Governor McDonnell Announces Administration

Effort to Reduce Homelessness and Expand Affordable Housing in Commonwealth

 Appoints Senior Economic Advisor to the Governor Bob Sledd to Lead Housing Policy Advisory Committee

McDonnell Makes Announcements while Touring Better Housing Coalition’s Lincoln Mews Apartments in Richmond

RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell today announced a major initiative by his Administration aimed at reducing homelessness and expanding affordable housing in the Commonwealth. While touring the Better Housing Coalition’s Lincoln Mews apartments this morning, Governor Bob McDonnell announced the establishment of Virginia’s first executive housing policy framework, which will help guide the development of a housing policy to be announced in the fall.  The Governor’s policy will address homelessness and expanding affordable housing, as well as workforce housing, economic development, healthy neighborhoods, effective coordination of transportation, environmental issues and other opportunities.  The Governor intends to memorialize the housing policy framework in the next week.

Additionally, the Governor announced the formation of the Housing Policy Advisory Committee, chaired by Bob Sledd, Senior Economic Advisor to the Governor.  Sledd has extensive experience with non-profit housing organizations, including the Better Housing Coalition, and unique understanding of economic issues relating to the housing industry.

Speaking from Lincoln Mews, Governor McDonnell commented, “Affordable and safe housing is a fundamental component of healthy and prosperous communities.  Every Virginian deserves a safe, warm and secure residence to call their own. In this tough economy it is harder than ever for many to attain this basic necessity. Not only does this impact the quality of life of Virginians, housing also has direct implications for economic development, transportation, and the environment.  Therefore, today I am announcing the establishment of the Commonwealth’s first executive housing policy framework, which will be used as a guide to establish our official housing policy which will be announced in the fall.  The framework establishes goals and policy direction, and will lead to further coordination in matters affecting housing throughout executive branch agencies.”

The Governor continued, “I am also announcing a Housing Policy Advisory Committee to help guide our Administration in this comprehensive effort. In selecting a leader to chair the new advisory committee, I could think of no one more experienced in this field than Bob Sledd.  Bob has over a decade of experience working with non-profit housing organizations such as the Better Housing Coalition, and Homeward, Richmond’s regional homeless services coordinator.  He is dedicated to ensuring Virginia’s economic viability and knows that a key component is a successful housing policy resulting in thriving communities. Bob is passionate about this issue, and I thank him for taking on this additional responsibility in our administration.” 

Bob Sledd also remarked, “I have seen how integral housing is to the overall well-being of our fellow Virginians, and to our communities and our economy.  We hope to bring the insights of state agencies, communities and the private and nonprofit sectors together in development of this new policy, guiding future legislation and providing a framework for addressing housing needs throughout the Commonwealth.”

The policy framework will focus on recognizing the role housing policies play in economic development, creating healthy communities and encouraging energy efficiency.  The policy framework will also focus on the changing demographics of Virginia’s population and on increasing the capacity to address the needs of homeless Virginians.  The goal of the framework is to guide decision-making and bring coordination in matters affecting housing throughout executive branch agencies.

The Housing Policy Advisory Committee will be comprised of representatives from state government, private industry groups, local governments, and nonprofit housing providers and consumer representatives.