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Preserving Our Past and Building for the Future Arlington County's 2017 Affordable Housing Annual Report

The theme for this year's Affordable Housing Master Plan Annual Report is “Preserving Our Past and Building for the Future.”

The Affordable Housing Master Plan has 3 broad goals

The AHMP recognizes the need to produce new affordable housing, and also to preserve the affordability of the existing housing in Arlington. Sometimes maintaining existing housing aligns with the preservation of historic resources, and other times redevelopment may be the most appropriate option to increase the supply of committed affordable housing. Arlington County leadership understands that balancing preservation with redevelopment is critical to maintaining Arlington’s unique history and character while supporting its economic growth and vibrancy. In Arlington’s fiscal year 2017, two affordable housing developments showcased its success in balancing these areas.

FY 2017 At-A-Glance

HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

The first goal of the Affordable Housing Master Plan, to “produce and preserve a sufficient supply of affordable rental housing to meet current and future needs,” recognizes the need to produce new affordable housing and also to preserve the affordability of the existing housing in Arlington. Sometimes the preservation of these affordable housing resources aligns with the preservation of historic resources, and other times redevelopment opportunities can increase the supply of committed affordable housing to meet the needs of our community. Arlington County’s leadership understands that balancing preservation with redevelopment is critical to maintaining Arlington’s unique history and character while supporting its economic growth and vibrancy. In FY 2017, two affordable housing developments showcased its success in balancing these priorities.

Union on Queen

The new Union on Queen property replaced older garden apartments with a new 12-story, mixed-income, LEED Silver certified residential building, while also preserving two historic garden apartment buildings. The complex is located in the urban Fort Myer Heights neighborhood along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.

The site was home to the 50-unit Pierce Queen Apartments, a complex of five two-story buildings and a surface parking lot built between 1942 and 1946. Two historic buildings with 20 apartments were reconfigured and completely renovated into 12 three-bedroom apartments suitable for families. Union on Queen now provides housing for 193 households, including 76 units that are committed to remain affordable for 60 years.

Construction for the Union on Queen apartments were completed and put into service in FY 2017. Arlington provided support through its revolving loan Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF) for this project, which was sponsored by a partnership between the nonprofit Wesley Housing Development Corporation and the for-profit Bozzuto Development Company.

Westover

The Westover neighborhood, on the west side of the County, has nearly 700 garden apartments, built in the 1940s and listed as contributing resources to the Westover National Register District. Most of the multifamily housing in the neighborhood is market-rate affordable housing, which provides naturally affordable rental opportunities to low and moderate income families.

In the past few years, 62 market rate affordable units in Westover have been demolished for the development of by-right luxury townhomes. In response to community concerns that housing affordability was being lost in the neighborhood, Arlington County provided an AHIF loan to the nonprofit Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) to preserve 68 affordable apartments in eight buildings. APAH is currently in the process of renovating the units, which will be affordable to families earning at or below 60 percent of the area median income, for the next 60 years.

As part of the project, nonprofit provider A-SPAN will further efforts to end homelessness in Arlington. Eight apartments have been designated as permanent supportive housing units, and will include case management and other wrap-around services for residents transitioning out of homelessness.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION

As part of the adopted AHMP strategy to encourage the distribution of affordable housing throughout the County, a 2040 forecast of geographic distribution of affordable rental housing was produced. This forecast serves as a general guidance and is not intended to serve as a cap or maximum number of units in any given area.

Projects that were approved in 2017 spanned the County with the Fisher House II acquisitions at five locations in Westover, Ballston Station/Central United Methodist Church in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, Culpepper Garden in Buckingham, The Wellington in the Columbia Pike Corridor, and the first phase of the redevelopment of The Berkeley on Four Mile Run.

RESIDENT SERVICES

While funding is a critical component, Arlington’s affordable housing programs aren’t just about bricks and mortar, just as a safe, stable and diverse community isn’t just about housing. Arlington and its partners also invest in people and families of all types: long-term residents and new ones, renters and homeowners, Arlingtonians aging in place and young singles and families looking to the future. Here are some examples.

Aging-in-Place in the Community

The Smiths have lived in their Arlington home for 41 years. They raised their 2 children and have had many other family members stay with them throughout the years. Lillian worked in various roles for 15 years and Earl retired from the Arlington County schools. They were and still are members of the Mount Zion Baptist Church, volunteering within the community for many years.

These days, both Lillian and Earl have serious medical issues that require around the clock care for both of them. Given their circumstances, it has become increasingly more difficult to maintain their home, which has been a source of pride for them for many years. Now that it is an older home, it needs more constant attention, most of which they are not able to provide on their own.

This past year, Rebuilding Together worked on their home with several volunteer groups, including from Wells Fargo and the Housing Division of Arlington County. Rebuilding Together, with their teams of volunteers, completed a wheelchair ramp refurbishment, finished repairs on both baths, adjusted several ceiling fans, and painted several rooms to refresh the home. This work not only brightened the lives of the Smith family and their caregivers, but also provides much-needed repairs so that Lillian and Earl will be able to age in place in their home for many more years to come.

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