In the Community

Affordable Housing and the Region's Future

The Hampton Roads Community Foundation started a critical conversation at our Nov. 9 virtual forum, Affordable Housing and the Region’s Future. Experts discussed the state of affordable housing and its impact on our region and innovative solutions to address the crisis.

Read our recap of the event or watch the recording below.


Jonathan Knopf

Executive Director for Programs

HousingForward Virginia

Jonathon Knopf
Jonathan Knopf is the Executive Director for Programs at HousingForward Virginia, where he leads housing research and education efforts across the Commonwealth. His work includes regional and local housing needs assessments, policy generation and implementation, and innovative communications strategies. He specializes in telling stories about Virginia’s housing challenges through data and regularly provides technical assistance to local governments, housing providers, and advocates throughout the state. Jonathan serves on the board of Vibrant Communities Drives Change and has taught urban planning classes at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he also received his master’s in Urban and Regional Planning. See Knopf's slides from his presentation.


Steve Lawson



Steve Lawson is Chair of LAWSON. He is a third-generation builder who in 1993 joined the Lawson Companies, a single and multi-family builder, developer, and manager based in Hampton Roads. The company has been active for 50 years in the financing, development, and management of single and multi-family housing, serving affordable and luxury clients with consistently excellent service and value.

Shernita Bethea

Housing Administrator

Hampton Roads Planning District Commission

Shernita Bethea is the Housing Administrator for the Hampton Roads Planning Commission. In her capacity as a planner, she works with a variety of organizations and agencies in the effort to promote regional approaches to issues pertaining to the elderly population and services for persons with disabilities, as well as various housing issues.


Andrew Friedman

Principal, Progressive Housing Solutions LLC

Andrew Friedman served as Director of the Virginia Beach Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation for 28 years, until 2021. Among his accomplishments is the development and operation of the Virginia Beach Housing Resource Center, a one-stop shop of services, shelter and housing to help address homelessness. He is now the Principal and Owner of Progressive Housing Solutions LLC, providing consulting services on affordable housing, homelessness and neighborhood preservation.


Are you experiencing a housing crisis or know someone who is? Here are some resources that may help.

ForKidsInc. Housing Crisis Hotline:

(757) 587-4202 | Hours of operation: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Housing Assistance

Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development programs to assist with housing needs, from housing rehabilitation to homebuyer resources.

Affordable Housing 101 Toolkit

Includes information on types of affordable housing, a glossary of terms, a guide to creating affordable housing, and a guide to awareness campaigns.

Racial Equity Toolkit

HousingForward Virginia’s guidance for advancing racial equity across Virginia’s housing spectrum.

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