Recent News


Eligibility criteria expanded to include businesses that received federal CARES Act funds, supply chain partners affected by closures RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Rebuild VA, the $70 million economic recovery fund launched in August, is expanding its eligibility criteria to allow more small businesses to apply. Businesses that received funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and supply chain partners of businesses whose normal operations were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are now eligible to receive grants of up to $10,000. Businesses that have received federal funds must certify that they will only use the Rebuild VA grant for recurring expenses and that the grant will not be used to cover the same expenses as the other CARES Act funds. Rebuild VA, which is administered by the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD), successfully launched on August 10. SBSD and its program partners, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Virginia Tourism Corporation, and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, made the decision to expand eligibility criteria after analysis of eligible and ineligible applications received within the first 30 days of the launch. “When we initially launched Rebuild VA, we focused on reaching the small businesses and nonprofit organizations most in need,” said Governor Northam. “I am deeply grateful for the work of our state agencies to swiftly adjust the parameters of this program so we can assist more Virginia businesses as they weather this health crisis and build back stronger.” Eligible businesses and nonprofits must demonstrate that their normal operations were limited by Governor Northam’s Executive Orders Fifty-Three or Fifty-Five, or that they were directly impacted by the closure of such businesses. In March, Governor Northam took executive action to protect the health and safety of Virginians, which included limiting operations for food and beverage, non-essential brick and mortar retail, exercise and fitness, entertainment and public amusement, personal care and personal grooming, and private campground and overnight summer camps. Expanded business sectors now eligible to apply for Rebuild VA grants include small hotels and bed and breakfasts lodging facilities along with film companies supporting production in the Commonwealth. Businesses that provide goods or services for those identified in one or more of the eligible business categories previously mentioned are now eligible. Businesses must also certify that they have not received grant or loan dollars from federal, state, or local CARES Act funded programs, or if they have received CARES Act funding, that they will use the Rebuild VA grant only for recurring expenses. These businesses must also certify that the Rebuild VA funds will not be used to cover the same expenses as other CARES Act funds. Rebuild VA still requires that businesses and nonprofit organizations must be in good standing, have annual gross revenues of no more than $1.5 million, and have no more than 25 employees. Rebuild VA funding may be utilized for the following eligible expenses: Payroll support, including paid sick, medical, or family leave, and costs related to the continuation of group health care benefits during those periods of leave; Employee salaries; Mortgage payments, rent, and utilities; Principal and interest payments for any business loans from national or state-chartered banking, savings and loan institutions, or credit unions, that were incurred before or during the emergency; Eligible personal protective equipment, cleaning and disinfecting materials, or other working capital needed to address COVID-19 response. For additional information about Rebuild VA, expanded eligibility criteria, covered expenses, and how to submit an application, please visit

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Program advances downtown revitalization, business development RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today welcomed the towns of Cape Charles, Onancock, Tappahannock, and Tazewell to the Virginia Main Street program. The newly designated communities completed a competitive application process and will receive intensive services to help strengthen their downtowns, administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development. These include market analysis, marketplace development, capacity building, design assistance, organization development, economic strategies, and façade renderings for redevelopment projects. “These new Virginia Main Street communities are eager to revitalize their commercial districts and create opportunities for growth,” said Governor Northam. “For more than three decades, the Virginia Main Street program has worked to spur economic development through historic preservation. Downtowns are the heart and soul of small towns, and Virginia is committed to helping them recover from the pandemic and remain sustainable for generations to come.” Since 1985, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has been providing assistance to localities engaged in downtown commercial district revitalization through the Virginia Main Street program. Virginia uses the National Main Street Center’s® comprehensive, incremental Main Street Approach® to downtown revitalization, which is built around a community’s unique heritage, culture, and historic building attributes. The Commonwealth now has 30 designated Virginia Main Street communities and 90 DHCD Community Affiliates. “Using local resources and initiatives, Virginia Main Street helps communities develop strategies to stimulate long-term economic growth in downtowns across the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “We look forward to seeing how these four communities take advantage of their new Main Street designation.” Since 1985, Virginia Main Street communities have generated more than $1.3 billion in private investment. New businesses locating, expanding, or relocating to Virginia Main Street communities have resulted in a net gain of 15,522 jobs. The following are the new designated Virginia Main Street organizations: Cape Charles Main Street Located on the Chesapeake Bay in Northampton County near the southern tip of the Eastern Shore, Cape Charles Main Street has experienced economic prosperity over the last several years. Its sandy beaches and deep-water harbor have attracted tourists, new residents, businesses, and investors. Cape Charles Main Street continues to advocate for its historic downtown and vibrant bayside by supporting the business community, enhancing residents’ quality of life, and preserving the town’s character. The organization has been successful in implementing its Main Street program and continues to receive support from public and private sectors. Onancock Main Street Initiative The waterfront town of Onancock is situated in the middle of the Eastern Shore, equidistant between Cape Charles and Chincoteague in Accomack County. The town sits on Onancock Creek, a former steamboat port that served as the main export point for agricultural crops for the Eastern Shore to Baltimore. Today, Onancock boasts Victorian architecture, galleries, and restaurants and is a popular stopping point along Route 13. The Onancock Main Street Initiative developed a strategic plan focused on building a local brand with dedicated volunteers, strong community engagement, and sustainable funding. Tappahannock Main Street The town of Tappahannock is a historic seaport on the Rappahannock River in Essex County. Tappahannock is the commercial center of the region, accessible by several major roadways and within walking distance of a full-service marina. The Tappahannock Main Street program is committed to long-term management of its downtown revitalization. Tazewell Project Located in Southwest Virginia along the Clinch River, the town of Tazewell is embracing its natural and cultural resources to help reposition its economy. The town is a popular destination for motorcyclists—even without direct interstate access—thanks to the “Back of the Dragon” route with 32 miles of road with over 300 curves. Tazewell is also listed on the National and Virginia landmark registers because it contains historic resources, distinct pre-1900 architectural styles, and the Hometown of the Clinch regional eco-tourism initiative. The Tazewell Today 501(c)3 nonprofit has goals to leverage its unique position to increase retail traffic, restaurant activity, and attract lodgers through developing its downtown. For additional information about the Virginia Main Street program, visit


Governor will match $2 million IKEA donation with $2 million from Virginia’s COVID-19 Relief Fund RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced $4 million in funding for the Legal Services Corporation of Virginia, which will support 20 Legal Aid attorneys in providing services to Virginia tenants facing eviction for the next two years. This critical investment comes as thousands of Virginians continue to be at risk of eviction and is supported in part by a $2 million donation from IKEA U.S. Community Foundation. The Governor will match the donation with $2 million from Virginia’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, which was approved by the General Assembly in April. “Our Commonwealth faced an eviction crisis before COVID-19 arrived in early March, and the ongoing global pandemic is making this problem even worse,” said Governor Northam. “We are deeply grateful to IKEA for this generous donation that, coupled with money from the COVID-19 Relief Fund and other federal resources, will help more Virginians stay in their homes as we fight this virus. In an unprecedented crisis and financial uncertainty, we must be able to get relief to vulnerable populations quickly and efficiently—this additional funding will make that possible.” IKEA Retail U.S. has stores in Norfolk and Woodbridge and employs approximately 550 Virginians. As part of the company’s efforts to support COVID-19 recovery across the country, IKEA is providing partner states with a donation equal to the amount given to their employees in the form of unemployment benefits. Housing security continues to be a top priority for Virginia amid the ongoing public health crisis, and Governor Northam asked that the $2 million donation from IKEA to the Commonwealth be directed to support eviction relief. IKEA has continued to follow Governor Northam’s orders to protect the health and safety of both employees and customers. After Governor Northam issued a statewide Stay at Home order, IKEA closed its two Virginia retail locations to keep their staff and customers safe. Now IKEA is giving back to ensure the Commonwealth has the funding to provide essential services and goods to those who need it most.   “We are appreciative of the ongoing support from the Commonwealth of Virginia, including the unemployment funds paid to our co-workers who were furloughed in the early weeks of the pandemic,” said Javier Quiñones, IKEA Retail U.S. president. “People are the heart of our business, and these unemployment benefits helped IKEA U.S. co-workers during a difficult time. We now have a better understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on our business, and we’ve decided to pay it forward to support the ongoing relief efforts in our local communities.”  This funding will be matched by $2 million from Virginia’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, which is supported by tax revenue from electronic skill machines. Governor Northam proposed this one-year alternative funding mechanism as a way of providing additional support to small businesses, Virginians who are out of work due to the pandemic, and individuals struggling to stay in their homes. Although $1.5 million per year for Legal Aid was unallotted from Virginia’s biennial budget, this $4 million in funding will allow for additional support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Legal Aid attorneys play a critical role in eviction diversion in the Commonwealth—Virginia families facing eviction have successful outcomes 72 percent of the time when represented by Legal Aid lawyers, as opposed to just 34 percent without representation. Governor Northam also established the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP) with an initial $50 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds and proposed an additional $88 million in funding for the Housing Trust Fund over the biennium to prevent evictions and expand affordable housing. Since launching at the end of June, the RMRP has served more than 3,100 households in Virginia, and over 60 percent of the households served have children in the home. The Legal Services Corporation of Virginia funds and oversees the work of nine regional Legal Aid programs and a statewide support center, the Virginia Poverty Law Center, that provide services to low-income Virginians in every city and county in the Commonwealth. Watch the video of today’s announcement here.

Upcoming Events

Rent and Mortgage Relief Program

The Rent and Mortgage Relief Program will launch on Monday, June 29. Click here to find out if you may be eligible.

COVID-19 Homeless Assistance and Prevention

Those experiencing homelessness or other housing crisis should contact their local crisis assistance hotline by clicking here to find your local hotline.

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a market-based collaborative effort among Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, while driving economic growth. DHCD, in coordination with the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, will administer just over half of the proceeds from the RGGI cap and trade program to energy efficiency programs benefiting low-income Virginians by making investments in affordable housing.

Virginia Governor's Housing Conference

Mark your calendar for the virtual 2020 Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference Nov. 18-20. Join us for this three-day event packed full of educational sessions led by experts in housing, finance, and community development.

Pool and Spa Safety

In the midst of summer, pool safety is at the forefront of our minds. Check out multiple resources to keep your family safe in and around pools. 

Local Government Exchange Program

The Virginia Local Government Exchange Program will serve as a vehicle to explore and build stronger relationships between community leaders in our vast state. This pilot program is a partnership of the Governor’s Office, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) and Virginia Municipal League (VML).

Partners for Better Communities Podcast

Each episode features the voices of leaders and change makers across the commonwealth. We will look at the innovation and inspiration at play as local, regional and state leaders work together to create safe, affordable and prosperous communities.

Virginia Disparity Study

Virginia has commissioned BBC Research & Consulting (BBC) to conduct a disparity study to assess whether barriers exist for minority- or woman-owned businesses that make it more difficult for them to compete for commonwealth contracts.

Virginia Main Street Blog

Check out the latest happenings in the Main Street and downtown revitalization world through the Virginia Main Street Blog.

2018 Code Development Process

The Virginia Building Codes are updated through the code development process. Virginia is a leader in building and fire code development, and stakeholder input is vital to Virginia’s code development process. Participation is encouraged and remote participation is made possible through cdpVA.

Landlord Tenant Handbook

The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (VRLTA) handbook has been prepared to provide information on the rights, remedies and responsibilities of landlords and renters concerning the rental process. Before signing a lease, prospective tenants should read and understand the terms of the contract. Consulting a lawyer or the landlord for clarification of the rental agreement is advisable.