Virginia law provides housing authorities with unique powers to help preserve affordable housing. Unlike Alexandria and Fairfax County, Arlington doesn’t have one. Please sign the petition to place a referendum on the ballot next November asking Arlington voters to approve a housing authority. Here’s why:
1. Preserve Existing Affordable Units
Since 2000 more than two-thirds of Arlington’s affordable rental units have disappeared. The Arlington Housing Authority will reverse this trend by purchasing rental properties and keeping them affordable.
2. Provide Housing for Public Employees
Most Arlington firefighters, police and teachers can’t afford to live here. The Housing Authority will set aside housing for public employees to buy or rent. This will make Arlington a better place to live and work.
3. Leverage Money for Affordable Housing
The Housing Authority will leverage money for affordable housing by issuing long-term tax-exempt bonds to finance low income housing.
4. Act as a Land Trust
The Housing Authority will preserve historic apartment complexes and their surroundings.
5. Operate Subsidized Housing Units
The Housing Authority will receive federal funding to build and operate subsidized housing.
6. Consolidate Low Income Housing Programs
County housing staff are now scattered among a lot of agencies. Under the Housing Authority, staff will report to one voluntary board of directors appointed by County Board. This will assure a unified approach to public housing.
7. Condemn Substandard Housing
The Arlington Housing Authority can condemn, acquire and renovate substandard properties slated for demolition or redevelopment, saving paying tenants from eviction.
8. Qualify for HUD Loans and Grants
The Housing Authority will qualify for federal loans and grants not available to Arlington’s existing non-profit housing providers. HUD provides extensive funds for U.S. housing authorities.house_sketch
9. Provide Economies of Scale
The Housing Authority will either contract directly or negotiate with existing non-profits to purchase and/or renovate properties at the most affordable price.
10. Advocate for Affordable Housing
The Arlington Housing Authority will advocate for affordable housing on a par with schools, recreation centers and libraries.