Vol. 26 Iss. 20 - June 07, 2010



Housing Policy Framework of the Commonwealth of Virginia

Housing helps define communities and is a major component in determining the quality of life for individuals, families, and the Commonwealth's general prosperity. Along with a good job, affordable housing provides the building blocks for the American Dream. Housing has been a major force in the prosperity of the Commonwealth. A healthy economic environment for housing significantly contributes to the vitality of the overall economy.

Clear and consistent housing policy is an essential factor in economic development; the provision of human services; and the development of transportation systems. The location, arrangement and cost of housing also intersect with broad urban and rural policies. Because of these interactions, housing policy within the executive branch should be coordinated with and be an integral part of each of these parallel policy initiatives.

Within the legislative branch, the Virginia Housing Commission has recognized the importance of developing policy principles intended to aid the Commission in considering the effect of legislative proposals and issues brought before it. Similarly, the executive branch should develop a similar policy framework to help guide decision-making and promote coordination across programs. At a time when unprecedented budgetary issues require that the state use its resources in the most efficient and effective manner possible, the housing policy framework can serve as a means for identifying and implementing appropriate actions within the bounds of the core functions of government.

Housing Policy Framework of the Commonwealth of Virginia

By virtue of the authority vested in me under Article V of the Constitution of Virginia and under the laws of the Commonwealth, including but not limited to Chapter 1 of Title 2.2 of the Code of Virginia, I hereby establish the following housing policy framework for the executive branch. The purpose of the housing policy framework is to establish broad goals and policy direction related to housing policy and to coordinate a comprehensive and effective housing policy with other public policy areas and initiatives across multiple secretariats within the executive branch.

The housing policy framework for the Commonwealth should be consistent with the following housing principles.

1. Recognize the role of the housing industry as a critical economic development engine within the Commonwealth by streamlining regulations, ensuring robust finance and construction sectors, promoting the development of workforce housing, reducing commute times between home and work, and increasing residential access to transportation systems, while furthering public understanding of housing finance and economic literacy.

2. Promote sustainable and vibrant communities through measures that promote mixed use development, increase energy efficiency and use of cost effective green building concepts, support the rehabilitation of substandard housing, clarify the role of community associations in common interest communities, and expand public-private cooperation in addressing affordable safe housing.

3. Ensure that a range of housing options can be provided to meet the housing needs of a dynamic and changing population, achieve proper balance between homeownership and rental options, promote a continuum of quality housing options for special needs populations, match existing subsidies with areas of housing need, and increase the emphasis on fair housing (eliminating barriers to housing).

4. Increase capacity to address the needs of homeless Virginians by focusing on the reduction of chronic homelessness, ensuring the continued viability of the safety net of shelters and services, and investing in transitional and permanent supportive housing.

The Governor's Senior Economic Advisor, the Secretary of Commerce and Trade, the Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development, and the Executive Director of the Virginia Housing Development Authority along with other Cabinet members and their agencies will be responsible for carrying out the provisions of this order.

This Executive Order shall be effective upon its signing and shall remain in full force and effect unless amended or rescinded by further executive order.

Given under my hand and under the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia this 30th day of April 2010.

/s/ Robert F. McDonnell



The Virginia Prisoner and Juvenile Offender
Re-entry Council

Section 2.2-221.1 of the Code of Virginia directs the Secretary of Public Safety to establish an integrated system for coordinating the planning and provision of offender transitional and re-entry services among state, local, and non-profit agencies in order to prepare offenders for successful transition into their communities upon release from incarceration. This code section also requires the Secretary to ensure that a system is in place for improving opportunities for treatment, employment and housing while individuals are on subsequent probation, parole or post-release supervision.

Each year, approximately 13,500 adult and 500 juvenile offenders are projected to be released from incarceration. The Commonwealth of Virginia seeks to improve public safety by fostering a successful transition of these offenders into their communities; and by reducing the rates at which they returned to prison. In order to reduce recidivism, improve public safety, and reduce the number of crime victims, consistent with § 53.1-32.2 of the Code of Virginia, we must ensure that offenders released from incarceration have been adequately prepared to return to their communities. This preparation includes equipping offenders to find employment; providing educational opportunities; ensuring treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues; and assisting offenders to re-integrate into a stable home environment. Successful integration of offenders requires collaboration, coordination, and partnership among state and local agencies, community supervision agencies, service providers, faith-based organizations, law enforcement agencies, courts, communities, and family members. Accordingly, I am taking the following measures:

Amending and Renaming the Virginia Prisoner Re-entry Policy Academy

By virtue of authority vested in me as Governor under Article V, Section 1 of the Constitution of Virginia, and Sections 2.2-103 and 2.2-104 of the Code of Virginia, I hereby direct the Office of the Secretary of Public Safety to amend and alter the Virginia Prisoner Re-entry Policy Academy, originally established pursuant to Executive Order 97 (October 2009) which is set to expire December 31, 2010. The Virginia Prisoner Re-entry Policy Academy shall be renamed the Virginia Prisoner and Juvenile Offender Re-entry Council with the aim of promoting re-entry strategies for adult and juvenile offenders.

The Virginia Prisoner and Juvenile Offender Re-entry Council (the Council) shall be chaired by the Secretary of Public Safety or her designee and comprised of the following Executive Branch representatives or their designees:

· Secretary of Commerce and Trade

· Secretary of Education

· Secretary of Health and Human Resources

· Secretary of Transportation

· Senior Economic Advisor to the Governor

· Commonwealth's Attorneys' Services Council

· Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services

· Department of Corrections

· Department of Correctional Education

· Department of Criminal Justice Services

· Department of Education

· Department of Health

· Department of Housing and Community Development

· Department of Juvenile Justice

· Department of Medical Assistance Services

· Department of Planning and Budget

· Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation

· Department of Rehabilitative Services

· Department of Social Services

· Department of Veterans Services

· Virginia Employment Commission

· Virginia Indigent Defense Commission

· Virginia Parole Board

The Governor may appoint additional members as he deems appropriate. The Secretary of Public Safety shall invite additional participation by the Attorney General of Virginia, General Assembly, Supreme Court, Virginia Sheriffs Association, Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, faith-based organizations, and Community Advocacy Groups. All Executive Branch agencies of the Commonwealth shall participate in activities of the Council upon request. Support staff will be provided by the Office of the Secretary of Public Safety, Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Office of the Secretary of Education, and other agencies as the Secretary of Public Safety may designate.

The Council shall have the following functions:

1. Identify barriers that exist in each member's department or agency that may impede successful transition of offenders returning to their communities; and develop and implement procedures to overcome such barriers, to include job training, education, housing, and substance abuse treatment.

2. Improve collaboration and coordination of transitional services, including providing cross-training; sharing information among state agencies; and developing policies, procedures, and programs with well-defined, performance-based outcomes that enhance re-entry management.

3. Establish partnerships between community colleges and the business sector to promote employment and transitional jobs for released offenders.

4. Engage local agencies, community-based social service providers, community organizations, faith-based organizations, as well as other stakeholders, in promoting successful re-entry policies and programs.

5. Submit a status report of actions taken to improve offender transitional and re-entry services to the Governor and the Chairmen of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees no later than December 15 of each year.

6. Meet at the call of the Secretary of Public Safety or her designee and as provided in procedures adopted by the Council.

The Prisoner Re-entry Coordinator, in working with the Council, shall develop a long-term strategic plan for achieving the goal of reducing offender recidivism for those released from incarceration. The plan shall set out comprehensive strategies to be employed while offenders are incarcerated and to continue following their release. It shall have measurable objectives and establish specific outcome performance measures. The plan shall identify methods of improving communication, sharing of information, and collaborating between state and local agencies. Such a plan shall be submitted to the Governor for approval no later than December 31, 2010, and shall be updated by December 31 of each succeeding year.

The Council shall establish work groups and subcommittees to implement the provisions of the strategic plan and other re-entry reforms of the Commonwealth to assist offenders with jobs, housing, substance abuse treatment, medical care, and mental health services, with specific inclusion of women, juveniles, and veterans. Additionally, the Governor's Re-entry Council and the appropriate work group shall work collaboratively with the Juvenile Re-entry Advisory Group established by the Virginia Commission on Youth on improving the success and safety of juveniles returning to their community.

Effective Date of the Executive Order

This Executive Order shall be effective upon its signing and shall remain in full force and effect unless amended or rescinded by further executive order.

Given under my hand and under the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia this 11th day of May 2010.

/s/ Robert F. McDonnell