HOME’s 2022 Legislative Session Highlights
Supported increased housing choice and affordability through rental assistance
Budget Line 114 N: Virginia Housing Stability Fund – PASSED
The state budget included language directing the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to create a stakeholder workgroup to develop guidelines for a state-funded housing voucher program. This program would provide long-term rental assistance to low-income, very low-income, and extremely low-income renters. The workgroup will share a report of its recommendations by November 30, 2022. Unfortunately, the budget did not include funding for the program, but only directed the creation of this workgroup.
Supported greater investments in affordable housing
Budget Line 114 E.1: Virginia Housing Trust Fund – PASSED
The state budget increased the investment in the Virginia Housing Trust Fund (VHTF) to $75 million in each year of the biennium. This investment surpasses that of previous years but was only half the amount for which HOME advocated. The VHTF is used to increase the supply of affordable housing and reduce homelessness across the state.
Opposed impediments to disability-related accommodations
HB 586 (VanValkenburg): Assistance Animals in Housing – DID NOT PASS
HB586 would have restricted access to reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities who need to keep an assistance animal in their home by limiting ways to verify this need. The bill would have also created an unnecessary criminal penalty for misrepresenting one’s need for an assistance animal. The Senate General Laws and Technology Committee voted down the bill and recommended that the Housing Commission study the issue.
Supported education requirements to reduce real estate appraisal bias
HB 284 (Coyner): Fair Housing Training for Real Estate Appraisers – PASSED
HB 284 adds two hours of fair housing or appraisal bias training to continuing education requirements for the renewal of real estate appraiser licenses.
Advocated for stronger protections against religious discrimination in housing
HB 1063 (Shin): Protecting Religious Expression – PASSED
HB 1063 clarifies that housing discrimination on the basis of religious expression (e.g., religiously specific apparel or grooming) is prohibited.
Supported fairer access to appeals in eviction cases
HB 614 (Bourne) and SB 474 (McClellan): Appeal Bond Waiver for Eviction Cases – DID NOT PASS
HB 614 and SB 474 would have allowed appeal bonds to be waived for low-income tenants in eviction cases. These bills were unfortunately vetoed by Governor Youngkin.
Opposed rollbacks on source of funds protections
HB 1097 (Brewer): Landlord Exemption to Source of Funds Prohibitions – DID NOT PASS
HB 1097 would have allowed landlords with up to 10 units to discriminate against housing choice voucher holders and others because of their source of funds. Currently, only landlords who own 4 or fewer units are exempt from the prohibition on source of funds discrimination.
Opposed loopholes in the fair housing obligations of organizational housing providers
SB 177 (Peake), HB 753 (Adams), and HB 1137 (Walker): Religious Exemptions – DID NOT PASS
SB 177, HB 753, and HB 1137 would have allowed religious organizations to restrict housing services to members only, even if they restrict their membership based on race, color, national origin, sex, elderliness, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, or disability. Two patrons (Peake and Adams) removed the problematic language from their bills after HOME communicated its concerns. All three bills failed to become law.