U.S. House passes budget with $5.9M for Arlington, focused on housing and recreation

Bridge 31, or the Trollheim Bridge, on the Mount Vernon Trail (courtesy Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail)

Federal funding is on track to bring more housing for many of the county’s most vulnerable residents as well as trail improvements and new playground equipment.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved on Wednesday $5.9 million in funding for Arlington initiatives in its annual budget. A little more than half of that funding — $3.3 million — is for housing for low-income residents, domestic violence survivors and chronically unsheltered people.

“Affordable housing is a major need in Northern Virginia, and I am thrilled that I could help address this issue by securing federal funds for housing projects in all of the jurisdictions I represent: Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, and Fairfax County,” Rep. Don Beyer (D) said in a press release.

The rest of the House-approved funds are for $2 million total in improvements to the Mount Vernon Trial and Arlington Boulevard Trail, plus $500,000 for upgrades to Monroe Park Playground.

The funding, according to the release, is expected to pass in the Senate, which has until the end of today (Friday) to pass a budget and prevent a partial government shutdown.

Of the $5.9 million, the biggest-ticket allocation is $1.5 million for Doorways, Arlington’s only service provider for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The expenditure, which will be matched with private funds, is intended to help Doorways acquire apartments to provide shelter and longer-term housing for survivors and rely less on hotel rooms.

In a similar vein, $1.3 million is meant to allow PathForward to purchase an apartment building that houses people who have repeatedly fallen into homelessness. Leaders of both nonprofits previously told ARLnow they are seeing an increased demand for their emergency services but inflation pressures are straining their ability to provide them.

Lastly, another $500,000 would support efforts to convert the Melwood property at 750 23rd Street S., near Crystal City, into 104 units of affordable housing.

Arlington trail and park upgrades may also get a financial windfall.

Five miles of the Mount Vernon Trail running along the Potomac River between Rosslyn and Tide Lock Park in Alexandria are on track to receive $1.3 million. This funding would go toward widening the trail, which is one of the most popular commuter and recreational routes in the region, as well as realigning portions of it.

Another $720,000 would go toward safety improvements on Arlington Boulevard Trail, where a narrow sidewalk is directly adjacent to the road’s on- and off-ramp.

Finally, $500,000 could replace play equipment and improve amenities at Monroe Park Playground, a 23-year-old recreation site that is due for renovations.

“Even in the minority amid a divided and chaotic Congress, I am laser focused on helping my constituents and benefitting Northern Virginia,” Beyer said.