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County Approves Affordable Housing Loan Despite Resident Objections

by ARLnow.com | February 16, 2011 at 2:03 pm | 1,917 views | 95 Comments

When county officials talk about the need for affordable housing, they often cite the example of such housing allowing school teachers to live in the communities they teach in.

Why, then, did three self-identified teachers have to stand up before the county board last night to say that the affordable housing project the board was considering would result in them being forced from their already-affordable apartments? And why did the board unanimously approve a $6.38 million loan for the project anyway?

The answer is complex, but the practical implication is that because as single teachers they make just above the income limit for affordable housing, the board’s vote last night will most likely result in them being forced to move — perhaps even out of the county.

The loan in question will be made to the non-profit Community Preservation for Development Corporation, which specializes in affordable housing projects in the Washington region. CPDC will use the money to buy the 76-unit Howard Manner garden apartments, located at 2506 North 20th Road, just north of Clarendon. It’s one of the only market rate affordable housing complexes in the area.

What prompted more than a half dozen current residents to speak out last night was CPDC’s plan to renovate the 63-year-old apartments, convert most of the efficiencies into two-bedroom units, and impose income restrictions on residents.

“Howard Manor already is affordable housing,” one woman said. “The only thing you would achieve… is putting a salary cap on those who can live there.”

Another woman said that as a single mother working two jobs, she would be making too much to stay in her apartment, for which she currently pays $870 per month.

“I really appreciate the efforts to preserve affordable housing, but this is already affordable housing,” said one self-identified teacher, who added that residents had only just heard about the renovation plan. “We felt blindsided and I felt betrayed.”

Despite residents’ pleas, the board said, essentially, that converting the current market-rate affordable housing units to dedicated affordable housing is the lesser of two evils. Should CPDC’s plan be denied, County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman said, nothing would stop a developer from buying the property and building more expensive apartments. Development rights on the property would allow such a move without the board’s approval.

“The choice we have right now is to say no to [CPDC], then leave you at the mercy of the current owner who we know needs to sell,” Zimmerman told the residents who attended last night’s meeting. “I know that isn’t what you want to hear, but that’s essentially the choice you have.”

“I have watched year after year after year as one Howard Manor after another comes and goes,” Zimmerman said. “If I had any reason to believe these units would stay affordable, then I would have put the dollars somewhere else.”

With the loan in place, CPDC will move to purchase the property while, at the same time, applying for state tax credits that would finance the renovation portion of the plan. Once the purchase is complete, CPDC will start verifying the income of current residents.

There will be seven units set aside for people above the 60 percent Area Median Income cut-off. Long-time residents, disabled residents and families would have priority for those units, company officials told the board.

The new apartments would be priced between $899 and $1,386 per month, compared to between $790 and $1,360 per month now. The complex would remain affordable for up to 60 years, according to a county press release.

If CPDC receives its desired tax credits, renovations would begin in mid-2012. The company says it will pay for voluntary and involuntary moving expenses.

Despite expressing concern about the lack of notice given residents, board members unanimously approved the loan, which will be issued by the county’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund. The vote could not have waited, board members said, because CPDC’s deadline for applying for the tax credits is March 11.

“This is exactly the sort of housing we need for people who want not only to work in Arlington but also to live here,” Zimmerman said in a statement.

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  • Bluemont John

    Why can’t they just raise the income cap to a level that would include the current residents?

    This is awful.

    • ClarendonKing

      I agree. I am not a big fan of affordable housing at all, (there are plenty of affordable places less than an hour driving I bet) but I gladly make an exception for attractive single women.

      • gringo

        “Less than an hour driving”? Thanks for putting one more car in front of me on the road, pal.

      • Westover

        Yeah, I want those that we entrust our kids to for 6+ hours a day to have a two our commute each day.

      • NPGMBR

        Wow, You forget that an hours drive increases how much the household spends on fuel.

    • gringo

      Bluemont John, I think that “tax credit” funding mentioned in the article does not allow for the cap to be any higher. That’s not an Arlington County policy.

    • jan

      …or grandfather in current residents

  • Lou

    Very simple solution. The current owner of the complex should not sell out to the CPDC.

  • Westover

    At the least, current residents should be grandfathered in.

    • Lou

      It’s absurd for the county to just throw up their hands and say this is the best deal they could make. That is absolutely not true when it means people will have to move. If they can come up with a juicy corporate handout to the developer to buy the apartments, they can work a deal where rents stay at market rate with normal increases scheduled in for at least 3 years after the deal. We’re talking about the developer foregoing a couple hundred dollars per unit a month, versus $6.38 million handout. They absolutely can do better.

      • Westover

        The teachers and others in the building should not get a free upgrade for the same rent, but let them stay even if they miss qualifying by a few grand in income, and let them pay the still reduced rent that others will be paying. Do it for the children!

        • Lou

          In the past, the County has also approved all sorts of non-market-rate developments where they required the developer to set aside affordable units or build new affordable units elsewhere within the county as an offset. This is just not the best they can do for the residents.

        • GMo

          This is perfectly legal. Several affordable housing units in the county have residents who are ‘original tenants.’ These folks were in their units prior to the property owner deciding to participate in the affordable housing program. They are not required to certify incomes/assets or any of the other requirements for affordable housing.

        • Bluemont John

          Me three. The whole idea for affordable housing is to have housing that teachers, cops, firefighters, EMTs, and the like can afford. After all, the County has its own affordable housing strictly for County employees! (And if anyone knows where, I’d be curious.)

          • SA Resident

            Police, firefighters, teachers, nurses…This is PR to make sweetheart deals sound good. In fact, they get pushed out. Name one person in those professions who live in subsidized affordable housing in Arlington. They don’t, for exactly the reason the article said – their income puts them just over the limit for eligibility and into the can’t-afford-Arlington-housing zone. Commenter is right – pay them a living wage so they can afford housing here.

          • Westover

            Actually, I know at least three folks in the police, fire and teacher catagory that live in the affordable housing, two rent, one bought an “affordable” condo. They all got in right under the wire and would not qualify today, less than five years later. The big problem is the programs have not kept their qualification numbers in the bllpark of reality. Then folks who are not public servents with decent income, but not all of it reported, end up getting the places intended for the real working class of our county.

      • Jezebel

        Lou, its absurd that you post streams of thought on the topic without following the facts of what happened. There is no corporate handout. The buyer will be applying for VHDA (state) loan funding to do the project. Loans are paid back. If the nonprofit buyer doesn’t get the loan, they won’t buy the property. And the current property owner will sell to another for-profit firm, and then all ‘affordability’ goes out the window.

        • Lou

          The County Board approved an AHIF loan for $6.38 million last night, for this developer, to help them purchase real property in the county and develop it. You’re the one who needs to get his facts straight.

          • Jezebel

            That’s right, a loan, which will require the units stay affordable. So where’s the corporate handout?

          • Lou

            Where’s your reference to the VHDA loan, and do you have any clue how that fits in to this project?

          • Jezebel

            Watch the video. You’re right, its an AHIF loan, not VHDA loan. But the AHIF loan is needed for the purchase transaction to happen, and then the renovations come if the buyer is successful in their application to VHDA for federal tax credits. Without the tax credits, the project remains as-is with the new owner.

          • Lou

            Not quite “as-is”. This is from the County’s press release:

            “Under the agreement with the County, immediately after acquisition of the property, CPDC will restrict 90 percent, or 68 of the units, to households with incomes at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income. ”

            So, tax credits or not, they start moving people out. Seem fair to you?

  • Arlwhenever

    In order the save the village Chris Zimmerman needs to destroy it.

    Arlington County shouldn’t be spending one red cent to subsidize or finance the development of projects that push out current residents.

    • Arlingtonian2

      Or the County could BUY it and let some non-profit manage it and let the residents stay at their current rental rate.

    • mehoo

      Zim’s point was they will likely be forced out anyway.

      But I agree – why not focus on housing that currently isn’t affordable?

      • Arlwhenever

        I look at it this way mehoo. Zimmerman’s daughter works for APS. You can be sure that if she was the teacher in the screenshot above begging to keep her apartment, that the Board would back down. There are a great many ways to subsidize, if that’s what is called for. There’s no reason for Zimmerman to be pushing anyone out; the man has no empathy when it’s someone outside of his inner circle who is being shoved around. Cooch is right about some things.

    • Patrick

      “This is exactly the sort of housing we need for people who want not only to work in Arlington but also to live here,” Zimmerman said in a statement.

      It is astonishing that Mr. Zimmerman can say this with a straight face, when the actions of the board are having the exact opposite affect on some of the current residents of Howard Manor Apartments. What a complete and total embarrassment Mr. Zimmerman is to the people of arlington county.

  • Libs

    County has a plan to provide more ‘family’ sized places, meaning 2 or more bedrooms, for illegals to make them loyal democratic voters

    • rcw

      ACORN, George Sorros, Planed Parenthood, New World Order, MESSICANSSSS!!! Runnn… Christ-on-the-cross people of your ilk are redundant and boring.

  • Y.T.K

    Teachers NEED AFfordable housing with the salaries THEy make!!!

  • jen

    Now that the board was of no help, please feel free to voice these concerns directly to the CPDC: cpdc@cpdc.org

  • LyonSteve

    I guess that’s where the property tax increase is going.

    • rcw

      Sure go ahead and try to explain that…

  • FrenchyB

    Zimmerman is quoted as stating that they know that the current owner needs to sell the complex. I wish the Board provided more information regarding that.

  • Joe

    Here’s the deal: Howard Manor was getting vaporized, one way or the other. That’s the point with “market rate affordable”, it doesn’t actually STAY affordable. It is only “affordable” at that threshold.

    You could have a Hartford-type developer come in and build luxury housing, and if they stay within by-right limits, they could do whatever they want. Or, you have a developer that actually guarantees affordability for 60 years.

    To get the tax credits you need to achieve 60 years of affordability, the rent has to be set such that it’s affordable at 60% of median income. That’s the condition of the credits, which you need to make this happen. The teachers noted above make more than 60%. The end result, then, is that the teachers move out in favor of people who actually need the units MORE than said teachers.

    What’s really unfortunate is that there is little that can be done for those people at 70 to 100% of median income, your true “workforce housing” population. The schools could help greatly by giving over air rights on their property to build housing for public employees, taking land costs off the table so as to help close the financing gap. But needless to say, Superintendent Murphy and the School Board won’t be doing that.

    • Chad

      When you say “giving over air rights” are you talking about building public employee housing over the schools? Has something like this been done anywhere else in the country?

      • amsa

        I think he’s alluding to the church/housing complex in clarendon, where the church transferred and sold air rights so that a new church could be built on the same site, only with apartments (some market, some affordable) on top. If I understand correctly, Joe is suggesting that the “air rights” are essentially an untapped revenue stream that can be used to subsidize teachers’ housing costs.

        • Westover

          Sounds like a Dan Snyder scheme.

          • http://blacknell.net/dynamic MB

            I call BS. No Danny Snyder scheme gets over 5’6″.

    • Lou

      So it’s “too bad” to the teachers because there’s somebody out there who needs your low rent unit more than you do, and oh by the way, it’s your own school’s fault for not giving over rights to build you a place to live upstairs from your classroom. Wow.

  • TuesdaysChild

    Why doesn’t the county pay teachers and fireman what it costs to live in the county or give them a direct housing subsidy?

    • Chad

      Arlington County teachers haven’t had a pay raise in roughly 3 years. Unlikely something like what you propose would happen.

      • Wayne Kubicki

        Not so. Step increases were given out effective 1/1/10, and for FY09 (7/08-6/09) I recall there were both step increases and COLA adjustments. It was only in the current fiscal year (7/10-6/11) that no pay raises of any kind were given.

        • CMG

          I believe that the 1/1/10 step increase you’re referring to was actually in February and it did not reflect a full step increase. When the step increase is mid-year, it’s essentially allowing employees to go up half a step. Also, I think there have been two years (not necessarily consecutive) of frozen salaries and I don’t think there have been COLAs, but I would need to look back at my paperwork to know for sure. It certainly doesn’t feel like there’s been a COLA! The county is also having APS employees contribute more to our health insurance and they majorly reduced the APS contributions into our 403(b)s. Is there an end in sight?

          • Wayne Kubicki

            CMG – sounds like you’re an APS employee. What are you hearing about what Supt. Murphy’s proposed budget (comes out next week, yes?) will contain on compensation? Donnellan’s proposed FY12 budget has step increases in it for County employees.

          • Chad

            The School Boards proposed budget should be posted March 24th I believe. But the link below provides some insight, hopefully, into their priorities for FY 2012. I found it interesting.

            http://www.apsva.us/15401081151845893/lib/15401081151845893/Community_Feedback_Form_Responses.pdf

          • Wayne Kubicki

            Supt’s proposed budget comes out next week (2/24), no?

          • http://www.arlnow.com ARLnow.com

            Yes, they’re presenting the budget next Thursday morning

          • Chad

            Correct. Feb 24. Does the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget end up differing much from the School Board’s proposed budget?

        • Chad

          I was curious as to what you have said, and did a little research on the budgets.

          FY 2011 – “The FY 2011 budget does not include funds for a step increase or a compensation adjustment”

          FY 2010 – “A merit salary step increase for eligible employees to
          be paid halfway through the annual pay cycle” – in other words, half a step increase for that year.

          FY 2009 – “Provided an annual step increase for all eligible employees” & “To remain competitive with surrounding jurisdictions and to partially account for inflation, a 2.2% compensation adjustment is provided for all employee”

          FY 2008 – ” Provided an annual step increase for all eligible employees” & “Provided a compensation adjustment ranging from 2.0% to 3.0% each year”

          So basically they went about a half year without a pay raise, and then it was pro-rated, then went an entire year without a raise. It got into the specifics of which steps were given raises and such, but I’m not that bored at work.

      • 22201

        I haven’t had a pay raise for 3 years either – and I work for an association in the area. Why should anyone get a payraise in this economy if the business / district can’t afford it.

  • V Dizzle

    Steve – what’s your opinion on this?

    • V Dizzle

      Steve? You out there??

  • Southeast Ben

    Affordable rarely means common, hard-working person or family or what we like to refer to as middle class. I feel sorry for the teachers. Making significantly more than any teacher, but wanting to live in Arlington and enjoy everything it has to offer within walking distance is extremely difficult for even someone on my salary. It seems “affordable housing” is simply a term used for some, hard-to-qualify-for unit in a rebuilt facility.

  • TGEoAXx

    No one wants low income people in their neighborhood, and for good reasons.

  • JamesE

    $899 a month ! Maybe I should lie about my salary and live there, only slightly worse than all the people at my condo complex with out of state plates.

    • Southeast Ben

      + 600 on the out of state plates and lost revenue. That would be more welcomed on my end than jail time and a misdemeanor for rolling through a stop sign.

      • Anon

        Yes on the out of state plates! I am sick and tired of seeing them all over the county and I almost wish there was a “turn in your neighbor” hot line so the county (and/or VA DMV) could enforce the law and get the lost tax money. Wonder how much money that might bring in…

        • http://arlingtondirt.blogspot.com/ TGEoA

          There is a snitch line and web form on the county’s site.

  • The Dope of South Arlington

    “Affordable Housing” is just code for providing subsidies to illegal immigrants. The county government couldn’t care less about teachers, firemen or the like.

    • LyonSteve

      +1

      • DouroRouro

        Now that you mention it… I bet they’re to blame for human rights violations in Africa, World War II, and that flat tire I got a few weeks ago.

        • LyonSteve

          The flat tire…maybe. The others, probably not.

          • DouroRouro

            Wow, I’m surprised your ignorance doesn’t TOTALLY blind you from reality.

      • borf

        Um, Steve, that was a parody post. You took the bait!

    • ArlingtonTaxpayer

      I totally agree – the county is using our tax dollars to subsidize illegals rent. Why not construct an affordable rental complex and make it only available to county employees – teachers, police, firefighters, etc? Also, make a green card or citizenship a prerequisite in order to qualify for affordable housing!

      Anyone ever notice the corner of Pershing and Glebe? That area is teeming with illegals – and its surrounded by affordable housing units.

      • DT

        Then they make it worse by finally letting some of the roach motels get knocked down only to allow more apartments with less parking. The overflow ends up on 2nd St. I don’t know how the people in the condos on Pershing ever have guests over.

    • DT

      BINGO

  • Joe

    The Arlington County Board is a joke. Reminds me of the keystone kops.

  • South Arlington Ready

    I would like to know when the county opts to change a building from 40% affordable to 100% affordable…how is that heterogeneous? Isn’t that akin to creating a “ghetto” or projects? Unless the actual “intended” tenants aren’t those which are reported to be.

    Follow me?

  • DouroRouro

    So the teachers in question will “perhaps” even need to move out of the county? Where did they say that? I certainly don’t think it’s fair that they’ll need to move out – there should have obviously been some sort of exemption for current residents as a commented noted earier – but if they’re intent on staying in Arlington, I know there are still several complexes that have relatively affordable rents.

  • MIke

    I’m one of the people that is going to be evicted, for lack of a better term. I’m not looking for people to feel sorry for me, as I’ll be a bit over the income requirement, but there’s only one reason the people at Howard Manor are living there, and it’s BECAUSE it was already affordable. Otherwise, it’s pretty much a no-amenity dump. But I’ve lived in NOVA for 5 years, and there really is a pretty large gap in price (probably in the ballpark of $400) to anything comparable that is close to Arlington and is that convenient of a location for public transportation options. True, the owners could just as easily sell out to someone else, but it’s really sad how skewed the county is viewing the notion of affordability. It’s also pretty slimy how this deal was in place over the summer, but the first we found out was when paper was shoved under our door on Saturday saying that the explanatory meeting with CPDC was on Valentine’s Day at 6:30PM! Real nice…

    • Matt Wavro

      Mike,
      I am sorry that you are being evicted because of the policy choices of Arlington’s elected officials. Middle and low income individuals should never have to qualify for a county program in order to live in our community. I hope you get to stay in Arlington when it is all said and done. It is sad when such a great community is tarnished by the wrong-headed policy choices of our elected officials.

      Can we all help Mike out by posting reasonably priced places in his neighborhood? I know there are a couple of reasonable places on Monroe Street off of Lee Highway. Hope that helps.

      • Lou

        Hey, I’ve seen you get up to speak in front of the Board. Kudos for that. Even though they didn’t comment on your comment.

      • Alan Howze

        Matt (and other Board critics on this post) – other than inveighing against the County Board, what alternative policy choices would you propose to keep housing affordable and ensure housing availability for low and middle income residents? Higher density (R-B corridor), looser zoning restrictions to increase the housing supply (ala Houston Texas), rent controls (ala NYC), raising the pay for teachers and other public employees, raising the minimum wage to a living wage? What policy choices would you advocate for to address this challenge?

        This is a classic supply & demand problem, and left to its own devices the free market could solve it (density everywhere), but R-B corridor density all over the county is clearly not the community preference. So, how would you maintain Arlington’s neighborhood character while also increasing the supply of housing?

        Affordable housing is one of the most vexing public policy challenges, and there are few easy choices. In this case, the county seems to have gone with a bird-in-the-hand approach rather than chance that the units would be bought up and redeveloped privately (in which case the rents would certainly rise)?
        I wouldn’t defend the manner in which residents were notified – its sounds like that was poorly handled – but a public/private partnership that preserves a section of affordable housing using public financing (loans) but is privately managed, and does not require continual cash outlays (rent subsidies), seems like an reasonable approach.

        • Lou

          I think most people are simply asking for some consideration to the renters who are going to be displaced by the deal. That’s got to be one hell of a shock to find out over the course of a weekend that you’re going to lose your home. The expenses of moving, the time to look for a new place, none of that by their own choice. It’s terrible.

          None of that has anything to do with the bigger policy issues you raise, which are real. But these residents probably have no interest in being part of the solution to the County’s policy snafus.

          • Lou

            OK, scratch the moving expenses. I see down at the bottom of the article that will be paid for. Regardless, moving sucks under the best of circumstances.

        • Matt Wavro

          Alan,
          I am in favor of Low-Income Housing Trust Funds that are used in a responsible manner by localities to ensure that residents at all income levels can find reasonably priced housing. HOME, CDBG, and state/local LIHTFs are all great tools in the toolbox, but they need to be used in a manner that does not do harm to current local renters seeking reasonable prices. I also support an even more vibrant non-profit housing sector that can identify and take advantage of opportunities to create the affordable and reasonably priced housing stock needed to serve the entire community. I don’t think it is a reasonable approach to narrowly favor one segment of our community at the high cost to those living in reasonably priced housing.

          I am sorry to hear that you find it a reasonable approach to reduce access to reasonably priced housing.

          Alan, I didn’t see any suggestions on reasonably priced housing for Mike. Would you be a good neighbor and help him out with some leads?

          Thanks,
          Matt

          • Matt Wavro

            Lou, Thanks for the Kudos.. tough crowd…

          • Suzanne Sundburg

            Matt,
            Why don’t you try The Nalbert Apartments? It’s far from luxury accommodations, but it may still be within your price range. (I was resident manager there years ago.) The location is just across Rt. 50 from Rosslyn (about a 10 to 12 minute walk to Metro). There’s ALWAYS a waiting list, but why don’t you ask the current resident manager to put you on the list, if you think it’s something you might want. Call 703-243-8299 to get the manager’s number.

            Another possibility might be the Ft. Strong Apartments on N. Daniel Street (2009 North Daniel Street — 703-527-1991). Good luck. Wish I had a better answer for you. Know you are in a tough spot. –Suzanne

    • Bluemont John

      Yeah, that’s awful. As to other apartments, I’d suggest looking at Lee Highway. Unfortunately, I don’t think you’ll find much that’s affrodable near Clarendon, but if you go farther west, there are some older buildings. If I were you I’d take a bus (or borrow/rent a car) some weekend and scope out those buildings starting maybe west of Spout Run and going west until maybe Harrison. Good luck.

  • MC

    I don’t understand why the developer is selling at all, if they can redevelop the property as they please and make more money doing so. Mr. Zimmerman makes it sound like they will be tempted to make more money fi they sale is blocked, but never explains what their motivation is to sell to begin with.

    While it is nice to have teachers who live in the County, we also need to ask: do we want this specific building protected for the next 60 years? Is the building really that nice to look at, or even live in? Sadly, I don’t think anyone on the Council has any aesthetic judgment at all, and all kinds of sub-par buildings are being redlined from redevelopment.

    • jjbug

      Please what Council do you refer to? Perhaps the County Board? The decisions of this County have been built upon long standing committees and commissions where very intelligent and concerned people have lent much time to discovering how to handle all questions. If you want to jump in and identify the widget in the plan that is wrong, please give your credentials to evaluate the widget. Say, I work in … and know that … Please tell me that you have offered your time and expertise as an appointee to a significant committee involved in the planning for this question in Arlington!

  • westoverite

    Sorry, but $899 a month is not “ghetto”.

    Virginia law favors property owners so Z-man is right about one point…the owners can sell to whomever they want (affordable housing or not).

    • atownie

      In Arlington, though? I’ve never heard of rent that low…

    • GB

      Yeah, but if 3 or 4 working adults with an extended family cram themselves into one of those $900/month, two bedroom apts, then it is ghetto.

      • South Arlington Ready

        Props! It most certainly is. It most certainly happens in Arlington. I can provide a walking tour for those who think this is hyperbole.

  • charlie

    it is a sad day when a county takes action that directly harms their residents.

  • Homey the Clown

    Whitey is keeping me down!

  • Todd

    “This is exactly the sort of housing we need for people who want not only to work in Arlington but also to live here,” Zimmerman said in a statement.

    How about those of us who ALREADY live here? Zim just wants to push his car-free agenda, regardless of the practicality of it. Not all of us who live in Arlington can find jobs in the county.

  • DaveinSA

    Typical Zimmerman logic. Throw hard working people out and spend County money when not needed. Build a new metro station entrance in CC that’s 150 yards from the current entrance at $?M while metro heads towards insolvency. Absolutely no fiscal reality or responsibility.

  • GB

    Dang. I have lived in NYC, Baltimore, and DC. I moved out here (NOVA) because I didn’t want to live near the projects anymore now that I make enough money.

    If the Board actually cared about having middle class affordability, they would pay the Arlington police and teachers much more than they do currently.

    • South Arlington Ready

      Exactly my point. It seems like those making 40%, 50% and 60% of AMI have nothing to worry about but teachers, police and firefighters who are slightly above that 60% threshold because they are single person households are being tossed out.

      I am lucky enough to have bought my place two years ago in SoArl at a very good price BUT I am a non-profit employee and that was no small task.

      People making 30 or 40k seem to be well taken care of by the county and the tax dollars pumped in from all income levels.

      The board should be required to maintain property for dislocated residents within their original neighborhood as well…instead of packing them all off to South Arlington.

      • South TON too

        I am with you on the low income folks being shipped to South Arlington. I dont mind middle income folks (teachers, firemen, police etc..). They serve our community very well and should live here. As for this low income crowd. Lets just face facts. If you cant afford to live somewhere then dont. There are plenty of affordable locations in Fairfax and parts of DC. Honestly I am tired of having this low income jazz shoved down my throat by the county and into my neighborhood. Why should our tax money even help finance this kind of thing. Why cant people find their own way in life. Not to sound like a snob but, I dont care if the person who earns minimum wage has a cheap place to live near their job. Further more I purchased my home in Arlington to get away from the issues associated with low income folks. I am not fond of crime, hookers, theft, and drugs. If I wanted to deal with that I would live in DC. I am sure I will get blasted for saying that. However lets just face facts you dont see this stuff going on in affluent neighborhoods.

  • Emm

    I find it interesting that many on this Board seem to care about teachers, police officers, etc. I have to say, I am not sure why these categories are more “deserving” of affordable housing than, say, the woman who makes your coffee or cleans your house or the man who paves the street. Indeed, there is a certain kind of absurdity in affordable housing development, but I don’t think anyone deserves it more than another because of their profession. It is disheartening to me that persons who think of themselves as good liberals continue to have problems with housing low-income families. As far as housing options, that county school teacher has FAR more options than your nanny.

    As far as the notice (or lack thereof) that the potential developer gave the current residents… I live in DC partly because I want to live in a place where there are restrictions on how those processes are conducted. If you live in a place where the free market and property rights trump all other considerations, then this is the result. Lobby for comprehensive reform or stay quiet (and I suspect you’ll stay quiet because you want to be able to rent out that condo with few restrictions or get a huge return on investment when you sell). Can’t have it all ways people.

    Having said that, it is unfortunate that the current residents may be forced to leave the property. But please don’t forget that in cities across America many people don’t care about the very poor being pushed out of public housing or when those poor families are forced to relocate when renovations are completed so that middle income families can move in. This is in fact a rare event. And don’t even get me started on the tax revenue lost on the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction, AKA Welfare for Houseowners.

    Be well.

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