Open letter from AGP webmaster John Reeder to Arlington County Board, March 14, 2014
Yesterday during a break while on jury duty at the Arlington Courthouse tenth floor, I looked out the window and recognized below the roof of the new county building that will house our long needed homeless shelter and county employee office.
Would it be possible given that this building and utility systems must be totally redone, to add solar panels on the roof and/or a green roof, both of which would reduce its carbon footprint and the cost of electricity?
Such a solar system would be a significant public example of the county government leading the way as an environmental model. It appears the roof of the building has unobstructed south view, perfect for solar panels.
By the way, I would like to add that I and the Arlington Green Party have long supported a year round homeless shelter, despite what individual Green members may have stated recently about their personal views. The year round shelter with the ASPAN office a long overdue step in our affordable housing program. I applaud the opening of this shelter as soon as possible, and would support keeping the current shelter building open until the new one is ready.
However, as you are aware, there are virtually no places in which to located many of the clients of the homeless shelter. Our group homes and group townhouses are totally full, and there are few if any vacancies in our committed affordable apartment (CAFs) and these will not accept previously-homeless people making well under $30,000 a year. There are seven vacancies in our CAF apartments this month, and the minimum income needed is around $34,000.
Moreover, many of the homeless have mental and/or addiction issues so that realistically they need to be placed in a specialized residential program outside the shelter. Right now these longer term residential programs are totally full. You need to fund more group homes and group town houses.
thank you for your attention to improving the new homeless shelter,