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Affordable Housing Development Opens in Ballston

by Katie Pyzyk October 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm 10,422 135 Comments

The opening of an affordable housing community in Ballston was welcomed with much fanfare on Tuesday evening. Numerous county officials joined new residents at The Jordan (801 N. Wakefield St.) for a grand opening ceremony.

The apartments are aimed at individuals or families earning 50-60% of the area’s mean income. A key selling point of the apartments is their proximity to local businesses and public transportation. They’re about one block from Ballston Commons Mall and about four blocks from the Ballston Metro. County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman pointed out that this is important because the people who typically need public transit the most are those with lower incomes. Residents at The Jordan are also eligible for a public transit subsidy.

Zimmerman said because Arlington is becoming a more expensive place to live, it’s vital to be creative and innovative in providing housing options. He said the county is at risk of losing its diversity without such options.

“We need to make sure this is a place in which everyone can live,” Zimmerman said. “Not just those who are privileged with a high income.”

The property is owned and managed by AHC Inc., a nonprofit developer of low and moderate-income housing. They acquired the property through a land swap with The JBG Companies. It’s part of the larger mixed-use development under construction at the corner of Glebe Rd. and Wilson Blvd.

The Jordan replaces the previous affordable housing complex nearby, Jordan Manor, which was demolished nearly three years ago. Residents at Jordan Manor who wished to move into The Jordan received first pick on the apartments. The Jordan houses 90 apartments, whereas Jordan Manor had only 24.

Five of the building’s units have three bedrooms and can accomodate larger families. Nine of the units are fully accessible to residents with disabilities. Amenities include a library, business center, courtyard with fountain and community room.

The first residents moved into The Jordan about a month ago, and the building is currently two-thirds occupied.

  • Thes

    How much parking did they have to pay to build for the low-income housing near metro?

    • charlie

      who cares. other than you?

    • Baja

      89 spots. That’s a lower parking-spaces-per-bedroom ratio than is ordinarily required by Arlington zoning, because it’s affordable housing and is located so close to metro and major bus lines. That’s probably a roughly appropriate parking allocation given that street parking already can be tight in that area and many folks in low-income housing have cars (see previous Jordan Manor and Gates of Ballston, for example, whose lots were/are packed with vehicles). Note that The Jordan’s garage has knock-down panels that enable a connection to the garage under 800 N. Glebe so there’s some flexibility if either building has a shortage or excess of parking (thanks to Bluemont Civic Association advocacy).

  • zzzzz

    I hope they drove around the back to see the disaster that is 9th St. This road is the only way to access the garages for this apartment building as well as the Virginia Tech building, but a large hole plus a raised metal plate in the middle of the road make it a huge hazard for cars that don’t have a high clearance. People are driving on the wrong side of the road to avoid having to scrape the bottom of their cars on the plate. And with people parking along the street, I wind up having to drive into the giant hole in order to get out of the Va Tech garage after work.

  • TGEoA

    Zimmernman should go for a run

  • JamesE

    Plenty of affordable housing on the sidewalk outside the ballston 7-11, just sit down and never leave, loiter as long as you want, urinate in the back and nothing will be done about it.

    • Matt B

      No kidding… someone should petiton 7-11 corporate to make a complaint from time to time.

  • Steve

    Glad I have to slave away at a job I can’t stand to be able to afford to live close to work while others’ get to live here subsidized by the taxpayers. Thanks…

    • jack

      Find a job you don’t hate, for a start. Second, stop being jealous of poorer people. That’s what the very wealthy want you to do.

      • Josh


    • ArlForester

      This is what I thought too. We could live closer to Ballston if we made less money. Instead, we get to pay for others to live closer because they don’t. Weird.

  • EW

    Ew, poor people.

  • CW

    Just to clear things up before anyone goes on and on about this place becoming a harbor for vagrants, 50-60% of Arlington’s median income (article says mean but I don’t know why; median is more commonly used) would be $63,500-$76,200 for a family based on 2007 numbers (probably low). Most anywhere else in the country, that would get you a 3 bedroom house, two cars and a boat.

    • zzzzz

      I’ve worked a block away from the Jordan/Jordan Manor sites for 11 years, and have never seen any vagrants or any signs of problems. The residents I see are just regular people, indistinguishable from everyone else working and living in the area.

      • AW

        you mean the poor people are not different from us?

        • Zoning Victim

          The “poor people” making $63,500-$76,200? Thank God the county is here to save them from starvation.

          • Burger


      • Carl

        So much for diversity then.

      • CW

        Right – that is my point. Any other article about affordable housing has generally been met with vitriol, references to illegals and crime, etc.

    • JamesE

      They drive Acuras not BMWs, disgusts me.

    • Earl the Butcher

      Excellent point, CW.

    • steve

      Kinda funny how someone who makes 60% of the median income in arlington who has no student loans is much better off financially than someone who makes 100% of the median here who has large student loans, yet one group gets this benefit, the other doesn’t.

      • wat

        Why should someone making 100k/year who can’t afford to pay off student loans deserve a free benefit?

        • Patrick

          Why does someone making between 60K and 70K deserve a free benefit?

          • Josh S

            I assume you’ll be pulling out the checkbook if the fire department ever has to come to your house…..

    • speonjosh

      The maximum income allowable varies by household size. And, there is no official “50% or 60%” of AMI. We can use HUD’s “Very Low Income” as a proxy, since it is usually very close to 50% of AMI.

      In any case, the FY2010 Arlington numbers (effective May 2010 and would already have been superceded by the FY11 numbers, but I don’t have them at hand) are:

      Max income to qualify for a household size of:

      1 ————– 36,250
      2 ————– 41,400
      3 ————– 46,600
      4 ————– 51,750


      Around here, that ain’t a lot.

      • Jason S.

        Sounds like a great way to subsidize underpaid workers at the local establishments. Perhaps businesses can actually pay livable wages instead of passing of their costs onto the rest of the residents to subsidize their employees’ costs of living.

      • wat

        Thank you. These are the numbers I was looking for, you are absolutely right. This information should have been in original article, or at least on company website for The Jordan.

        These limits for affordable housing are just higher than those of Section 8, and they are still not easy salaries to live off of in this area. The 36k figure for affordable housing of 1 person is the bare minimum entry level salary probably anyone who is reading this website would ever consider. Now take into consideration your upbringing, schooling, and current job, and imagine having a family of 3-4 and not even being fortunate enough to be eligible or qualified for that job.

        These people are working retail, hospitality, sales, and labor jobs. These are not 9-5 paid holiday type people.

        • Jason S.

          It doesn’t matter what they are, I don’t like subsidizing their employers’ labor costs. If he can’t find people to work for him without us paying their bills then he should go out of business.

          • Zoning Victim

            Who is this “he” that you are talking about? This is one of the most expensive counties in the area to live in; why should these people be able to live here on some of the most expensive soil around simply because they work here? What entitles them to live anywhere they want at other people’s expense? I love the way you speculate that they are employed right here in Arlington, too. For all we know, these folks are working in Springfield and just want to live here and figure they might as well is someone else is going to foot half the bill for them. Even if that were true and you were somehow able to pass a regulation that employers had to pay someone $60K a year to pour lattes for eight hours, you’d still end up paying for it when your latte started costing you $15.

          • Jason S.

            We don’t know where they work, do we? Either way, the point is that if the latte was $15 and that’s what it took to make the business balance the book with wages capable of attracting local workers, then it would rightfully go out of business. These artificial distortions to keep people and businesses where they cannot afford to be is silly. The price of something should be as close to the real cost as possible instead of trying to shove the difference off on the general public.

          • Zoning Victim

            I certainly agree with most of that because I’m also against the government doing anything that falsely alters the price of a product (subsidy/tax exemption/affordable housing/cheap loans/etcetera), except that I don’t agree that people who work in retail establishments and other non-skilled jobs need to make enough to live in Arlington. What’s wrong with living in Springfield or Woodbridge if that’s where people in those jobs can stand on their own two feet? I know people who are in the top 10% of wage earners who live over an hour from here because they don’t want everything they make to go into their mortgage. Instead of asking the government to subsidize their housing so they can have everything, they just suck-it-up and drive further. That attitude is why they’re in the top 10% of wage earners.

          • Jason S.

            Realistically, they only need to make enough to make the job worthwhile. Living within a particular zip code is not a right.

          • Josh S

            Uhhh, Victim, your live an hour away and thus no government subsidy neglects a simple fact – the government paid for the roads they drive on. Chances are, your friend is advocating for some highway he/she drives on to be expanded. By the government. Using tax dollars. So he/she can live where he/she chooses. What. Is. The. Difference?


          • Zoning Victim

            Yes, the government paid for the road he drives on with the money he and the other people who drive on the roads paid for through gasoline taxes; how does that compare in any way to a group of people who barely pay any taxes getting subsidized housing? Is he supposed to drive through people’s yards or ride a horse or something so he won’t be using the infrastructure he’s paying for like everybody else? I don’t really see what you’re getting at.

          • Carl

            For this stupid “roads” analogy to work, I would have to be able to go over to these apartments and hang out in their community center to watch TV or use their unit kitchens whenever I was in the area.

          • Josh S

            Are you suggesting these people are tax cheats?

            The last I checked there were no means tests for most government programs. The Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, they don’t talk about – only those who pay their way have rights.

            Perhaps your concern is for the mythological welfare queen – a person who kicks back and sucks off the public dole their whole life. I suspose there are some people who don’t lift a finger to help themselves and absorb undue amounts of public benefit. But I think worrying about them is A) probably way out of proportion to their actual numbers and B) probably misplaced in terms of who or what is actually a drag on society given what we know about the growing concentration of wealth in a smaller and smaller number of hands.

            If you get hit by a car when crossing the street, can I hitch a ride in your ambulence? I’m heading that way anyway and it’s raining…..

          • Zoning Victim

            No, I’m suggesting that their thieves. They don’t show up at the doors of more affluent people to steal from them, mind you; that would be too much like work. Instead, they vote people into high office who promise to steal from the more affluent on their behalf. Then those politicians take money from the more affluent for them and give it to them. The politicians pay their debt to the “underprivileged” for their vote in a number of different ways: Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, Welfare, exempting over 40% of wage earners from paying any income tax, etcetera. The recipients who haven’t earned the money they’re taking feel that they haven’t stolen, that they’ve just gotten what they were entitled to, when no natural law exists that says one person deserves what another has worked to attain

            Your pointing to everything out there that has some link to government spending and saying “well I hope you can live without this and I hope you can live without that” is documented as a deceitful debate tactic called straw man. It’s an intellectually dishonest debate tactic because it has nothing to do with the conversation; it makes as much sense as saying that people who are against big government are for anarchy. The only reason to use the straw man tactic is because there is no valid argument that affluent people should be fleeced so that unproductive people can live in a rich community.

          • Josh S


            So the politicians are in bed with the poor. Dang, all these years of getting millions of dollars from corporations, holding $5,000 a plate fundraisers, flying on the corporate jet to Barbados on “fact-finding” missions, etc – all of that and I thought it was the RICH people who had bought off the corporations. Somehow, it completely eluded me that people taking the bus across town to work some sh*t job, shopping at the local Goodwill for their kids’ clothes, and taking the family out to a fancy dinner once a month at Red Lobster were the ones actually running the show.

            Thanks for cluing us in. Forget Occupy Wall Street. Occupy the Jordan!

          • Zoning Victim

            Politicians are in bed with everybody who can get them elected: corporations, poor people, the elderly; anybody. Most productive people are finally waking up and getting sick of it.

            Your idea of what it means to be a poor person in America is outdated. You seem to think that people making $35-50K a year are poor. I don’t think these people are poor. The bulk of my friends make about $25-35K per year. They have non-rent controlled apartments down town, refrigeration, air conditioning and heat. They have modest vehicles, computers, TVs and clothes. They eat out much of the time, go to bars and have hobbies like fishing and biking. They don’t go hungry, mope around their apartments alone when they’re off work because they can’t afford to do anything, and they don’t go looking for a handout. They don’t make any more money than that because they don’t work full time or they work low paying jobs because they don’t want to put in the work that it takes to move up to a job with better pay. They’ve chosen their lifestyle and they live it.

            But there is a prevalent contingent out there that doesn’t think that they should have to make the kind of “sacrifices” it takes to live in Arlington or DC on $35-50K a year. They want to be able to live here on that salary and have a nice car, go out every night, buy expensive cloths, own 62’’ flat screens and a thumping stereo system, and they think everyone else should help them get it. It’s just a shame that people like you buy into their “we’re poor and deserve more” mantra. They don’t deserve more, they just want it. I realize that you are just doing it out of the goodness of your hearts, but pledge your own money to these folks, not mine.

        • Zoning Victim

          So somebody goes out and has kids they can’t afford and we should all have to chip in and help them so they can live in places they can’t afford?

      • bringmetheyuppies

        So one person at 36k, 12k ( one third) of which is spent on housing ( usual norm for housing) at 1k per month I can’t afford to rent at retail rates? There are lots of apartments in arlington for less than 1k. No, not the luxury high rises next to metro. The ones on the bus lines. Affordable housing is just a way to suck the dough from those better off and prop up the supposed underclass that really could do quite well on their own with sacrifice and sweat equity. Where are the Mclean subsidies based on percentage of that communities income? I want one of those.

        • Josh S

          Lots? Really?

          “Supposed underclass?” What are you, blind?
          “Really could do quite well on their own with sacrifice and sweat equity” Sniff, sniff. Pass the crudites, would you Marie? There’s a good girl.

          It’s probably too late, but a greater dose of empathy in your life would almost definitely lead to greater happiness.

  • EW

    Do poor people have rights? I heard they aren’t allowed to vote.

    • AW

      No, you are thinking of women.

  • KalashniKEV

    Why didn’t they just build this on Columbia Pike?

    • best comment yet


    • FrenchyB

      They are building more affordable housing on Columbia Pike – http://www.columbia-pike.org/?p=1168

    • FW

      Well, at least our maid service will be on time now.

  • Clizzledizzle

    Great, even more bums.

  • Factinista

    Here are the rental rates.
    1 bedroom – $913 – $1,112
    2 bedroom – $1,076 – $1,315
    3 bedroom – $1,218 – $1,494

    • John

      Not bad. All are cheaper than a bachelor apt in a typical Arlington high end building.

  • Jason S.

    “Privileged” with high income? Most people who have above average income didn’t get it through chance.

    • Carl

      He is such a bitter little man.

    • speonjosh

      Hey, if it’s such a burden, you can always share…..

      • Jason S.

        You assume too much, but I don’t bemoan people who make more than me, particularly when they have more capabilities than I do. I’ve certainly never considered my physician to be “privileged”, he made sacrifices and is rewarded for them. He wasn’t born with an MD.

        • speonjosh

          I think you’re also reading too much into the use of the term “privileged.” This is simply a gracious way of awknowledging that the people living in these affordable units shouldn’t feel inferior.

          • KalashniKEV

            Inferior, heck no! They are truly the “Privileged.”

            3 bedroom place in the corridor for $1,218 – $1,494???

            Too bad I’m inferior.

          • speonjosh

            Trade places then.

          • KalashniKEV

            LOL. Don’t threaten me with a good time, fella!

            Hanging out drunk all day with my peeps and then giant slumber party at the ASPAN?

            Sppaaaaaare change fo a Disabled Vetrin’

          • CW

            Interesting to see you make that comment, KEV. I’d often wondered about that – you seem like a military type and yet you so strongly hate “bums”, many of which owe their current state of disability to their military service. Does that ever bother you?

          • KalashniKEV


    • Nostradamus

      “We need to make sure this is a place in which everyone can live,” Zimmerman said. “Not just those who are privileged with a high income.”

      Zimmerman can suck it.

      • TGEoA

        [This comment has been deleted.]

  • Dan

    Diversity is overrated.

    • Patrick

      Zimmerman is a blatant racist suggesting that these “underpriveledged” people are more diverse then those that can afford to pay market rate rents.

      • Zoning Victim

        He’s not racist; he’s a politician buying votes with taxpayer money. That’s yet another reason why subsidies of any kind are morally reprehensible.

  • novasteve

    I still don’t understand why taxpayer money should be used to help people who can’t afford to live here to live here. I woud LOVE for people to help me with my student loans, that make me probably worse off than these people are, yet I don’t get any help on that, let alone on my rent.

    • KalashniKEV

      It makes a certain kind of person feel better about themselves to keep another type of person as a pet.

      • speonjosh

        I know it sounded noble and all when you saw Redford talking like that in Out of Africa, but really – it’s just kind of a sad and immature point of view. There’s a reason he was living alone in the wilderness…..

    • wat

      you chose to take on debt. many of the people this will benefit had no choice in being raised poor, or being immigrants in a country where they may have a hard time getting a job and yet still be better off than if they never moved.

      • Patrick

        Had no choice in being immigrants? Where they brought here on a slave ship? From my experience immigrants choose to come to this country.

      • Zoning Victim

        WTF? I didn’t choose to be poor; I chose to be upper middle class (I was shooting for rich) because I worked for it. When I was a poor, young apartment painter eating spaghetti with butter and garlic salt because that was all I could afford, I never expected anyone to take money from the general public and give it to me. Nobody chooses to be poor? I guess they don’t actively choose it, they just don’t choose to move up in the world.

        • madisonmanor

          You could afford spaghetti and butter? When I moved into the area, all I could afford was the boxes of Giant macaroni & cheese (when they were on sale) with cut-up pieces of whatever hot dogs were on sale and a diced green pepper if I was feeling rich. That was probably 4 or 5 nights a week. Scrambled eggs were the others. Lunch was a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. Technically I was just above the poverty level, but I never asked for a handout. Plenty of months of 18-hour days changed all that – I guess that was my choice, though.

          • Quoth the Raven

            DC was a good place to have no money, though, b/c for only a couple of bucks you could hit a happy hour at some place like the Front Page, buy a cheap beer, and eat a full dinner from the sometimes wonderful happy hour selections! One time they had steak fingers!!! I’ll never forget that wonderful night……

          • Josh S

            Exactly what is the point of this story?

            That you are a superior person because you ate mac and cheese a lot at some point in the past?

          • CW

            And, at that point in the past, Arlington probably wasn’t even an expensive place to live. Look at home values around 2000 or so.

          • Zoning Victim

            No, the point is that he is a superior person because he didn’t decide to steal money (or vote somebody in to office to do it for him) from people who made more than he did so that he could live in Arlington and still live a better existence then he could afford to at the time. He sucked it up and lived within his means and then changed his position in life without needing to live off of other people. With the entitlement mentality around these parts, I can understand why the point was lost on you.

          • madisonmanor

            Bingo. Was it really that hard to figure out?

            And I’m not superior, I just didn’t (and still don’t) expect others to pay for my quality of life because I simply WANT something. I made sacrifices in order to attain what I wanted, including living out in Fairfax first because I couldn’t afford Arlington, even with a roommate. I moved to Arlington when I could afford it.

            Now that I’m in a better place, I give plenty of my money and time to charities that I choose. I just despise being told that I have to support charities that really aren’t anything other than ruses for some people to feel good about themselves.

    • SheRa

      Many of the families living in affordable housing are disabled aka working poor. Their disabilities prevent them from working in either higher paying jobs or the number of hours and multiple jobs to allow them to live in Arlington. Most cannot drive so living in far suburbs is not an option when mobility is challenged. There are also elderly people on fixed incomes living in these complexes.

      I live in a market rate unit in an affordable complex. The market rate units help distribute the residents and I must say that I have lovely hard working neighbors in all income levels.

      I hope that none of you complainers ever get sick or disabled, since you don’t seem to feel as if folks with challenges are worthy of assistance.

      • South Awwwlington

        @SheRa: your statement is 100% inline with my stance on 100% Dedicated Affordable Housing:

        “I live in a market rate unit in an affordable complex. The market rate units help distribute the residents and I must say that I have lovely hard working neighbors in all income levels.”

        AC decided to ignore this popular notion when they did 180 degree turn with a 2 week Use Change Notice to my HOA regarding Arlington Mill. We will NEVER forget it.

        Once a supporter but tired of being taken advantage of…

      • Zoning Victim

        This is ridiculous drivel. Disabled people commute in from all over the place all of the time, and there are plenty of cheap apartments in DC. No, they’re not brand new places with all of the niceties that Arlington has to offer, but they don’t deserve that if they can’t pay for it. There are mentally retarded people who work at my company and throughout the district that don’t live close to where they work. They join van pools or take the bus to the metro. Nobody has a right to live in any particular place at the expense of some other person simply because it’s more convenient for them.

        If I ever do get sick or become disabled, you can rest assured that I won’t be coming to you for money because I’ll be insured against those things. If I can’t afford to pay whatever expenses I will have to pay and still live in Arlington, I’ll move to where I can afford to live, like these people should.

  • Bill

    I have an idea: why don’t we all put everything we earn in a giant pot and then divide equally to everyone. Everyone gets an even share, regardless of effort, education or earnings. Oh, wait, that was tried once before and it didn’t work out so well….

    • Thes

      You say that as if we already live in some kind of meritocracy, or where rich people don’t get any government help, or in which everyone has a equal chance from the start.

      • Zoning Victim

        Who doesn’t have an equal chance? And don’t talk to me about invalids, it’s awful silly to throw people who physically cannot take care of themselves, which the person in this picture may or may not be, in the same conversation with able bodied people who can pay their own way but feel entitled to the same luxuries as higher wage earners. Most people who don’t want to pay for affordable housing for other people also want the corporate welfare ended.

        • Thes

          ALL people cannot take care of themselves at some point in life. As infants at least, as elderly most of the time, as physically disabled sometimes, as diseased, as injured, as the victims of crime. Some people suffer few of these infirmities, some suffer more. Some overcome them, some don’t. Many can’t. Some children are born to free education to age 25, some to being smuggled to a new country at age 7 where they don’t know the language and are not supposed to be in school. Some people have 4 healthy grandparents to help raise and support them through early life. Some women are sexually abused and unsupported but decide to have and love the child anyway. Some people are born 7 feet 2 inches tall and can make big money playing basketball. Some people are not born smart enough to do work that hard as they work at it and necessary to society it is, provides more than minimum wage. Some are veterans who were injured physically or mentally serving their country cannot keep steady work as a result.

          I don’t mind at all that 2% of my taxes go to help provide decent housing to those who need it. I only ask that the money be spent wisely and not placing such housing on Arlington’s very most valuable land adjacent to Metro AND building underground parking for it as if it were located in Springfield. One or the other, please.

          • Zoning Victim

            Most elderly people can’t take care of themselves? I haven’t seen any proof of that, and I’m from south Florida.

            You may not mind giving your income away, but other people do. I don’t mind donating to charities I believe in, obviously, but I object to my government forcing me to donate to their charities. If you want whatever 2% of your taxes equals to go to affordable housing, you’ve always been free to do so by donating that money. The problem is that you and I actually give well over 60% (58% just in Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and Welfare) of the taxes we pay to support other people. That’s not money that we’ve chosen to give away, that’s money that the government takes by force. How nice it must be to simply vote yourself into prosperity.

            That 2% for affordable housing for working people just keeps growing and growing when you decide to stop merely forcing taxpayers to pay for the indigent and instead, pay for everyone who is “old” (regardless of how much money they have) or unwilling to work or move to where there is work. But now it’s not enough just to pay for the old and the lazy, now we have to pay for people who work and make more than the national poverty level (which is a joke to begin with) to live on some of the most expensive property in the nation. It’s simply never going to end. We will have never given enough as long as politicians can buy votes by freely giving the money of the productive to the lazy.

          • Josh S

            The objecting to your government forcing you, etc / taxation is stealing, etc arguments are dead, Victim. You might as well stomp your feet and hold your breath until your face turns blue. It’s just simplistic, childish nonsense.

            We all have things that the government spends money on that we disagree with. In the end, absent out and out corruption or theft, you have to just accept it. It’s a complex world. Deciding how to allocate taxes is a messy thing. But I think you have to accept that the vast majority of those involved are acting in good faith.

            Things like affordable housing are a safety net. They are not given away as entitlements. No one is going to get ahead of you and live the good life by living in these places. You needn’t feel jealous of them. And resenting those in a lesser economic status as you just sounds terribly cold hearted and probably misplaced. There are plenty of targets for resentment in our society, I think poor people would be fairly low on the list.

          • Ricardo

            I don’t think the resentment is targeted at the poor. It’s targeted at the idea that it’s morally proper to take from one person and give to another, even if the recipient is deserving. No one is arguing that charity should be illegal.

            I sometimes wonder if beautiful women should be forced to date one ugly guy for every good-looking guy they date. Surely the ugly are as deserving as the poor, and surely the ugly did not “deserve” their fate. Beautiful women can always “opt out” of the deal by refusing to date anyone at all. But if you’re a beautiful woman and you insist on dating good-looking men, you’ve got to be equitable and date the ugly as well.

            I’d apply it the other way too, of course.

          • Thes

            The government isn’t doing something as extreme as telling people who to date. It is taking a *fraction* of the income and assets of people who happen to be able to pay them and using them, among other things, to provide minimal decent life services to people who need them.

            I suspect many of the people objecting to this are the ones who already “won” the lottery by having health, brains and/or family support. Sure, you work hard, and so you get more. Maybe Bill Gates worked 8 times harder than you, but he didn’t work 80,000 times harder than you. He is not 80,000 times smarter than you. Luck played a role, as it did for all of us. If his business had failed he would have been eligible for food stamps and nights in a homeless shelter until he could try something else. Since his business succeeded, he can help take the edge of failure for others who take risks. The government helps insure your checking account. The government also ensures you against disability or other forms of plain bad luck. If you really want to try to live without any government support, insurance or protection, go to Somalia.

          • Zoning Victim

            Funny, accusing people of being of being simplistic and childish are both great examples of the intellectually bankrupt debate tactics that are the sisters of straw man.

            If you think that entitlements are theft is a dead argument, you should checkout Obama’s approval rating. I absolutely reject that the politicians who have setup these entitlement programs are acting in good faith. They are buying votes and adding to their legacy; stroking their own egos. Willful charity is a gesture done out of good will, signing someone else up for charity under the threat of incarceration is not.

            So I resent poor people and I’m jealous of them now, huh? Ad Hominem, eh? You’ll get to all of them before all of this is over. I know a lot of poor people who have never taken a dime out of the system. Some of them are very dear to me and some aren’t. Some of the poor who are very dear to me (and many who aren’t) take from the system constantly while they go out to dinner almost nightly, buy booze, get tattoos and have more babies; all while they’re collecting public assistance. I resent their behavior and sense of entitlement to other people’s money, I resent the fact that they ask for a handout while they spend money stupidly on things they do not need and I resent the fact that they continue to have children they cannot afford; I do not resent them for being poor.

          • Zoning Victim

            Thes, that argument is wrong on many levels. By a fraction of my income; you mean like 50%. Because that’s what my taxes are when they’re all added up and only about 30-35% of that goes toward infrastructure, defense and the general running of the nation. The rest is all entitlements.

            I think it’s abundantly clear that the people I don’t want to share my income with are the people who can make it on their own, not the people who got dealt a really bad deal in life and truly cannot take care of themselves. Pulling out the “Somalia argument” is really meaningless to the conversation. I don’t understand why everyone who discusses politics likes to pull out two dimensional straw men all of the time. If you want to stop subsidizing housing for people who could just move 10 miles away you must be for no government; move to country “XYZ.” If you want to help the poorest of the poor you’re a socialist, you should move to country “XYZ.” See how easy that is and how little that helps?

          • Thes

            A lot of people who say they “did it all on their own…” didn’t.

          • Zoning Victim

            If you’re taking the home mortgage deduction, then you’ve already “done it” yourself. So I don’t really get that being on the list. I don’t consider not taxing someone to be a government program, anyway, but I’ve been pretty clear that I think they should get rid of that and all other tax deductions along with all subsidies and entitlements so they can lower tax rates and make things more fair for everyone.

            The GI bill and veterans benefits are earned and have no business on a list with welfare and grants. They might as well lump soldiers salaries in this list as a government program if they’re going to put that on there.

            For the record, I’ve never taken any money from any of these things and neither did my parents.

          • drax

            ZV – the entitlements you’re paying for, Social Security and Medicare, are entitlements you will get back later. It’s not like those are just welfare going out into the ether.

          • Zoning Victim

            Well, that’s somewhat debatable. No matter what side of the entitlements debate you’re on, it’s pretty well understood that left unchanged, they current system will bankrupt us. I realize some form of it will probably be there when I retire, but a much better alternative for me would be that I just keep and invest my own money in something that’s not a Ponzi scheme. I’d much rather see a system that is a true safety net only for truly poor people and the rest of us just take care of ourselves. The only reason it was setup to pay out to everyone regardless of need is because they knew people would never stand for paying into a program they weren’t going to get anything out of. Put everybody in the program; give them back more than they put in despite the fact that the money isn’t invested to grow and voila!; you have a program that people can stomach enough to vote for even though it’s destined to go broke for some future generation.

        • drax

          “Who doesn’t have an equal chance?”

          Well, for instance, invalids.

          “And don’t talk to me about invalids, it’s awful silly to throw people who physically cannot take care of themselves”

          You asked.

    • speonjosh


  • Carl

    I hope these people are very appreciative of the money they are taking away from our government just because they refuse to live where they can afford to pay for themselves.

  • ballston

    Wow, wish someone would’ve helped me so I can live in this area. My place is a shoebox. If only I had a subsidy….

  • wat

    Here is a complete list of Affordable Housing in Arlington

    Here is the details on what exactly “affordable housing” is, and the income restrictions.

    Many people seem to be misunderstanding exactly what these terms mean, even though others have pointed out that for 1 person the income limit is 36k/year.

    • TGEoA

      Boo hoo. They should go live out in Dale City and get up at 4am instead of making the rest of us pay for the privilege of having them as neighbors.

      • Zoning Victim


  • A Ballston Resident

    I am all for helping people who are less fortunate and have grown up with circumstances making it more difficult for them to get an education, the job they want, etc, but this also really annoys me knowing that, once my husband and I sell our one-bedroom condo in Ballston, we’ll be forced to move out to Fair Lakes or Chantilly or Ashburn or somewhere else where a townhouse doesn’t cost $600K+. Many people who make what others consider to be “good money” can’t afford a small townhouse let alone a single-family home in this area, so essentially we are all forced to leave the county when we decide to have a family and need more than 700 sq. ft. of living space. That said, this doesn’t really seem 100% fair knowing that no one is pitching in to help me or others in my same situation afford to stick around North Arlington.

    • CW

      Why can’t I raise 15 kids in midtown manhattan with the amount of money I make?? Why! Why! Why! It’s not fair!! Cue sad song on tiny violin.

      • South Awwwlington

        EXACTLY the point of the folks opposed to this program. MOVE WHERE YOU CAN AFFORD TO LIVE AND RAISE THE FAMILY YOU WANT!

        I thought you were for Affordable Housing????? Are you sure?

        • CW

          You’re right in that this is a complex issue. I am for rent-controlled housing when it is proven necessary and in particular if it is used to support necessary infrastructure and public service jobs, such as keeping firemen, teachers, etc. able to live in the area. In Arlington, there’s little such information as to how the housing is allocated. Thus it is hard to make a judgement. I think that it is a tool that should be used strategically by a jurisdiction when there is data to prove that its existence will aid the common good. The above poster, in contrast, sounded like they were just whining.

          • South Awwwlington

            It’s amazing how much we agree on this. And it seems we both agree that the County should disclose this items.

            Unfortunately, I don’t really believe the board is doing this because they give as damn. They are doing it so no one can say Arlington “sold out.” Let’s face, this is a desirable place to be and it’s not DC which makes it even better in the opinions of some and not others. It wouldn’t sit well with the Democratic base at large if our Board was presiding over a 100% white, 150k+ earning populace, would it?

            Too bad for Virginia that it can’t get rid of the Albatross known as Arlington.

            Too bad for Arlington that no matter how hard it tries, it will never again be part of the District (or shake the Albatross known as Virginia).

            I would also add, there is a whole HOST of rundown ####holes on S Four Mile Run Drive and S Dinwiddie just waiting to be bought and fixed up. Why not offer programs for these houses and for those willing to rehab them (and meeting income guidelines)? They are a blight to the entire region.

          • CW

            Well, with respect to the last part, initially I agreed, thinking that it would be great to clean up the neighborhood. But then I thought, wait a second, if there are people living in them and paying the rent, then isn’t that what you and the other anti-subsidized-housing types would want? Shouldn’t the free market let them live in a blighted ####hole as long as they’re willing to pay market value?

          • South Awwwlington

            Well if these houses/duplexes are owner-occupied, then so be it. If they are for sale or are rentals, perhaps the County could work out financing and the like to rehab them while maintaining affordability for the buyer. I dunno, just a thought. So many of those houses need just a yard clean up to start. I am shocked the County doesn’t enforce mowing, sidewalk maintenance, etc.

          • South Awwwlington

            @CW – I am not 100% for or against anything. Life is a shade of gray. I think there have to be more creative ways at achieving the goals which are in the best interest of the entire community while not upsetting certain market forces that keep Arlington a nice and desirable place to live.

  • Jim

    I suspect that I will have to move out of Arlington in the not to distant future because our rent has gone sky high. My impression is that if Arlington did not subsidize so much housing with special taxes on apartments, then everyone’s rent would be less and more people could afford to live in the county. The county’s policies are hollowing out the middle. You either need to fall into a low income bracket and get subsidized housing or have a very high income. Those is the middle get to live somewhere else. I think we would all be better off if the county played less of a role in subsidized housing.

    • South Awwwlington


    • TuesdaysChild

      Agreed. Excellent comment.

    • Al Gore

      The trick is to not be in that 61-99% range.

    • Josh S

      You’ve got to be kidding, right? You think Arlington subsidizing housing causes rents to be high in Arlington? I don’t even know what you mean by “Arlington subsidizing housing with special taxes on apartments” – that statement doesn’t seem to reflect any reality that I know.

      But even if you imagined a county with no affordable housing at all, I fail to see how that would result in rents going DOWN. There are plenty of newer developments in Arlington with no affordable units in them that are charging astronomical rents. Even in the supposedly “poor” parts of town like Columbia Pike. And the units are renting. It’s amazing to me, I don’t understand how people can afford it.
      But back to the county and affordable housing – I’d be surprised if the total number of “affordable” units was even 5% of the total number of rental units available. It’s almost definitely much lower. It’s just not enough to noticeably affect the market.

      There is definitely a “hollowing out” of opportunities for the middle income bracket, but it’s definitely not the county’s fault for somehow subsidizing affordable housing. And just to clarify, I’m not sure there is much of any money in ARlington’s budget being spent on affordable housing in the first place. Most money for that kind of thing comes from the feds. Or Arlington can occasionally negotiate with developers to require a certain number of affordable units be set aside in their project.

      • South Awwwlington

        @Josh S:

        Do you know what percentage of “Affordable Housing” is made available to folks in the 61-99% range?

        Lets say as a new employee and single, you initially qualify to apply for one of the 40-60% of ami units…you work hard and get a raise or two (when they were being given) ad all of the sudden you pushed slightly above the 60% threshold (being single). You now no longer qualify for the program, must move, and are basically holding less in the bank because your cost of living jumped way beyond your 5% pay increase.

        This is the White Elephant in the room that NO ONE on the Board will discuss. To hear the Board speak during their monthly meetings, these buildings are all filled with your neighborhood teachers, police officers and fire fighters. (All of the salaries of which are posted online.)

        Instead, were are subsidizing hourly employees to live in neighborhoods were folks holding MBA’s and PhD’s can’t afford to live. These facts should at least make EVERYONE more sensitive to the “Other Side” in this debate.

        • Josh S

          You are absolutely right – there is a major gap in the range you’re talking about. It’s not just around here, it’s nationwide. So folks are trying to do something about it, creating 80% AMI units and even a new category called workforce housing that allows incomes up to 120% of AMI. It’s unfortunate, but true, that in places like DC Metro area, even 120% of AMI is not enough to pay market rate and still be using a reasonable portion of your income for housing.

          I still don’t think all of this should cause anyone to resent the folks getting the benefits. For the most part. There are definitely some that game the system. Check out how many Georgetown Law students are living in the affordable housing units in the District, for example. These people should be resented.

          What to do about affordable housing is a conundrum. I don’t think nothing is the answer.

          What amazes me is how much people here commonly complain about “Clarendouches” and how the snooty entitled people are ruining Arlington but then some of the same folks turn around and complain about efforts to allow lower-income people to continue to live in Arlington. Doesn’t make sense to me.

          • South Awwwlington

            I would agree, “nothing” is not a solution. But ignoring the work force housing need while only considering the lowest end of the spectrum is not a solution either. Most of the degree holding workforce in this area can’t afford to live here (according to the 25-33% rule my parents lived by).

            The County should be equally distributing units among the ami ranges to ensure the best attempt at maintaining fairness and their goal of diversity ad inclusion (which are good things).

            What I don’t want is to hear of people driving down the Pike and saying, “Oh look, there is the CVS Dorm” or Section 8 whatever.
            —as a side note but related:
            I might add, in the case of Arlington Mill, since the parcel was divided into two (one for the CC and one for housing), why not wait for the market to adjust and receive financing for a true mixed rate building? Or expand the ami range to include up to 80% of ami. The result would be a far more diverse range of occupants over the current configuration. It truly seems like APAH saw an opportunity to claim an entire parcel and improve it with new construction and they seized on it. As a neighbor to this project, I resent the two week notification the board gave my HOA and neighboring civic associations regarding the shift. We didn’t have time to adjust our schedules to make the meeting, let alone do homework and form opinions. It was a very shady action on ACB’s part and they aren’t exactly starting off on the best foot with their new neighbors.

          • Josh S

            I’m not sure how much flexibility there is to “distribute units among the ami ranges.” Again, a lot of the fed dollars come with rules.

            It is a worthy goal, to be sure, but a difficult one to pursue.

          • South Awwwlington

            No matter how hard I try, I cant get anyone to vocalize an opinion regarding AMCC Housing and the switch-a-roo. I would assume that the silence of ordinarily vocal folks, for and against, means that we’re all in agreement regarding this…or they are still consulting with their lawyers.

    • CW

      Hmm, yes, rents are indeed getting quite high. It could very well be due to the fact that the County is subsidizing a small number of rent-controlled places with taxpayer dollars. Or, it could be the fact that the second the U.S. economy seized up, every white-collar professional and every college graduate for the past 3 years ran kicking and screaming like a bat out of hell into DC and Arlington, seeing as to how it’s been just about the only city on earth with positive job growth since 2009. And, you know, it takes time to build buildings, so supply exceeded demand. Nah, couldn’t be that, must just be the rent subsidized people.

      Want to look for something that drives up rents and inflates them? I’d look at the military housing stipends. My current building and last building were both brand new constructions, very high rents, and have/had probably at least 10% active-duty military. Unless they bought those fatigues at a surplus shop. I’m not saying servicemen should be put up in a dump, but these buildings are sure a hell of a lot nicer than a barracks.

      • Zoning Victim

        Exactly, it’s called supply and demand. The value of property is going to go up in this area until it finds the point where it equalizes with the value of the job market. This is a normal part of life. The people who can’t afford to live in Arlington, anymore, will have to move a little farther out; too bad.

        I can’t think of a more underpaid group versus what their job entails than our soldiers. You think we should institute programs that take money from one group and give it to another so that construction workers, mechanics, firemen, teachers and police (who really aren’t underpaid) can afford to live in Arlington, but the fact that soldiers can afford to live here upsets you and is driving up the cost of housing? I don’t get it.

        • CW

          Your response entirely misses the point.If you’ll look above, you see that I haven’t taken an extremely firm stance either way on subsidized housing in this regard – I said it was a complex issue and that where it made sense and was of benefit to the greater good it would be warranted.

          Now, with respect to the military, what I was saying is that it seems that military stipends are quite high around here, as evidenced by their quality of housing, and that there are a lot of people receiving such stipends. This provides a base of tenants upon which landlords can depend. If landlords around the area raise rents, the cost of living stipends adjust accordingly. Thus landlords can keep pushing through the roof for these individuals, and there are a lot of them.

          I didn’t say anything about “soliders [who] can afford to live here”. I was referring to the economic impacts of military housing stipends on the rental market, just as other posters above were arguing the impacts of subsidized housing on the rental market.

          You will see in my post to KEV above that I implicitly hint at my (firm) belief in the need for improved care for our combat veterans, so don’t try to twist my words.

          • Zoning Victim

            I didn’t twist your words at all, and I understand that you see both sides of the argument and aren’t 100% sure which way is the right way.

            I don’t buy that military stipends are quite high based on your (probably very unscientific) 10% figure. For all we know, that place gives a military discount and they have to spend a large amount of their personal income to afford that place. I do, however, understand that if it was set high it could affect the price of housing with as many military men and women we have concentrated around here.

          • CW

            For what it’s worth, according to http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bah.cfm , the “basic allowance for housing” for 22201 starts at $1365/month and goes up from there. Now I know nothing about to whom this is applicable to in terms of military folks. But my original point, minus my anecdotes which don’t add much, is that there is a lot of government rent money out there on the table from all the people who are active and working at the Pentagon, etc., and that that certainly must have a nontrivial effect on the rental market.

    • drax

      So you’re saying subsidizing rents makes rent higher?

      • Zoning Victim

        A lot of people say that, and it does make some sense. If you increase demand, which is what happens when you basically pay people to live here, that will increase rents in non-rent controlled units.

        • drax

          Okay, I see what you mean.

  • MC

    I am increasingly uneasy with the enormous amounts of money that the County is guaranteeing on behalf of AHC. AHC seems like a good organization, but if it ever developed problems due to fraud or mismanagement, the County would be liable for tens of millions of dollars. AHC once served the County exclusively, but now it is doing projects in other states. The County Board shakes down businesses like Boeing to fund AHC projects, with little discussion if that organization is really the best use of developer funds. There is too little transparency here when so many County tax dollars are potentially at risk.

  • charlie

    let us not forget that a perfectly nice building, that AHC let fall into disrepair, was torn down. the land was then given to a private developer to build luxury townhouses.
    sure. fair trade.

  • Nostradamus

    Zimmerman can still suck it.

  • South Awwwlington

    I want some Wegman’s/Wal-Mart gossip. Whose got the goods? I can think of no better place than the end of S Four Mile Run Drive (you know, the area that looks like a Superfund site). ANYTHING has to be an improvement. Or maybe where the Goodwill is on Columbia Pike…or maybe Pike Plaza.

    Transportation wise, I am sure the County will require it to have a no more than 2 lanes, parking for 10, 2 helipads, 20 runways and 1 subway line to the moon. All dreamed up by the Miracle 5 and verified by NO Transportation Planning Professionals. (Joking of course, but figured we could all used a laugh).

  • Resident

    I support inclusion of affordable housing in Arlington County, but I am confused on the need to concentrate it in some of the most prime real estate areas of the Washington area, let alone of just Arlington . There is a somewhat odd inequity to think that a $95k/year family of three (someone I know who couldn’t afford a rental in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor) would be priced out of a two bedroom rental in central Ballston on the basis of affordability, but the county feels it would be discriminatory against those making half that not to have the ability to live in this specific neighborhood…why not instead have a more limited program in prime areas targetted at municipal workers, police, teachers etc. whose local presence close to their workplaces is an essential public good.

  • kelly

    You people are morons!! AHC is a life saver for a single mother who doesn’t make very much. I can not afford to pay $1400 – $2600 in rent.

    I make $12.98 @ 40hrs a week. You do the math. Where can I afford to live that is safe for me and my son? I am an American. I didn’t get smuggled over illegally. I bust my a$$ to work and take care of my 12 yo son. We need much more programs like this in place!!


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