LISC is involved with public policy issues, specifically those that pertain to community development and affordable housing. The motto, “We help neighbors build strong communities,” serves as a basis and reflection for our public policy work.

To learn more about our public policy work, please contact Jane Ferrara, Executive Director, at (804) 505-4703 at jferrara@lisc.org.


Community development advocates rebuilding disinvested neighborhoods to improve people’s lives, boost local economies and strengthen the health of our communities. Community development takes many forms and involves a variety of partners. The Virginia LISC advocacy effort raises the awareness of all potential public and private partners with research and information that illustrates how to improve the overall quality of life. The following are examples of general themes that all community development advocacy efforts share:

  • Community development is both a “bottom-up” and “top-down” strategy that engages political leaders in crafting solutions with community residents.
  • Community development is holistic, because neighborhoods are not one dimensional. Community development efforts encompass a broad spectrum of activities, such as housing production; education; employment; childcare; health services; encouragement of diversity in race, ethnicity and economic situation; crime prevention; economic development; and market revitalization, among others.
  • Community development is based on the idea that the conditions of a neighborhood – both positive and negative – directly affect the people who live in those neighborhoods. Therefore, in order to improve the lives of residents, improvements must be made to the neighborhoods in which they reside. Further, neighborhood conditions strongly impact the local, regional and national economy.
  • Community development is an economic development activity. Vibrant communities are connected to the regional economy because they attract investment and generate employment opportunities.

While community development historically has focused on challenged neighborhoods, it’s not about making poor neighborhoods better for poor people. It’s about helping people to build wealth and assets and encouraging economic, social and ethnic diversity in neighborhoods. It is about expanding choice and opportunity for neighborhood residents and connecting them with the regional economy.

Virginia LISC makes a great effort to create a supportive environment for community development practitioners. Our policy work focuses on the key issues of:

  • Housing Preservation
  • Smart Growth
  • Healthy Communities
  • Workforce Housing
  • De-concentration of Poverty
  • Sustainable Community Development
  • Individual Asset Building (FOC)
  • Inclusive Communities

By utilizing technology, research and knowledge-sharing networks, Virginia LISC helps to shape public policies and private sector allocations that support community change and develop community leadership. Virginia LISC works to give community development a voice to create positive change for all Virginians, regardless of economic or ethnic diversity. For more information about housing policy in Virginia, take a look at the Virginia Housing Policy Agenda.

Featured Advocacy Project


The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) plays a critical role in connecting Americans and communities to economic opportunity. Transportation infrastructure choices made at the federal, state and local levels can strengthen communities, create pathways to jobs and improve the quality of life for Americans. DOT launched the LadderStep program in 2015 to build and restore connections, develop workforce capacity, and catalyze neighborhood revitalization in seven cities. Richmond, Virginia is one of the seven pilot cities. Greater Richmond Transit Company is building the city’s first Bus Rapid Transit line, a 7.6-mile corridor between the city and Henrico County. The Broad Street BRT line will provide frequent, reliable and fast service —and access to 77,000 area employment opportunities— for transit-dependent residents in Richmond’s Greater Fulton community.