Governor Bob McDonnell today announced that his upcoming biennial budget will contain considerable new funding to support Virginia's ongoing, successful, homelessness reduction and prevention efforts. The governor will call for over $9.5 million in additional funding for the Virginia Housing Trust Fund, the Rapid Re-Housing Program, and efforts to further enhance data collection. In 2010, Governor McDonnell established Virginia's first executive housing policy framework, which helped to guide the development of a housing policy in the Commonwealth that addresses homelessness and access to affordable housing. These efforts have led to a 16% reduction in overall homelessness in Virginia since 2010.
Speaking about the proposals, Governor McDonnell said, "We have made significant strides in the effort to ensure that every Virginian has a roof over their head. In 2010, we set a goal of decreasing homelessness during this Administration by 15 percent and we are pleased that we have exceeded that goal with a 16 percent reduction in overall homelessness over the last four years, as well as a 17 percent decline in family homelessness. Between 2012 and 2013 homelessness among Virginia's veterans dropped 18 percent. This is progress, but there is much more to be done to ensure that every Virginian has a place to call home and access to the tools they need to get back on their feet and become thriving members of their communities. That is why we are directing over $9.5 million in new funding over the next biennium to assist in these efforts. This funding will continue the progress we have made and strengthen the great work being done through the Virginia Housing Trust Fund and the Rapid Re-Housing Program."
The governor's budget provides the following funding towards homelessness assistance and prevention:
Virginia Housing Trust Fund
Establishes $4 million in general fund appropriation in each year of the biennium for the Virginia Housing Trust Fund.
The funding supports efforts to reduce homelessness by providing low-interest loans and grants through eligible organizations.
Rapid Re-Housing Program
Provides an additional $500,000 in each year of the biennium for the rapid re-housing program, which brings the total for the program to $1 million in each year.
The program assists households experiencing homelessness to quickly obtain permanent housing.
Enhanced Data Collection on Homelessness
Adds $585,413 the first year and $91,782 the second year in general fund appropriations to support the development and implementation of a new statewide application to increase the accuracy and reliability of homeless data collection.
The new database system will help to evaluate the successfulness of the programs being administered throughout the Commonwealth and to establish new avenues for aid to this population.