Greens to Arlington County Board–Fund 2,000 Housing Grants for Low Income Arlington Tenants in FY 2018
Arlington Greens Budget Proposal for FY 2018 for Improving Arlington Housing Assistance
Good evening: my name is John Reeder and I am here to speak on behalf of the Arlington Greens. We
support funding about 2,000 more housing grants of $300 per month to help the lowest income Arlington residents (those earning 50 percent or less of the area median income (AMI)). This will cost $7 million a year. We also bring tonight a petition supporting our request signed by 40 Arlington residents from all over our community.
In FY 2017, the county will spend $10 million for housing grants for 1,200 households of which one fourth are families with a child, about half are disabled persons, and one fourth, seniors over 65. All earned well under 30-percent AMI.
The county manager proposes to cut $0.5 million from FY 2017 level. We oppose that, and propose to add $7 million more to the $9.7 million spent this year.
We recommend that you eliminate all eligibility restrictions for housing grants—except for income and personal financial assets. Today only disabled persons, seniors over 65 or couples with a child are eligible.
We propose that the current zoning fee on apartment developers be increased to a reasonable level to raise $7 million more in tax revenue that would fund the expanded housing grants.
According to the Affordable Housing Master Plan, there are 15,000 Arlington renter households earning under 50-percent AMI, and most receive no housing assistance.
Housing grants are the county’s single most effective housing assistance program. A HUD study found that housing grants were 72 percent less expensive than building new subsidized apartments.
One million dollars spent for Arlington County housing grants would help 250 households with a monthly $300 grant, whereas one million dollars spent for AHIF funding would help at most 8-10 households with a new unit.
Two years ago the board unanimously approved the Master Plan with a goal to provide housing assistance to 640 additional households per year. You need to come up with the funding and means to meet your goal, and tonight we offer you one possibility.