Arlington County’s vision is to be a “diverse and inclusive world-class urban community.” The 2018 Leckey Forum explored the challenges to achieving this vision by exploring the historical context of racial segregation and current policies that keep neighborhoods from being more diverse.
The Fair Housing Act was passed fifty years ago, yet America’s neighborhoods remain deeply segregated along racial lines. Author Richard Rothstein argues that this divide is the direct result of government policies, some of which are relegated to the past and others that are still in place today.
In a move that will add much needed affordable housing stock to Arlington's Metro corridors, the County Board approved a site plan and rezoning request that would allow Wesley Housing Development Corporation to redevelop a former Red Cross Headquarters site, fronting on Rt. 50, into mixed-income affordable housing.
According to an Arlington County press release, the Buckingham neighborhood property situated at 20 N. Thomas street, 15 and 19 N. Trenton, and 4333 Arlington Boulevard will be redeveloped to include 97 affordable multifamily units that meet green and energy efficiency standards, 19 townhomes, and the preservation of the adjacent Whitefield Commons garden apartments.
In December 2017, the Arlington County Board approved Phase 1 of a proposal for a Housing Conservation District (HCD) that will provide protections and incentives to preserve or replace affordable apartments in market rate affordable buildings. Phase 2 of the plan, which includes developing a set of incentives to help property owners renovate or redevelop their properties in exchange for affordability protections, will be developed throughout 2018.
Do you want to help keep Arlington a diverse and inclusive community? At AHS we do! In the spirit of the importance of affordable housing, we offered a training about the Arlington for Everyone campaign for this year’s MLK Day of Service on January 15th. The campaign is designed to spark a community dialogue about the importance of housing affordability and housing options for the future of Arlington.
A coalition of experts and advocates urges the County Board to pursue strategies to meet the production goals set out in Arlington's Affordable Housing Master Plan
On Sunday, December 3rd, 2017, the Alliance for Housing Solutions Ellen M. Bozman Affordable Housing Award celebration recognized three organizations whose commitment to affordable housing was demonstrated through collaboration in the preservation efforts in Westover.
In a recent Progressive Voice column for ARLNow, our Executive Director Michelle Winters had the opportunity to weigh in on how we are doing two years after the Affordable Housing Master Plan was created. In the column, Michelle discusses the loss of critical market-rate affordable units, the worsening political environment, and the shortage of funding in the context of the Arlington housing market.
One of the biggest drivers of cost for housing is size, and when it comes to single-family homes, square footage has been on the rise nationwide for decades. If larger sizes drive up costs, then smaller sizes could help reduce them, potentially producing more affordable or moderately-priced options for people in our community. Smaller housing options such as tiny homes, cottage housing, and detached accessory dwellings are one part of the vital missing middle housing.
A recent study by Enterprise Community Partners points to public land as an underutilized affordable housing resource, especially in high-cost housing markets. The use of publicly owned land can provide an edge to nonprofit developers to acquire resources that are traditionally cost prohibitive. However, the use of public land raises two questions: first, what exactly is public land? Second, how can public land be used as a resource to meet affordable housing needs?
The Arlington County staff, County Commissions and Working Groups have been busy working on a number of policy efforts that will collectively have a sizable impact on housing programs in Arlington.
Although AHS focuses on local and regional housing issues, we always stay plugged into the latest national research on housing challenges and affordability to inform our work. Check out these recently released resources that provide evidence for the continued need for addressing housing affordability in Arlington and all our communities.
Arlington held a community forum to discuss options for updates to the County's Accessory Dwelling Ordinance.
The State of Affordable Housing Forum is an annual AHS event designed to engage the community in a discussion of a range of current events and the outlook for affordable housing in the coming year. This year's event subtitled “Federal Upheaval…Local Consequences” was held at the intersection of major federal decisions that could have lasting political impacts to the future of affordable housing finance and community economic development programs.
Each year, AHS is actively engaged in monitoring the Arlington County budgeting process and advocating for the level of funding and specific programs and policies needed to meet the housing needs of the County.
Working closely with the HousingArlington group and others throughout the FY 2018 budget process, AHS helped create a set of recommendations on housing and services issues. Between February and April, AHS and other advocates met with each of the County Board members to present and discuss the group's priorities and concerns.
AHS also submitted detailed recommendations to the County Board on the main housing-related budget items to help guide the Board's work sessions with County staff.
The final decisions for the FY 2018 budget were made at the April 22 County Board meeting, including the following - most of which are consistent with the housing and services groups' recommendations:
Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF) - allocated $4.9 million in ongoing funds and $10.1 million in one-time funds, for a total of $15 million. This final allocation is $1.3 million higher than FY 2017, but still far short of the amount needed to cover the pipeline of projects proposed for 2018.
Columbia Pike Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Fund (TIF) - reset the baseline of the TIF to remove the current balance of $880k from the fund. This action placed the funds into the County's general fund, which means that almost half of the funds will be shared with Arlington Public Schools due to existing County revenue sharing principles. Of the County's $471k portion, $200k will go to increased funding for the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) and the remainder will be added to AHIF (included in the numbers above).
Community Services Board's recommendation funded to add 2.2 development disability FTEs. These positions are funded mainly by 3rd party (Medicaid) revenues, so they will have little impact on the County's budget while providing vital new services to the community.
Lee Highway - funds the Lee Highway Alliance with $60k, and keeps the planned funding for the County to move forward on the Lee Highway planning process. This planning process is key to the area's ability to create and preserve affordable and middle-income housing options.
Childcare - the Manager had recommended adding a position focused on childcare in Arlington Economic Development (AED), but the Board decided to move the position to add a planner to CPHD to deal with planning and zoning barriers to childcare, plus consulting money for a study.