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Affordable Housing Tips at “Housing 4 Hipsters” Event

by Katie Pyzyk — March 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm 8,898 165 Comments

Trying to find affordable housing in Arlington can often seem like a daunting task. But Arlington County’s Housing Division wants to make it less intimidating with a “Housing 4 Hipsters” event.

This event is aimed at young professionals and those who employ young professionals. According to Doug Myrick with the county’s Housing Division, the goal is to show young people the many forms of housing assistance that are available. He stresses it’s not reserved just for those in low income brackets.

“We want people to understand there is housing assistance available across a wide range of incomes,” Myrick said. “When people see government assistance, they often think it must be for low income or they won’t qualify.”

Myrick said there are 6,500 units in Arlington that qualify for a rent price based on an individual’s income. There are also income-based deals available on mortgages with lower interest rates, in addition to money lending programs to help with down payment and closing costs.

Attendees can expect a casual, happy hour atmosphere where representatives from county and state housing agencies will be on hand to chat and give advice. Representatives from three mortgage lenders will also be available for assistance.

The event will be held on March 12 at Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill (2424 Wilson Blvd) from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Free food will be provided and $2,000 worth of door prizes, such as Redskins tickets and interior design services, will be given away.

This is the first event of its kind in Arlington, but the county hopes to hold one each quarter in different neighborhoods throughout the region. It is not necessary to currently live in Arlington in order to qualify for assistance, simply to want to move to the county.

The Housing 4 Hipsters event is free and no registration is required. For additional information, contact Doug Myrick at 703-228-3786 or dmyrick@arlingtonva.us.

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  • U ROY

    Housing 4 Hipsters (white people)

  • JamesE

    I purchased my condo before it was popular.

  • KARLington

    This lacks the happy hour atmosphere, but here’s how I bought in Arlington at the ripe age of 25: I saved money until I had a down payment.

    • nunya

      +1

    • drax

      Sure, but you probably did that when a 10% or 20% down payment was alot less than it would be now.

      • Arlington, Northside

        Yeah, but starting pay was in the four digits out of college, not the high five digits it is today.

        • drax

          Well, there you go – housing prices have probably grown much faster than starting salaries. On the other hand, you can buy with little or no down payment these days, or at least you could a few years ago.

          • Arlington, Northside

            Depends on how far back you look. If you bought in the early 90s, interest rates were not that low, while starting pay was. If you bought in the late 90s, interest rates were better, and starting saleries were about the same but housing prices were starting to creep up. By 2000 pay was better, rates were good, and prices were relatively low. By 2002, pay was the same, rates were better, but prices started their rise. So if you were in your 20s and bought between Clinton not having sexual relations with that women and W’s first inauguration, you did great! Otherwise, it is all relative, one thing went good while the other bad, somethings went up while others went down, etc.

          • JamesE

            Damn I am 30 and have yet to meet the person of my dreams, better kill myself.

          • JamesE

            I also suck at replying

          • ArlingtonChick

            Samsies.

    • KalashniKEV

      +1

      I have a two step solution to lack of purchase power:

      1) Work harder.
      2) Earn more $.

      • drax

        Life is so simple!

        • mr@ed.com

          Well, of course!

  • hoooos

    I weep for our future when the taxes of the responsible pay for free food and $2000 worth of door prizes for the irresponsible to find out how to buy more house than they need or can afford using more taxpayer-funded programs.

    • FrenchyB

      The article is unclear on who is paying for the freebies at this event – it’s possible that the mortgage lenders that are attending could be covering those costs.

    • Just the Facts

      I weep for our future when cranks b*tch about every minuscule government expenditure they don’t agree with as if each individual citizen should have line-item veto power.

      • Ricardo

        Why shouldn’t each individual citizen have line-item veto power? You have this power in most aspects of your life; why not civic spending?

        • Just the Facts

          Really? You’re just being ridiculous, right? You need to ask why each individual citizen doesn’t have the right to veto every single government expenditure?

          How about…BECAUSE NOTHING WOULD EVER GET DONE?

        • drax

          Really, Ricardo? We have to actually explain why?

  • Graham Rutherford II

    How about housing for preppies?

    • JamesE

      Puppies for Yuppies?

  • Bard

    Tip #1: Move to Petworth

  • ArlingtonSouth

    Can I put a stop on my property tax payments? And surely I will need to focus my efforts to purchase gasoline from establishments outside of the County as well…

  • Ricardo

    This is a joke, right? Surely the county is not really doing this.

    • Zoning Victim

      Why wouldn’t they? Politicians can’t buy votes if their constituents think they make too much on their own to qualify for the vote buying entitlement programs. It is not enough for these politicians to just have the poor people in their pocket, anymore; now they have to extend programs to people making 50% more than the national median income.

      Oh well, at least Arlington County is smart enough to raise taxes to the point where they’re not destroying their own economy through massive deficits; if only the people running the nation could get that through their heads, too.

  • JamesE

    Mortgage lenders love low incomes, give them a nice low rate ARM what could possibly go wrong?

  • novasteve

    I dont’ seem to have much sympathy for people who spend $7 for drinks but worry about how much housing costs them.

    • drax

      Hey, steve nailed one.

    • M

      $7 drinks? That must reflect a happy hour discount!

      • drax

        PBR probably isn’t $7 though.

  • ARL

    “We want people to understand there is housing assistance available across a wide range of incomes,” Myrick said. “When people see government assistance, they often think it must be for low income or they won’t qualify.”

    Really? Our tax dollars shouldn’t go to people who don’t need it. The line of who “deserves” government assistance keeps getting thinner and thinner. Do you want government to rule your life? This is a slippery slope to socialism. We are on our way to a European-style approach — and we are seeing just how well thats worked out.

    • novasteve

      You picked the wrong county, like me.

      • drax

        Nothing stopping you from selling to a hipster and moving to Loudoun County.

        • Zoning Victim

          Nothing except gas pressing $4 a gallon and the extra two hours of your life you’ll lose sitting in traffic; no thanks.

          • drax

            Then you didn’t “pick the wrong county.” Steve said that he did, and so I suggested that he pick the right one.

        • Equality Arlington

          I am very concerned about the repeated comments from members of the Democratic establishment that are very quick to tell those who disagree with them to move out of the county. I understand they want to crush any semblance of competition and dissent, but I think it is horrible for civic society something that I think everyone can agree should be more robust in Arlington.

          • drax

            1. I was doing no such thing. I was responding specifically to steve’s comment that he “picked the wrong county.” I was simply reminding him that he still has a choice. He’s not trapped here. I would never tell someone to leave if they don’t like something. People have every right to complain about whatever they want.

            2. Republicans and conservatives often invite people who they disagree with to “move” – in fact, they invented the tactic back in the 60s: “America – love it or leave it.” Do not pin that on Democrats.

    • Youngin

      I agree with the renting for lower incomes. There’s way cheaper places to live a person with a $41k/year salary can afford without help.

      I do like the purchasing deals, however, they could offer very little assistance (low-interest loans for a smaller amount) to a higher bracket and lots of younger folks would be buying, aka driving up prices overall and bringing more money into the county. Instead, they’re letting people with 50k/year blow their savings and most of their paychecks because Arlington will help them scrape by. Why not appeal to more stable buyers? Why not appeal to young families who will put roots down and stick around and fuel the local economy?

      • Zoning Victim

        Why not let the free market decide? The answer to affordable housing certainly isn’t “driving up prices overall and bringing more money into the county.”

        • Josh S

          What free market?

      • ArlResident

        +100000

        we are in the middle of buying now, and it just makes me angry how there’s all this “assistance” for people who cant afford to pay a mortgage, but people with stable living that can afford to buy and live comfortably have to fork out all the dough. in what world does that make sense? low rent or rental assistance, sure, but not for low income homebuyers. if you cant afford the monthly payment you cant afford the house.

    • Good Grief

      This program is geared towards those who are in the social services, police officers, fire fighters, teachers aka the people you WANT in your neighborhood. They sacrifice salary to make your community better.

      • Autoexec.bat

        So are they only talking about hipster cops and firefighters, then? It doesn’t seem that way. If they really were gearing this particular outreach to cops and firefighters, I heard there are buildings around the county that actually contain cops and firefighters where they could talk to them directly.

        It seems that outreach to hipsters has some other goal in mind. Maybe they want to start subsidizing “artists.” They already built the Artisphere, you know?

        • Good Grief

          I know first hand its for that reason. That being said, I have no idea why they titled it that. I do agree, its a pretty lame and confusing HH title.

          • Autoexec.bat

            For what reason? Hipsters? Hipster firefighters? Artists? It really does make a difference. I can understand subsidizing cops and firefighters but artists is beyond the pale.

          • Good Grief

            The target population is for the cops, firefighters, social workers, teachers, etc. Again – no clue why they gave it that name. Probably just trying to be trendy? Not the best title.

        • http://purple.purple.com/purple.html PUP

          “…I heard there are buildings around the county that actually contain cops and firefighters where they could talk to them directly.” LOL

      • Zoning Victim

        Haha, sure they do. Tell me, what job, other than a police officer in Arlington County, starts out at $45K per year with a defined benefits package before you even go into training, with no college degree required? That doesn’t even include their overtime.

        Teachers in Arlington County make an average of $64K per year plus benefits (which puts them on par with the highest paid teachers in the world) and work about 180 days per year (the normal worker works about 200 days per year). So, I fail to see where they’re underpaid.

        The median household income in Arlington County, VA was 96,218 in 2009 (most recent figures at city-data). So if the average teacher falls in love with and marries a starting police officer who hasn’t even made it out of training, yet, they’ll make $109K a year or right at or a little over the median household income.

        So how exactly are the teachers and policemen taking less to better their community, and why should we be paying for these people to live in Arlington County? For that matter, who says they make any better neighbors than anyone else?

        • Josh S

          Where do you get your average salary for teachers?

          In the housing market, I think your analysis may fall short. If we accept all your numbers, then it’s pretty clear this couple will not qualify for affordable housing, since they need to be making less than the median income. Of course, what is ironic is that even though they are supposedly making more than the median income, they can in no way afford the median home. (Unless Daddy Warbucks is kicking down some major down payment cash.) They should be pretty good for a one bedroom apartment, but even a two-bedroom, depending on where they look, may be out of their range.

          • Zoning Victim

            http://www.indeed.com/salary/q-Teacher-l-Arlington,-VA.html

            The officer qualifies individually and the teacher comes close to qualifying, which is part of the point I was trying to make; these people are basically average wage earners (one slightly over and one slightly below, but just starting out) and we shouldn’t be subsidizing rents for average wage earners. Of course, that’s not saying much since I don’t think we should subsidize nearly anyone’s housing on an ongoing basis.

            The main point I was trying to make is that these people are not “making less money.” Making less money than who? Other people with the same skills/degrees probably make about the same or less.

            According to the calculator at Ginnie Mae, this hypothetical couple can afford a loan amount of $335,000, which with 3% down translates to a house of about 345,000. There are 193 places for sale in Arlington on homes.com that are in their price range.

        • dumbdowner

          Cops in Arlington are REQUIRED to have a college degree. Check the facts and you sound smarter.

    • JimPB

      ARL: Government assistance for property owners, many with substantial incomes and wealth, is enormous. Think of the mortgage interest deduction.

      • Autoexec.bat

        And yet if you looked at their tax returns, virtually 100% of people taking the mortgage interest deduction are *net* taxpayers. How many people taking government housing assistance pay any net tax after refunds, EITC, etc? Probably not many.

    • drax

      So you want to abolish the tax deduction for mortgage interest, huh ARL?

      • Zoning Victim

        I won’t speak for him, but I sure do. I want to abolish that and every other tax credit/deduction out there and then just lower the tax basis to make up for it so we stop screwing everyone who rents. You can’t have tax deductions and tax credits and still simplify the tax code, and I can’t think of one good reason why I should be getting a tax break for owning my home while someone who rents is getting nothing to lower their living expenses.

        • Quoth the Raven

          There are a couple of reasons why the tax deduction for mortgage interest makes sense. It’s a way to Incentivize home ownership, which is good for the city, county, etc as it leads to more neighborhood stability, folks more invested in their community, etc. Second, renters don’t get the tax break; that’s true. But at the same time, they aren’t paying property tax or any other local tax (other than sales tax, I suppose), yet they’re getting the benefits. So renters don’t pay for roads, schools or fire and police protection, but they and their families use those services – for free.

          • Zoning Victim

            I’ve never agreed with that position because the cost of the taxes on the property is being passed along to the renters by their landlords, so they are paying it. I’d think the best way to increase homeownership would be to make it easier for the renters to save for a down payment instead of over taxing them. I’d love to know if rentals provide the same amount of taxes per square foot as owned properties. It seems to me like we’re penalizing people who rent when some people need to rent for reasons other than not being able to afford a home.

          • Quoth the Raven

            That’s a fair point, to be sure, but I wonder how the math works out – in other words, is the landlord able to cover mortgage and taxes with the rental payment. I don’t know enough about the actual numbers to hazard a guess, however. But I don’t think that renters are being penalized. Yes, home ownership is better in many ways, but not in others. Renting has some good benefits (and I do think that not having to pay taxes while enjoying the town’s services is one of them). As a former renter (admittedly with a good landlord), I certainly was glad I wasn’t an owner when the roof needed to be replaced, or the furnace stopped working, etc.

        • drax

          As long as you’re consistent.

          I only brought up the mortgage deduction to point out that it’s not only poor people or hipsters who get housing assistance from the gub’mint.

    • wat

      Well, part of what they are referring to is assistance for people who live and or work in Arlington county. There are lending programs to help people stay in Arlington. I don’t think this is bad.

      However, you really need to read about them before you assume how they work. One of them for instance requires you to pay back the county any amount of your 2nd mortgage through the program if you move within a certain timeframe.

    • dk

      This is silly. Most of our tax dollars go to people who, strictly speaking, don’t “need” it. The mortgage deduction. Tax breaks for corporations who offer health coverage to their employees, and other corporate welfare. Farm subsidies. Health insurance for the elderly, public education, libraries, roads, museums, parks, regardless of the financial situation of the users. Prison is free even if you are Martha Stewart or Jeffrey Skilling.

      If we are on some slippery slope to socialism, it started long ago and has been benefiting the wealthy for generations. Why the outrage now?

  • Clarendon Cruiser

    Tip # 1, find a Cougar and shack up with her in her 1.2M penthouse condo…

    • Choogirl

      Penthouse for only 1.2M? Where is this in Arlington?

  • Autoexec.bat

    When are people going to decide they’ve had enough of this?

    • Good Grief

      Relax, this is only 6,500 units compared to the 200k+ in the County.

      • Stitch_Jones

        What a well-structured argument. “Relax!”

        By the same reasoning – “It’s only cancer in .01% of your body!”

        Bottom line – the government does not need to help those than can already pay for a place to live.

        • Youngin

          *Correction: bottom line — the gov’t does not need to help anyone pay for a place to live.

          (Unless your house got ripped apart by a natural disaster, those people have my heart right now)

          • Arlington, Northside

            And that is what homeowner/renters insurance is for.

          • Youngin

            AIG anyone? I agree insurance should cover it, but I think the gov’t should help if they can. Those people had their lives destroyed for no reason. Some food and a warm bed for a finite amount of time is an okay-use of my tax dollars in my book. Way better than feeding bums who have zero incentive/drive to get a job.

          • Arlington, Northside

            A VERY temp program exists through the Red Cross and FEMA, beyond a few days one should have insurance.

          • Youngin

            Insurance doesn’t always cover relocation help. Most of the time it does, but it’s still costly to just up and have to relocate. I’m not for letting them slum it on FEMA/Red Cross for endless amount of time, but if a family needs 3-4 days of food because they’re car is under a tree and the local grocery store is blown away, give it to them. I couldn’t think of a better use of tax money quite frankly. They lost everything. If they need a week or two to collect themselves, so be it. Stop feeding the homeless who refuse to stop drinking and get a job.

  • JimPB

    What is the income range and family size numbers to qualify for
    “affordable housing” — or, as there may well be more than one category of “affordable housing,” what are the income ranges and family sizes for various categories of “affordable housing”?

    And what do the various categories of “affordable housing” offer — locations, living unit rooms and sizes, etc.?

    • Youngin

      http://www.arlingtonva.us/Departments/CPHD/housing/hpp/CPHDHousingHousing_infoIncomeRent.aspx

      Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that the 60% is the range for most place. Anything over the 80% and you’re dunzo.

      What boggles my 24-year-old mind is how my peers can think they can/should be living in Arlington while making 40k a year. Much less, why are these people apply for a 1bdrm that costs $1100/month, plus utilities (the high rises in No Arlington, like the new one above the church, are that much). That’s what I can afford and I make 20k+ over them. Baffling…

      • Elizabeth

        You think a 1 bed room apartment for 1100 is a lot? Try renting a STUDIO for 1600 a month in arligton. 1 bed room can cause up to 2K.

        • Youngin

          1100/month when you’re only making 41k a year is ridiculous.

          Plenty of people rent fabulous houses for about the same, only those people are required to make more money and thus afford a rent 1000-1400. Anything more than 1400 on rent is stupid, IMO

        • wat

          Not all of Arlington resides within walking distance of the Orange Line. You can still by 2 br houses for <200k

          • Youngin

            Yes, but plenty of people rely on living within a decent distance of a metro line. There’s also plenty of us who have worked our tushes off and can afford a moderately priced group house near the metro. I don’t think a 41k/year should be dropping 1100/month just to have a 1bdrm four blocks from the Metro either though

          • thatguy

            Dude where are you finding a 1 bedroom in Arlington 1 block from the metro for $1100? I have a buddy that’s looking. How is $1100 a lot of money on $41k? That’s what I paid when I had my first job out of college and I made $42k.

            Anyways, I seriously want to know where this 1 bedroom for $1100 is.

          • Youngin

            That’s what some of the “affordable housing” units are going for. Max income of 41k, the rent is about $1100. Assuming you have 25% of your paycheck taken for taxes/health/retirement, you’re left with $30,700. At 1100/month, that’s $13,200 a year for rent alone, not even counting utilities. Avg of $60/month utilities (which is bare min, no cable) and that’s another $720, insurance another $1k. Now you’re down to $15,000 leftover for the year for everything else.

            That’s all with a very light tax rate/probably zero retirement. If you’re lucky and have no student/car loans, you could probably be ok. No car and you’d be okay too. But a normal person should probably not be paying almost half a monthly paycheck on rent.

          • Zoning Victim

            Youngin, it’s nice to see a young person living in Arlington County who has some budgeting sense instead of just a sense of entitlement.

      • Southeast Jerome

        I think they want to live in Arlington because its cool and it will help their social lives and they work nearby.

        Obviously thats foolhearted though because they save pretty much nothing, spend their whole paychecks and are stunting their growth up the economic ladder.

        But- I do like a lot of young people living in arlington, makes it much more fun.

        • drax

          And they blow all their cash on rent instead of saving enough to buy.

          • Arlington, Northside

            So they delay home ownership by a year or five. In the grand scheme of things, if they have fun and a nice quality of life during their 20s they will look back in the 40s and 50s and have no regrets. On the other hand I have friends who did the living in the outer suburbs/eating ramin to be able to buy a house in their 20s, and they look back and did not have that much fun in their 20s, did not meet the person of their dreams in their 20s and are now alone in the nice house driving the Porsche to their thankless law firm jobs. There is something to be said about living a little for the day.

          • JamesE

            Having a nice house and a Porsche is a pretty good deal.

          • Arlington, Northside

            Yeah, they get pleasure during their 15 minute commutes in the morning and evening. “15 minute commute!?!?!”, you say? Yes, they leave home at 6:30am and don’t leave the office until 9pm or later. Then they enjoy their large nice empty home for a half hour before falling asleep alone with their delivery order sitting on their chest.

          • JamesE

            Maybe you should sign them up on Match.com, well payed lawyer should do well on there.

          • Maria

            I agree with you. Sometimes I kick myself a little for paying so much more to live in Arlington, but then I remember how miserably bored I was when I lived in Tysons, several hundred dollars a month savings or not. It may not be the best FINANCIAL decision, but not everything in life is about money.

          • JamesE

            I think it really depends on what type of Porsche his friends drive, if it is a 911 Turbo I think everyone can agree their decision to be miserable was totally worth it, but something like a Boxster? Forget about it!!

          • Arlington, Northside

            Ten year old standard red carrera convertable, they could get something new if they could get out of the office more to look. Rich, but alone and miserable is no way to go through life. He should at least start hitting on his hot young secretary, but he doesn’t….

          • drax

            That’s great, Maria, except it means that you might not save enough to buy in Arlington, so you’ll either have to move back to the hinterlands or be a renter forever.

          • Youngin

            Amen

          • drax

            A year or five or ten. Plus no interest deduction.

          • Arlington, Northside

            Yes, ten years should be the max before considering settleing down and getting your finances in order. Don’t blow it all in your 20s, but make sure that you enjoy your youth! No matter how much you earn and save, you can NEVER buy back your youth, no matter what the plastic surgeon tells you!

          • drax

            I’m saying that paying too much in rent could mean 10 ADDITIONAL years – i.e. in your 30s instead of your 20s. You do want to wait, but not too long.

  • Really

    Can you tell me what bus will take me to Manassas?

  • RP

    wow who came up with this name? I am kind of interested in learning about buying a home in Arlington, young professional that I am, but housing 4 hipsters?? SERIOUSLY.

    • Youngin

      Ditto. I want to attend but this makes it seem straight up stupid. Just host an info night at the library. It does get people out though, but I dont feel like boozing then trying to find out financial info. People will show up for the free food/booze, not the help…

      • Southeast Jerome

        Yes- I am neither in need of income assistance, nor a hipster, but I will dress like a hipster for this night and go in hopes of winning the skins tickets, duh. See you there, ill be the one in skinny jeans.

        • KalashniKEV

          I’m going because you know there will be some broke and desperate young ladies in the crowd… ;)

          • JamesE

            They require a pay stub to get in. Not allowed entry if you make too much.

          • Southeast Jerome

            are you serious?

          • JamesE

            haha no, but I wouldn’t put it past them.

          • drax

            You must have missed this part:

            “We want people to understand there is housing assistance available across a wide range of incomes,” Myrick said. “When people see government assistance, they often think it must be for low income or they won’t qualify.”

    • bb

      Maybe they meant that there’s a quota on any additional hipsters in Arlington County. In this case, 4. Additional hipsters need not apply.

    • Arlington, Northside
  • Coldwell Banker

    hipsters would feel more welcomed in some “up and coming” areas such as Southwest Waterfront, NoMA, or Columbia Heights.

  • DSS10

    I think this is good and I wish it was around when I was a broke under paid entry level worker….. So no “get off my lawn” comments from me and to thous who object to this kind of program, could you afford to purchase your house now if you had 20% to put down?

    • Autoexec.bat

      I know plenty of people who’ve bought in South Arlington with FHA loans that only require 3% down. Don’t act like a 1-bedroom in Clarendon is the only thing available.

      Broke, underpaid, entry-level people generally don’t get their first choice when it comes to places to live and it’s not up to the taxpayers to help them.

      • John K.

        This^^.

        • Southeast Jerome

          Or buy a smaller place. The new condo being built on 29 by the Dunkin Donuts has multiple floor plans and the prices are very competitive for new construction, definitely appealing to younger condo buyers.

          • M

            And if it is next to a Dunkin Donut, presumably that would appeal the cops they program is aimed at?

      • ArlingtonSouth

        Exactly.

        My first home purchase on the Columbia Pike corridor was FHA financed.

        I welcome all Orange line transplants. Gentrify the Pike!

        • drax

          What will we call them though? We have Clarendouche, so…Columbadouche?

  • Matt B

    Brilliant a seminar on how to buy nice Arlington houses and turn them into group homes.

    • Youngin

      What’s wrong with that?

  • Kevin Diffily

    In general Arlington needs to come up with a strategy to lower the cost of real estate. I happen to fall into the range of making around 70% of the median income and find most of Arlington inaccessible from both a rental and purchasing perspective. Subsidized loans are helpful but as someone else pointed out they have the unwanted side effect of pushing up prices by increasing demand. The only thing that I can see that will truly make housing costs more affordable is significantly increasing the supply by significant up-zoning in many areas of the county, not just along transit routes.

    • Quoth the Raven

      Unless I am missing your meaning, I don’t agree at all that Arlington should try to lower the cost of real estate. Why would I want my house to be worth less money? If I were going to stay here forever, I suppose I wouldn’t care, but most people probably don’t do that. And your solution of building more housing? Given traffic issues already existing, I don’t know that that’s a great idea either.

      • Jon

        It’s not “lower[ing] the cost of real estate.” Its a matter of letting the zoning regulations more accurately reflect the astonishing demand Arlington has for housing. Denser development would introduce more supply and competition into the housing market, thus reducing the cost of rent, but further increasing the value of the real estate.

        Traffic issues can be solved through additional bus routes. In any case, if you don’t build the housing here in Arlington the development will just occur a little further away and the traffic will come in and out of Arlington each day. Traffic is unavoidable in any major city.

        Instead of actually looking at the root of the housing cost problem though, our fearless leaders have new subsidies and government programs to offer. Thankfully we live in a time of immense budget surplus and there’s really no need to care about a little government waste! Bleh.

        • Zoning Victim

          I don’t understand how increasing supply is supposed to increase the value of real estate or why anyone who wants more affordable housing would do something that would cause an increase in real estate values.

          • Josh S

            I think what he’s getting at is that allowing increased density on a given property will increase the value of the property because now you can build a 20-unit condo instead of a 4 unit townhouse property, for example. Selling the 20 condos will net you more than the 4 townhouses. And having the extra units on the market will theoretically tend to push the prices for each housing unit down. Thus satisfying the demand for more affordable housing.

            In general, I think Jon’s argument here is spot on.

          • Zoning Victim

            Oh, that makes sense; I misinterpreted it to mean it would increase everybody’s property values. I agree that higher density is the proper way to help the problem.

    • Elizabeth

      It has to do more with supply and demand. Its like Newt Gingrich promising to give “$2.50″ gas. But, in reality he has NO say on how much gas prices go up. Same with housing prices. Its hard to lower the price when nobody wants to buy or vice versa

      • ARL

        Actually, newt gingrich was referring to $2.50 gas in terms of natural gas, not gas (oil) as we know it. government does have control over some elements of domestic development of energy resources.

        • Josh S

          Really?

    • BC

      I’ve got an idea…move. What kind of law is requiring you to be in Arlington. I agree that this event is absurd. But, higher property value equals more tax revenue and all of the benefits that theoretically come with that (better public services, schools, roads, etc..)

      Arlington doesn’t need a strategy to lower the cost of real estate – it sounds like you need a strategy on where you should live.

      • Autoexec.bat

        So “love it or leave” then? No dissenting opinions allowed?

    • wat

      And reduce tax revenue? What would be their benefit in this?

  • KalashniKEV

    This is the type of Socialist indoctrination that scares honest, hardworking people the most- Gov’t Assistance for all! Let someone else pay the bill!

    Is this an early April Fool’s joke?

    They can’t possibly be serious…

    • drax

      So you’re working to abolish the mortgage interest tax deduction, Kev?

      • KalashniKEV

        When I get done overhauling and simplifying the tax code, there would be no need to de-incentivize home ownership or subsidize slacker (oops… hipster) lifestyles.

        All Americans would be punished in equal proportion under the new tax code, with a greater burden shifted to consumption.

        • Josh S

          In principle, I think I agree that higher consumption taxes versus income taxes are the way to go.

        • ArlingtonChick

          Greater burden shifted to consumption??? You shouldn’t punish consumerism, since it’s what drives our economy.

          • Josh S

            Well, there are tremendous negative externalities associated with rampant consumerism. And no evidence that owning more stuff improves lives.

            Have you been to a dollar store recently? Schlock, schlock and more schlock. A good VAT would possibly drive those places out of business and the incredible waste that goes along with producing all that shock, the vast majority of which ends up in the trash shortly after purchase.

            I think one of the most deeply held assumptions about the way the world works is that a growing economy is always a good thing. If Coke sold 1 billion cans of Coke this year, they should sell 1.2 billion cans next year. Why?

          • Zoning Victim

            I agree with you. Moving more of our taxation to the consumption side is naturally progressive and very difficult to avoid. Nobody who is materialistic is going to refuse to buy luxury items because they’re taxed. That’s like saying taxing alcohol will make people stop drinking.

          • KalashniKEV

            The problem is that you need to “shift” the tax burden to consumption and stop punishing people for what they earn.

            The entitlement crowd doesn’t know how to live without handouts, and from the looks of this article/event, doesn’t understand how anyone else can either. They’re tax drunk and any reduction in income taxes will make them scream bloody murder.

          • drax

            That’s great, Kev, except now you’re “punishing” people for what they consume. Is that really much different? What’s the point of wealth if not consumption? Saving? Sure, but you’re still taxes when you spend it later.

            There may be good reasons for taxing consumption instead of wealth, but I don’t think you know what they are.

  • Stitch_Jones

    This seems like a frivolous waste of tax money BUT…

    I think I shall actually attend the event and see what sort of benefit or boondoggle this really is.

  • Jeff Miller

    Let’s recap: The County is spending money to throw a party for affluent yuppies, inviting them to apply for upscale rental housing they can’t afford – and promising to make up the difference by squeezing higher taxes out of local homeowners and businesses.

    Anywhere else, that would sound like an April Fool’s Day gag or SNL skit. But sadly, that’s what passes for logic in Arlington County government, with its never-ending appetite for more spending and higher taxes.

  • John

    Hipsters left Arlington about 10 years ago. This is not the way to lure them back.

    Eckington, Petworth, Trinidad. Those are where hipsters can find affordable rents and like-minded, hip people.

  • Southeast Jerome

    I wonder why Artispere isnt sponsoring this in combination with the black box theater?

    And shouldnt this be held at Galaxy Hut?

  • Chris M.

    What ever happened to getting a roommate?

    • Youngin

      Most people around here figure that when they hit 25/26 they are above roommates. Roommates can be annoying, that’s why you get a bigger place for more of them or go a 2bdrm. Plenty of 2bdrms with decent recent. I prefer group houses, no apt bullcrap and more space

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8PuUU6IWps&feature=youtube_gdata_player awh hells bells

    I hope the prizes include a year’s supply of PBR and fixed-gear bicycles.

  • drax

    Hope ArlNOW goes to this event and reports on what kind of assistance (and people) we’re talking about here.

  • jackson

    Who came up with this awful, misleading, trying so hard to be trendy program name? Hipsters don’t admit they’re hipsters, so the people who go are claiming to be hipsters and thus aren’t, making them ineligible. Then again, hipsters love free food. Conundrum for them.

  • Arlingtonian

    Just spoke with Doug Myrick. Food donated by lenders and restaurants, not the county. However, a single person making up to $60K/year can qualify for rental subsidies; a single person making put o $121K/year can qualify for subsidized mortgages (1% down, 3.625% interest). Completely obscene.

    What happened to having roommates and saving your money until you could afford something? Government assistance – it’s not just for the low income anymore!!

    • JimPB

      Arlingtonian — For decades, there has been, and it continues, a very generous Federal financial dole for home buyers, especially the wealthy and very wealthy — the mortgage interest deduction. The cost of this tax benefit towers over Federal assistance for low- and moderate-income families.

      I hope your opposition to taxpayer assistance to home buyers encompasses the entire range of incomes, and that you will join me in urging repeal of the mortgage interest deduction dole.

      • N Quinn

        Do you have any idea what you are suggesting….

        Citizens who take the MID are the majority of people who actually pay taxes in this country…in other words you are saying

        “tax the citizens who actually pay taxes, more”

        If you think about the economics of this you would realize that taking away the MID would decrease housing values across the board (the benefit of the MID). Meaning that revenue from real estate taxes would decrease. This would more than likely offset the amount that you would gain from removing the MID.

        It doesn’t sound like a good idea to hurt the citizens who actually pay taxes by taxing them more, and lowering their real estate values significantly….Do you?

      • JamesE

        Turbo tax denied me plenty of tax deductions because I made too much. Take my Mortgage deduction away and I will murder people.

      • MC

        We are talking about County tax dollars being spent here to subsidize rents. The proposed County budget for the coming year asks to spend $28 million in County tax revenues on affordable housing, a significant increase. It is being done to support a supposed shortage of affordable housing. “Pressures on the supply of market-rate affordable housing units continue to grow, primarily due to rent increases. In addition, projected development in the Rosslyn-Ballston, Jefferson Davis and Columbia Pike corridors will make it even more critical for the County to be strategic in allocating resources. Specifically, the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Plan will suggest strategies and tools and estimate the magnitude of resources needed to meet affordable housing goals on the Pike.” However, they need to recruit people from outside the county to find enough to fill these County-subsidized units, because existing affordable units are not filled. There is no waiting list….

      • Clarendon

        I’m a homeowner and benefit from the mortgage deduction but think it should be eliminated entirely. Given the voter blocks involved though, I think the only politically fesible thing to do is to put a cap on it.

    • Arlington, Northside

      Problem is, this is the type of thing that creates the RE bubbles that we have mostly avoided here in Arlington. Sure the Condo Market went a little crazy in 2004-2006 and has only recovered back to the 2004 numbers recently, but single family homes weathered the storm pretty well, relative to the rest of the country and even Fairfax and Montgomery. Just wondering if these programs are going to falsely inflate the values, or hold them up when they might be ready to come down a little bit? Otherwise, I would like to take advantage of this program and move into that nice Colonial the wife and I have had our eye on on the 10 hole in Country Club Hills!

    • Mr. Helpful

      The vast majority of the rental subsidy opportunities do not allow max incomes up to that $60k figure, but rather max out at around $45,000 for an individual.

      “Rental CAFs typically serve households with incomes below 60% of median . . . ” from:

      http://www.co.arlington.va.us/departments/CPHD/housing/development/CPHDHousingDevProjects.aspx

      Figures for 60% AMI here:

      http://www.co.arlington.va.us/departments/CPHD/housing/hpp/CPHDHousingHousing_infoIncomeRent.aspx

      • Youngin

        From what I gather very few support anyone above 60%. And even the 80% number isn’t much of a steal (1600 for a 1bdrm versus 1800-2000)

      • MC

        What’s is insane is to think we have too much affordable housing now. We are trying to fill existing units by marketing them to people who don’t even currently live in the County. This shows what a farce it is to say we need to “preserve” affordable housing, and the suggestion that there is a shortage of it. The existing affordable housing goals and plans to expand the number of affordable units underwritten by county taxpayers have no basis in objective market realities.

    • Josh S

      I am extremely skeptical of the claim that a single person making $120K will qualify for any assistance. Please elaborate.

  • Justin

    Hilarious to me that people here actually think there are hipsters in Arlington. There might be, like, 7, total.

  • MC

    Clearly, the Housing Assistance machine is out of control. According to the latest Arlington Citizen delivered last week, some 15% of all apartment units in Arlington are now rent controlled, using tax payer support. It seems the county government feels a need to create demand for such housing by offering drinks and prizes. There is no affordable housing crisis if the county is desperate to market the availability of such programs to people who aren’t complaining.

    • stephanie

      People are complaining. They are just improving access to information through events like this.

  • jwg

    I had a venti latte made by a barista from Woodbridge once…I could taste the difference. This is a quality of life issue for all of us people!

  • dhousing

    All food and Door Prizes were donated by our longstanding real estate partners. No County money was spend

  • dhousing

    since Arlington has a large number of young people under the age of 30, County wants to ensure that they also know about affordable rental and homeownership options.

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