Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
Arlington is grappling with issues common to communities with urban areas. We can remain inclusive and value diversity as we progress and seek to remain competitive, but we must consider the importance of affordable housing as part of that competitive edge.
The need for affordable housing evokes different images — providing shelter for families in need; allowing lower-income workers to live closer to their jobs and to transit, promoting economic activity without adding to congestion; encouraging greater diversity and inclusion; aging in place without having to give up one’s home as real estate prices rise; strengthening and stabilizing communities; and, for some, housing “projects” and crime.
Arlington has attempted to maintain affordable housing as the cost of living has increased. In 1975, AHC, Inc., began working as a nonprofit affordable housing developer. In 1989, the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing was founded to develop and preserve quality rental communities for individuals and families earning approximately $20,000-$60,000 per year.
Housing is considered affordable when rent or mortgage, plus utilities, is no more than 30 percent of a household’s gross income. Across the nation, an estimated 12 million renter and homeowner households pay more than 50 percent of their annual incomes for housing. In 2012, average rents in Arlington increased to $1,999.
One must make generally make 60 percent or less of the area median income to qualify for affordable housing, which in Arlington is $45,180 for a single person.
Arlington County provides affordable housing by expanding the supply of Committed Affordable Units (CAFs) for low-income residents, and offering Market-Rate Affordable Units which are owned by the private market and tend to have higher monthly rents.
According to a 2011 literature review by the Center for Housing Policy, “the development of affordable housing increases spending and employment in the surrounding economy, acts as an important source of revenue for local governments, and reduces the likelihood of foreclosure and its associated costs.”
In 2012 the County commissioned a three-year task force to create a shared community affordable housing vision, but not everyone is happy with the direction of affordable housing in Arlington.
- Although it ultimately failed, in 2013 the Arlington Green Party (AGP) spearheaded a ballot initiative to create a low income housing authority. In a 2013 Washington Post article, AGP chairman Steve Davis noted, “…a housing authority would raise funds more easily, lower administrative costs, and provide more affordable rental units.”
- The County offered developers more density for their projects if they preserved 6,200 units of affordable housing on Columbia Pike as a part of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Plan. It is unclear whether developers will still be interested in building and preserving affordable units in light of the recent streetcar project cancellation.
- Under the Public Land for Public Good program, the county identified three to five publicly owned sites with the greatest potential for affordable housing development in the next 10 years. Yet, the Long Range Planning Committee of the county Planning Commission recommended that the program be “set aside” and the Arlington County Civic Federation is asking the County to start over — both citing a need for more public input.
- Additionally, Columbia Heights West, the civic association that encompasses the new Arlington Mill Residences, is an advocate for more affordable housing in Arlington, but questions the high concentration of affordable housing in some neighborhoods. Early drafts of the Affordable Housing Working Group study included a provision to ensure more affordable housing throughout the county, but it was deleted by the Long Range Planning Committee.
The diversity that can be achieved through affordable housing yields benefits such as higher education achievement. Washington Monthly covered Montgomery County’s implementation of inclusionary zoning, which requires developers to make a small fraction of the units in their buildings affordable, and led to improvements in student performance as lower-income students were exposed to the resources that exist in low-poverty schools. In Arlington, developers often pay a fee into the Affordable Housing Investment Fund rather than include affordable units.
To thrive, remain competitive and stay true to our progressive values, we must continue to attract talented people from various backgrounds and engage residents from throughout the county to find solutions to help create a better Arlington.
Krysta Jones is the Founder and CEO of the Virginia Leadership Institute.
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 14436 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…
When Hamid Habib Zada and Negin Khwalpak fled Afghanistan with their daughter Maram two years ago in hopes of escaping the Taliban, all they brought to America was a backpack full of diapers.
Interested in Italian wine? Join the Arrowine team this Sunday, June 11 to learn and taste wines from Italy’s most prestigious regions.
When the pandemic hit, Arlington resident Matt White, like many others, could not get a haircut. He noticed his hair grew quickly and, rather than cut it, he decided to…
Camps are just the beginning of what’s in store at Art House 7 this summer. We’re thrilled to offer an array of exciting classes for both kids and adults!Rediscover your creativity with some of our AH7 favorites, such as drawing, hand-sewing, modern embroidery, and our popular 3-week Jump into Crochet classes. But that’s not all! We’ve added some fresh and exciting options to our summer class selection, guaranteed to spark your imagination.
To enhance your artistic journey, we have intensified some of our Ceramics: The Wheel classes to a full 3-hour duration. This extended time allows for more creativity and skill development in each class session. If you’re eager for a captivating twist, give Contemporary Still-Life Drawing & Painting a go. Or why not try an immersive outdoor painting adventure? We have a unique opportunity for you to bring your painting skills to life while learning and creating in the great outdoors with our Landscape Painting: Studio and Plein Air class!
We invite you to visit our website and explore our full Summer Session schedule, brimming with a diverse range of classes and camps. Classes and camps begin June 20th. Unleash your inner artist, broaden your horizons, and embark on a summer adventure like no other. Let’s make this a summer to remember at Art House 7!
🌿 𝐄𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐥𝐝 𝐌𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐂𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫: 𝐑𝐞𝐣𝐮𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐁𝐨𝐝𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐒𝐨𝐮𝐥 🌿 Local business is the heart of a strong community, and at Emerald Massage Center, we’re proud to be a vital part of that heartbeat. Our passionate team of Licensed Massage Therapists is dedicated to providing you with a sanctuary of relaxation, rejuvenation, and renewal.
🌟 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐖𝐞 𝐎𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫 🌟
Our wide range of massage services includes Swedish, deep tissue, prenatal, sports massage, hot stone, aromatherapy, and more — all tailored to your individual needs. Whether you’re seeking relief from stress, muscle tension, or chronic pain, our skilled therapists will help you achieve total wellness.
🏆 𝐎𝐮𝐫 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐢𝐭𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 🏆
Homebuying 102: Contract Closing and Beyond
You’ve found the perfect house and you’re under contract, now what? Navigating the closing process can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.
Join ACFCU’s mortgage loan officers on June 21 at 5:30pm for part two in our first-time
Our archery classes start with the Explore Archery program. This is a six week course, with 60 minute classes for new archers ages 8 to 12.
Our indoor archery program is fun, rewarding and developmentally progressive. These classes are focused