Concurrent Sessions

Diversity and Inclusion: Winning the training game 

The Diversity and Inclusion proven Learning System is designed to bring awareness and manage workforce diversity effectively. The goal is to create an all-inclusive climate where everyone’s unique qualities are viewed as assets that move an organization closer towards its goals and vision. Participants will be able to work more confidently with the community and more effectively with other cultures. Winning the Training Game has moved beyond traditional training to produce an innovative and productive solution. The complex topic of diversity is presented in an oversized “4 x 5” game format. Twelve participants work together on teams and have fun WHILE learning! Prizes for winners! Limited seating – come early.


The Future of Inclusionary Housing in Virginia

Nearly 500 cities and counties across the nation have some form of Inclusionary Zoning, which incentivizes the set-aside of affordable dwelling units (ADUs) in new residential construction. In Virginia, we have a combination of successful, productive, ineffective and nonexistent ADU ordinances. This session will explore the history and current status and future of inclusionary housing/zoning policy in Virginia. The presenters will focus on three important components including the ability of inclusionary zoning to sustainably provide new affordable housing options across Virginia; the legal framework for inclusionary zoning and examples of best practices and tools for designing inclusionary policies; and review the implementation and progress of a single inclusionary/ADU program in Virginia.


Partnering to Stabilize Housing for Homeless Families

Creative Place-Making is a new concept of fostering more livable and prosperous communities through the arts. Place-Making strengthens the connection between individuals and shared places. Be inspired by the presenter’s demonstration on the national concept of “Creative Place-Making” as a model for housing stability and intervention for previously homeless individuals and households. Rental subsidies funded by HUD, DHCD and the VA are paired with Creative Place-Making interventions to stabilize clients in their new homes. Engaging in home-making creates lasting connections to community, reducing the likelihood that program participants will return to homelessness and increasing the possibility of social reintegration.


Housing Mobility: Confronting housing inequality for housing choice vouchers                              

Housing vouchers are not simply designed to keep people off the street; they should help low-income families move to neighborhoods with access to better schools, healthcare, community service and opportunities. This session will outline the barriers that keep housing voucher recipients from experiencing authentic choice and opportunity the program intended.  By implementing housing mobility programs, housing advocates, public housing agencies and policy makers will empower individuals with vouchers to move to neighborhoods of opportunity with the potential to deconcentrate poverty.


Old School – Fresh Start: Affordable housing meets rural economic development                         

Affordable housing meets local food entrepreneurship in a former rural elementary school.  Learn how a group of diverse partners navigated the complexities of multiple funding sources to create sustainable housing, local food vendor entrepreneurship and bring vibrancy to a rural community. The presenters will take participants through the Old Prices Fork School, a historic rehabilitation and revitalization project of a former elementary school in Southwest Virginia.  The project combines mixed-income rental housing, innovative economic development and local food-based entrepreneurs.


Entrepreneurial Ecosystems       

In large cities and small communities alike, one of the best ways to fill vacancies, prevent new ones and increase the probability of a successful business, is to foster a setting appealing to entrepreneurs and where small businesses can thrive. This is known as an “Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.”  This session will discuss the role of Main Street in entrepreneurial ecosystems, share examples of place-based ecosystem development and highlight some partnerships that have been cultivated in Virginia communities to develop a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in their community.  Learn about the programs, tools and grants available to help communities develop entrepreneurial ecosystems.


Partnering for Neighborhood Revitalization                   

“Get to the Point” is a corridor branding strategy that has taken hold! This session will focus on the collaborative work of Virginia Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), the Storefront for Community Design and the Community Preservation and Development Corporation in partnership over the last five years in the Highland Park/Six Points Area. The partners will highlight their roles in fostering neighborhood revitalization: vacant property rehab, commercial revitalization, community engagement and safety.  Through their collective work, the Highland Park Six Points community has seen an abandoned school building turn into 77 units of senior housing, a new round-about, a new youth innovation center, a LISC-funded safety initiative and a small business facade improvement program.


Who’s Being Left Out of the Housing Market?   

As housing costs rise at a pace faster than wages, many individuals throughout the U.S. are finding it harder and harder to achieve the American dream of homeownership. The “Missing Middle” is a term often used to reference the lack of housing options that fall between the more expensive single-family homes and mid-rise condominiums. This session will explore the “Missing Middle” space and what can be done about it. The presenters will discuss initiatives aimed at filling the gap through zoning reform, flexibility in mixed-income communities, housing Virginia’s millennials and inclusive affordable housing projects.


Why a Health System Might Be Your Next Community Revitalization Investor                               

The role of anchor institutions in housing, health and community revitalization. Over the past year, Housing Virginia conducted an assessment of the connection between housing and health in the Williamsburg region. This review included an exploration of the ways in which housing quality, design, location and affordability affect the health and well-being of the occupants. At the same time, Bon Secours Health System and other health care providers are already taking action to address the housing and health intersection including new programs to meet the critical housing needs of patients as well as improving community health through housing and community development initiatives.


Church Hill: A model for balancing community revitalization and social services               

RVA is the nation’s fourth hottest housing market and Church Hill is one of Richmond’s most sought after and oldest neighborhoods.  Church Hill is a model for balancing community revitalization and social services. Stakeholders include local government, housing agencies and philanthropic supporters. Learn the role each partner played in the revitalization process while systematically balancing the impact of gentrification with socioeconomic priorities. The Church Hill community has laid a foundation on which a diverse, thriving community has started to grow by focusing on housing affordability, first time homebuyers and multi-family/elderly housing development, rezoning, social justice, increased commerce and the advocacy of nonprofit/charitable organizations.


Fair Housing Reforms in Virginia’s Mobile Home Communities                                                     

Mobile homes/trailer park evictions are a growing crisis, threatening closure for several mobile home parks in Virginia. Various nonprofit organizations are exploring options to save the parks and keep residents in their homes. This session will provide details on the newly-formed Manufactured Home Community Coalition of Virginia (MHCCV) network of housing, service and legal nonprofits that support thousands of Virginians living in mobile home parks. The presenters will share lessons learned from the Rudd’s Trailer Park Fair Housing settlement with Housing and Urban Development. Participants will learn how a national nonprofit helps mobile home park residents take control of their destiny by purchasing the park and operating as a cooperative.


Beyond Blatant Discrimination: Identifying housing policies with a hidden impact 

It is hard to imagine that the blatant “door slamming” housing discrimination of the past has been replaced with less obvious, though no less harmful, methods of excluding individuals from housing they deserve.  Even the best of intentions can violate the Fair Housing Act if a policy has an unjustified disproportionate impact of protected classes or if there is a less discriminatory alternative. In this session, Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia (HOME) will explore several housing policies that, while on their face value may meet a neutral business justification, negatively impact immigrants, people of color, individuals with disabilities and domestic violence survivors. In addition to tools for identifying similar facially neutral policies in your communities, the speakers will discuss actual case studies that cover criminal history policies, citizenship requirements, nuisance ordinances and exclusionary zoning policies.


Turning a Battleship in a Canal: Strategies for rural economic development               

Are rural towns being left behind? Many rural communities and small towns in Virginia and throughout the nation face some of the same challenges of declining rural populations, fewer farmers and working farms. Rural community and economic development is hinged on a multifaceted strategy.  The presenter will share community development strategies that foster the sustainability of workable land and the conservation of natural resources, investments in infrastructure, downtown revitalization and main street improvements. This session will motivate attendees to return to their community with a determination to unharness the potential for rural economic development growth.



Fostering Community Inclusiveness through Life Skills and Education

Fostering inclusive communities does not only address revitalization and development. Community Inclusiveness does not stop once housing is acquired; it must also incorporate education and life skills for residents. This session breaks down the four integrated components of the Catholics Housing Choice Life Skills Program: personal finances, employment readiness, physical well-being and the tools to build community relationships. The Choices program is designed to impact every aspect of the participant’s life.


Inclusive Outreach Strategies for Hard to Reach Low-Income residents

Knecting-Outreach-Texting-Partnerships! The City of Alexandria Virginia’s Office of Housing has developed a variety of outreach strategies to communicate more effectively with their diverse low-income residents. This session will outline their redevelopment plan, dedicated staffing and other resources used to increase awareness and access to existing city housing stock.  By customizing the outreach strategies, they are able to communicate with and honor Northern Virginia’s culturally, racially, socially, economically, ethnically and linguistically diverse communities.


Housing Authorities Using Data for Energy Conservation

The Little Ten Housing Authorities of Southwest Virginia served as host to Climate Corps Fellow program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This session will take participants through the benchmarking process and the challenges of collecting utility data from residents.  The presenters will share how the Housing Authorities used the information for utility efficiency.


Data: The connection between evictions and homelessness

In this session, inspired by Pulitzer prize-winning author Matthew Desmond’s critically acclaimed book “Evicted,” participants will learn how data demonstrates the connection between evictions and homelessness. The discussion will focus on the overlap of evictions and homelessness, policy options that address the overlap and programmatic innovations to help individuals secure and maintain stable housing.


LIHTC: Understanding the federal government’s largest housing program                                        

Can Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) continue to meet the demands of affordable new and rehabilitated rental housing? The LIHTC is the federal government’s primary method for promoting affordable housing by encouraging private investment for low-income households. In the three decades since the program was enacted, an estimated 3 million affordable housing units have benefited low-income households, homeless individuals and the elderly. This session will provide a broad overview of the LIHTC programs strengths, challenges and looming tax reforms. 


Inclusive Downtowns: Aging in place and elderly friendly strategies                                                

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s recent statistical brief “Sixty-Five Plus in the United States,” one in five Americans will be over the age of 65 by 2050.  What does this mean to downtown and Main Street revitalization? It means economic development professionals, public-private partnerships and local municipalities must plan for this by re-envisioning their Main Street and downtown revitalization strategies. The rise in inclusive and healthy communities will drive downtown revitalization while enhancing the quality of life for individuals of all ages and abilities.


Organizational Sustainability: Adapting and thriving!     

Take the Sustainability Challenge! This panel will highlight current challenges facing housing organizations and share how the Nonprofit Sustainability Challenge (NSC), a performance driving initiative, helped them to tackle their sustainability challenges. The presenter will talk about past participants’ sustainability challenges, focusing on two key components.  Challenge centric: Identifies one of the most critical challenges facing the sustainability of their organization. Performance driven: Challenges typically demand that the participants step outside of their comfort zone and go beyond business as usual and taking risks. The program is designed to enhance accountability for achieving success.


Tiny Homes: Fad or future? 

What’s really behind the “Tiny Home” movement? Are Tiny Homes here to stay and do they offer new options for affordable housing?  The speaker is a Tiny House dweller with inside scoop on what motivates someone to live in a Tiny Home. The session will explore the personal, regulatory and policy challenges of Tiny Home ownership.


Reframing the Meaning of Affordable Housing

When most people hear the phrase "affordable housing," they already have some preconceived notions about what that means. While practitioners know that affordable housing policies benefit society as a whole, not everybody sees it that way. This session will focus on new methods to reframe how providers and supporters can best convey the value of affordable housing.  Earlier this year, Enterprise Community Partners and the FrameWorks Institute released the report “You Don’t Have to Live Here: Why Housing Messages Are Backfiring and 10 Things We Can Do About It." Expect to learn why most housing messages backfire, best practices in housing messaging and how to implement these recommendations.


Virginia’s MAPBOOK: Regional data to map the housing affordability crisis                          

Have you ever wished there was a way to analyze your organizations housing data at the state, regional and local level? Well, you are in luck! This session will take participants through Housing Virginia’s “MAPBOOK” web-based mapping and data visualization platforms that illustrate the geography of affordable housing issues in Virginia. The affordable housing crisis is a complex issue with many origins. MAPBOOK connects housing with other critical policy areas and translates the complex data into impactful graphics for a wide variety of audiences.


Community Land Trusts: Inclusive communities

Do you need a roadmap to start a Community Land Trust (CLT)? Community Land Trusts are designed to preserve affordable housing stock in perpetuity, which can help create diverse and inclusive communities. Industry experts will walk participants through the complexities of the process. This session will explore ways CLT’s can support and create diverse, inclusive and vibrant neighborhoods while mitigating some of the detrimental aspects of gentrification. Along with shared experiences in establishing a new CLT, learn about future policy priorities and the role a partner plays with the affordable housing programs.


Using Data to Foster Healthy and Equitable Communities                                                                 

Contemporary thought on the topic of healthy communities extends well beyond the accessibility of health care and recognizes the importance of the vitality, equity and inclusivity of a local housing market. As part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Invest Health Initiative, Reinvestment Fund completed a Market Value Analysis (MVA) for the city of Richmond and Henrico and Chesterfield Counties in the summer of 2017. The MVA is a field-validated, stakeholder informed statistical and spatial analysis of a real estate market that Reinvestment Fund has completed in more than 30 areas across the US. This session will explore the results of the Richmond area MVA and the proposed uses of the study to engage new public and private investors in order to align development efforts in support of healthy communities in the Greater Richmond region.


Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference LLC
600 East Main Street, Suite 300 • Richmond, Virginia 23219
(804) 371-7000 •