County Board candidates John Vihstadt and Matt de Ferranti respond to questions from AHS on their approach to the County’s affordable housing crisis.
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.
Arlington held a community forum to discuss options for updates to the County's Accessory Dwelling Ordinance.
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.
Answers to 6 key questions about AHMP . . .