• The next meeting will be on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 7:30 PM at the Community Room of the Ballston Firehouse Station (located at Wilson Blvd and N. George Mason Drive).

September 14, 2015

Arlington Greens suggest changes to affordable housing plan

Below is the written position of Arlington Greens on the proposed Arlington affordable housing taskforce:

September 10, 2015
Arlington Green Party
Affordable Housing Master Plan, Implementation and Framework and General Land Use Plan

Preserve MARKs
The Affordable Housing Plan should explore creative ways to preserve MARKs (as in offering
renters the “first right of refusal”, incentives to building owners, extended land use for affordability, preservation of existing zoning, etc).

Single Form Based Code Policy
All Form Based Code projects throughout the County should include at least 10% affordable units (including those projects that have commercial spaces). Form Based Code projects could conversely represent an equal array of economic strata.

Cost-Saving Housing Options
The County should implement other housing programs that give priority to help Arlington residents who earn less than 40-percent of the area median income ($43,000 for a family of four or $30,100 for a single person).

The County Board should shift at least three-quarters of the (AHIF) funds that are being used today to finance the construction of new subsidized apartments, approximately $12 million to direct housing grants to low income residents. About $9 million of current AHIF funding could be diverted to housing grants, and another $10 million of new local tax revenue should come from raising fees on housing developers.

The County Board should broaden the use of grants which are twice as effective per dollar spent; they provide benefits to low income renters to use all over the County. By contrast, the AHIF fund mostly helps people earning 60-percent or higher AMI.

In examining the benefits of a one year housing grant of $1 million to spending that amount in AHIF, the difference is still large over 30 years. The ten CAF apartments yield $720,000 in lower rents. However, this economic value in 2015 (of such lower rents with regards to time and interest rates) falls to $480,000 ( present day “value”). This equates to a lump sum value in 2015 of receiving $24,000 a year in payments at a 3% interest rate over 30 years. By contrast, benefits of the housing grants are received in the first year; whereas, the benefits of lower rents in the CAFs accrue over 30 years.

Thus, expansion of the housing grants program could provide about double the benefits to renters than the same amount for new construction of subsidized apartments over 30 years. In the first year with a million dollars, housing grants help 167 households, versus only 10 households in CAFs. Housing grant-households are the lowest income persons in Arlington, and in addition must be a senior over 65, disabled or a working family with a child or children; thus, they are arguably the neediest group in our community. This group represents the most vulnerable segment of our population.


Integrated and Inclusive Schools
Affordable Housing Projects should encourage ethnic and social diversity in Arlington Public Schools, as well as address the achievement gap between affluent and less affluent schools by creating more equitable housing distribution throughout the County.

Infrastructure, Services, Densification/Gentrification
There should be coordination of Affordable Housing projects with ALL Arlington Government entities (Schools, parks and recreation, transportation, libraries, etc). Every effort should be made to preserve intact neighborhoods, and avoid relaxed zoning that achieves “densification and gentrification” and displacement of those of moderate means.

When new projects are accepted, special accommodations should be made for those who are disabled, the poor, and the carless who depend on stores such as Food Star for affordable food and ethnic fare. A project such as the one proposed on the Pike near market rate affordable housing would leave many with nowhere to shop. The upscale offerings replacing Food Star would push those of moderate income to shop elsewhere, taking business away from Arlington County.

The County government should incentivize small businesses (particularly those offering cultural food and products) in efforts to maintain “mom and pop” entrepreneurship and international character.

The County should utilize the tried and tested Circulator Bus which could travel down Columbia Pike and up to the Pentagon or Pentagon City, for a dollar. This would prevent additional costs to road infrastructure and could be implemented immediately. The Circulator Bus could work in conjunction with other transit systems, while offering better alternatives to those of moderate and fixed means.

Strict Oversight
For new apartment buildings which were to include bonus density, 10 percent affordable units should be provided. Additionally, a new policy should require developers to pay mandatory fees that would cover the construction of new affordable units elsewhere, at the very least $250,000 per unit built, with the goal for developers to contribute about $10 million more annually to the housing program costs. This policy should cover all such new zoning-required apartments (up from 5 percent today).

Thank you very kindly for taking time to consider the Arlington Green Party’s analyses and solutions. We understand that there are many stake-holders in the Affordable Housing decision-making process. We thank you for providing us an opportunity to be part of this important process.


Arlington Greens recommend major changes to proposal affordable housing plan

The Arlington County Board will hear testimony on Saturday, Sept. 19 on a proposal affordable housing plan. Greens who have been longtime promoters of more and better affordable housing programs have provided their position below and asked for major changes to the plan.

To: The Arlington County Board September 10, 2015

2100 Clarendon Blvd #3 Arlington, VA 22201

Dear County Board Chairperson, Mary Hynes:

The members of the Arlington Green Party want to thank you and your staff for your tireless leadership on the Affordable Housing Master Plan, Implementation Framework and General Land Use Plan. It is heartening that the Board is addressing the shortage of affordable units and dilemmas facing the aged, the poor and those who are struggling in this very competitive and expensive rental-housing market.

Our members look to be part of this collaborative process and have met with members of your staff numerous times to offer ideas that could help you reach Arlington County’s affordable housing goals. At the same time, we do feel that there are many ideas you and your staff have proposed that are quite innovative and forward-thinking, especially the idea of accessory dwellings and geographic distribution of affordable units.

The Arlington Greens have always believed and stated publicly that numerous Affordable Housing providers should have to bid on all such projects so that the County can have the best possible housing experience at the best value to the Arlington County tax payer. We are extremely encouraged that this principle will be part of the creation of new housing projects. Arlington County is a marvelous place and its residents deserve the best at the best value.

Our members wish to also thank you for your insight and your staff’s willingness to look the Affordable Housing Master Plan, Implementation and Framework and General Land Use Plan holistically with regards to schools and services. This conversation will make possible pluralistic and well thought out smart-growth. Your thinking will further Arlington’s success in schools and community inclusion, as well as in life quality.

Please take a moment to view the enclosed attachment and view additional ideas the Arlington Green Party has put forth. You will note that The Greens have included some cost-savings measures. Thank you again for your time.


The Arlington Green Party
Co-Chair Sandra Hernandez
Co-Chair Marie Pellegrino
Treasurer John Reeder
Miriam Gennari
Steve Davis


April 22, 2014

Greens collect toiletries for Arlington homeless persons: bring to our May 1 meeting

We asking all Arlington Greens to bring new or unused sample toiletries to our next AGP meeting which will be held on Thursday, May 1 at 7:00 PM at the usual meeting place the Ballston Firehouse Community Room (Wilson Blvd and Geo. Mason Drive).

We agreed at our April meeting to collect as many as possible and give them to the ASPAN homeless shelter program which still support homeless people in the summer months thought their shelter is now closed. So if you have any sample sized shampoo, hand soap, shaving cream, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. that you may have picked up while staying at a hotel or motel, please bring them on May 1.

You can also go to the dollar store or Shopper’s food warehouse and find full size bottles of shampoo, shaving cream, etc.


John Reeder

chairman – AGP

Current winter shelter

Current winter shelter


March 17, 2014

Adding solar panels on Arlington public buildings–start with new homeless shelter bldg

Open letter from AGP webmaster John Reeder to Arlington County Board, March 14, 2014

wintershelter building2
Dear County Board members:

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,

John Reeder
winter shelter building


January 9, 2013

Housing authority: Ten good reasons to support it in Arlington County in 2013

Why Arlington Needs a Housing Authority

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.