As you are aware, the Virginia Housing Coalition (VHC) and the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness (VCEH) are continuing to explore the possibility of joining forces and becoming one organization. We wanted to provide our supporters with an update on the process and next steps. The joint merger study committee met in February and March to evaluate the potential of a merger. During the past few weeks, a consultant has interviewed many stakeholders around the state to discuss a possible merger. The committee also has closely reviewed and analyzed the results of the recent merger survey, which was shared with members, stakeholders and supporters. Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey!
The results of the survey showed clear support for a potential merger and many participants mentioned both organizations’ shared missions of expanding affordable housing opportunity and ending homelessness in Virginia. Increased collaboration was cited and many indicated that an integration of VHC and VCEH could lead to more visibility, heightened efficiencies and greater impact. Over 82% of survey respondents, some of whom are not current members, stated that they would consider joining a merged organization, highlighting the support for exploring an integration.
The stakeholder interviews and survey responses offered a great deal of insights. A wide cross-section of affiliations were represented and the largest set of participants included:
- Nonprofit Homeless Service Providers
- Nonprofit Housing Providers
- Agency/Local Government
Activities that were ranked highest as “extremely important” in the survey were:
- Advocacy on affordable housing with the Virginia General Assembly
- Advocacy on homelessness with the Virginia General Assembly
- Advocacy on affordable housing with state agencies
- Advocacy on affordable housing with federal agencies
There also were a number of questions posed about the potential merger, including how to strike an equitable balance between homelessness and affordable housing issues, providing more technical assistance and training and how the new organization would identify priorities. The joint merger study committee will address these questions in coming work sessions and meetings. Additionally, Boards of Directors for both VHC and VCEH are planning to host a joint meeting in April to provide input on the structure and framework of a possible newly formed organization. If both organizations believe a potential merger is in its best interests, each Board would need to approve such action independently and at a later date.
You will continue to receive updates on this process and if you have any questions, please contact Alice Tousignant, VCEH interim executive director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can read Frequently Asked Questions on this process on the VHC website.