February 24, 2014 Legislative Update

The House and Senate have both approved legislation that will bring Virginia’s housing laws into closer compliance with the Federal Fair Housing Act.  HB 527, introduced by Delegate Pogge, clarifies that a home with eight or fewer persons with disabilities living in it must be regarded as a single family residence, regardless of whether the home has residential staff or not.   Some localities had used the lack of clarity in the law to block group homes.

Efforts to expand the Livable Home Tax Credit appear to have been defeated.  SB 57 (Marsden) would have doubled the amount of money available as a tax credit for those who make renovations to their home to make them more accessible.  The bill was withdrawn by the patron.  SB 62 (Puller) as originally drafted would have doubled the amount of money available as a tax credit, also, but the bill was amended in committee.  The bill leaves the total amount of funds available for the tax credit unchanged and instead creates an additional fund available as grants to developers and home owners to make homes accessible.  The grants would not be available to anyone who takes the tax credit.  SB 62 is now before the House Appropriations committee; funding for the grant program must be included in the budget.

The disAbility Law Center of Virginia supports full integration of people with disabilities in the Commonwealth.  The mission of the disAbility Law Center of Virginia is, through zealous and effective advocacy and legal representation, to protect and advance legal, human, and civil rights of persons with disabilities; combat and prevent abuse, neglect, and discrimination; and promote independence, choice, and self-determination by persons with disabilities.  Contact us at info@dLCV.org or at 1-800-552-3962 for more information.