Housing Virginia E-News
July, 2011

Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance: Releases Preservation Study


Michelle Krocker, NVAHA Director

Angie Rodgers, Report Author

Amidst growing attention to plans for revitalizing three largely commercial corridors in Northern Virginia - Beauregard in Alexandria, Columbia Pike in Arlington County and Baileys Crossroads in Fairfax County - the Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance (NVAHA) has released a report calling for aggressive planning to preserve the more than 11,500 privately-owned market rate affordable units (referred to as MARKS) that exist in these planning areas. MARKS are affordable to low- and moderate-income households without using any government subsidy. The report found that they represent almost half of all rental units in these three close-in suburbs; they represent a majority of the affordable housing. MARKS tend to be older (30 - 40 years) and have poor access to transit, retail and amenities. Revitalization, however, will introduce new transportation and transit options, improved access to retail, and new green, pedestrian-friendly spaces. These changes present opportunities for MARKS owners to sell or redevelop their properties to attract new, higher-income tenants.

"Northern Virginia has lost tens of thousands of affordable housing units in the past decade. We also haven't created very much rental housing overall, so preservation of existing stock and existing capacity is key. Having enough affordable housing is not just a social services issue; it's important for the long-term growth and sustainability of our region" said, David Bowers, Vice President and Market Leader for Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.  


Preservation of Affordable Rental Housing is Key to a Healthy Workforce


Orlando Artze 

  • Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Community Housing Partners
  •  President of the Virginia Housing Coalition 
  • Member of the Board of Trustees of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority 
  • Housing Virginia Board Member

When my family arrived from Cuba in New York City nearly fifty years ago, our first home was a two-bedroom, fifth floor rental apartment. The building was only a few years old, and for my mother, the fact that the basement doubled as an emergency shelter in case of nuclear attack was a big selling point. Its location one block away from the subway made it easy and inexpensive for her and my father to commute to their jobs in Manhattan. Talk about transit oriented development-the windows rattled whenever the train passed by. And the rent was $160 a month! I am certain that the combination of affordability and convenience to mass transit were important factors in my family being able to purchase our first home ten years after we arrived in the United States.

A few years ago, I visited my old neighborhood and found that the apartment building I first lived in was undergoing an extensive renovation. New roof, plumbing, electrical, windows, energy efficient heating system, kitchens and bathrooms were all part of the scope of work. It was being preserved for another generation of families whose reasons for living in a rental apartment are as diverse as the nationalities and races who live there. The building's owner, a private real estate company, was using a combination of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, bank and city financing to carry out the rehab and keep the rents affordable to working families and individuals.

In Virginia and around the country, the preservation of existing affordable rental housing is a key strategy to meeting the needs of our workforce. Virginia in particular has made a strong commitment to preservation. Through VHDA, Virginia is only one of four states in the nation that commits more than 50% of its allocation of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, an important financing resource, to preserving affordable rental housing.



Cyclists Spin Their Wheels for Affordable Housing     

This summer a group of 18 young adults are traveling by bicycle up the
east coast as part of Bike & Build's Capital Ride to raise funds and awareness for affordable housing efforts. Along the way, participants stop in communities where they meet with local residents, give presentations about housing issues and build homes with local affordable housing groups.

The Capital Ride earned its name by venturing through capital cities at the forefront of our nation's history. Starting in Richmond then heading north to Washington, DC and ending in Philadelphia, the route winds through three states and one district. While Bike & Build is known for its cross country routes, The Capital Ride, http://www.capitalride.org/, offers the Bike & Build experience in a two week period for those unable to commit to a full summer of riding. Richmond, Farmville and Charlottesville are specific Virginia destinations on this ride for affordable housing. 




In This Issue
Preservation of Affordable Rental Housing is Key to a Healthy Workforce
Cyclists Spin Their Wheels for Affordable Housing
Other Articles

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July 28, 2011 - The Hampton Roads Regional Housing Conference: Riding the Housing Wave  


July 28th - 29th, 2011 - Capacity Building: Organizational Development and Grantwriting Workshops, Fredericksburg, VA   

July 29 - August 1, 2011- VCEH 1,000 Homes Boot Camp

August 1, 2011 Hull Street Corridor Revitalization Project Initial Meeting 

August 31, 2011 - Jobs, Transportation and Affordable Housing Forum in Charlottesville, VA

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