and recommend housing-related legislation for passage by the Virginia General Assembly. Topics are chosen for study by the Commission chair with the input of work group chairs, in addition to referred bills from the past General Assembly session. Issues regarding neighborhood stabilization and revitalization, mortgages, affordability of housing, housing and its relation to the environment, and other issues relevant to housing are included in the yearly work plan.

The Commission is divided into four permanent work groups, Affordable Housing and Real Estate Law, Common Interest Communities, Environmental Issues, and Neighborhood Transitions, as well as sub-workgroups as needed for particular intense study and discussion. Sub-workgroups for this interim were Continuing Care Retirement Communities and another, Time-shares. Each workgroup or sub-workgroup is composed of legislators and interested stakeholders. All sides of an issue are represented in discussion in order to work together to form solutions and good compromise legislation in preparation for the legislative session. All work group meeting agendas and summaries are posted to the Virginia Housing Commission website ( http://dls.state.va.us/houscomm.htm).

The Commission was created by the 1970 Session of the General Assembly "to study the ways and means best designed to utilize existing resources and develop facilities that will provide the Commonwealth's growing population with adequate housing," and became a permanent legislative commission in (HB 1231)2004. The Commission works to fulfill its initial mandate while also expanding its scope of topics to incorporate the changing housing needs of the Commonwealth.

Chaired by Delegate John Cosgrove, with Senator Mamie Locke serving as the vice-chair, the Commission has 11 members: three members of the Virginia Senate, five members of the House of Delegates, and three citizen members appointed by the Governor. All members bring housing expertise to the Commission and have a strong interest in housing concerns.

The Commission held four full Commission meetings throughout the 2012 interim where speakers from the Federal Reserve Bank, Department of Housing and Community Development, and Virginia Housing Development Authority, among other entities, worked to give the Commission members background information on housing trends and best practices in the Commonwealth. All presentations are available on the VHC website. In addition to full Commission meetings, work group meetings were held throughout the interim to provide for a more intensive discussion involving interested parties. All meetings were open to the public, and meeting notices were posted on the General Assembly and VHC websites.

Several pieces of legislation were recommended by the Commission for the 2013 Legislative Session and they include the following: a bill to update the Mortgage loan origination industry; SAFE Act, a time-share bill focusing on the developer control period, and a bill concerning alternative on site sewers. Many other proposed bills were discussed but not recommended by the commission members.