Housing News & Announcements
City Releases 2022 Report on Impact of Affordable Housing on Nearby Residential Property Values
The Office of Housing is pleased to announce the release of the 2022 report “Assessing the Impact of Affordable Housing on Nearby Property Values in Alexandria, Virginia” from the Urban Institute, a nonprofit research organization. In response to community inquiries, Urban Institute conducted a study of the impact of affordable housing on nearby residential property values. The report concludes that affordable units in the City are associated with a small but statistically significant increase in property values of homes within 1/16 of a mile (a block) of a development. These results were found to be robust to other radii and comparison groups, including comparisons of homes between one-half and one mile away. Access the full report here.
City Approves Draft HOME-ARP Allocation Plan
The public comment period for the City of Alexandria's Draft Home Investment Partnership Program-American Rescue Plan (HOME-ARP) Allocation Plan (“Draft Allocation Plan”) has closed. The Draft Allocation Plan is a document which describes the City’s planned use of HOME-ARP funds, which are targeted at homeless households, households at risk of homelessness, and other members of qualifying populations. The plan was approved by City Council on April 23, 2022. For more information, contact Kim Cadena.
City Approves Draft FY 23 Action Plan for Housing and Community Development and Draft Amendment to the 2022-2026 Consolidated Plan
The public comment period for the City of Alexandria's Draft Fiscal Year 2023 Action Plan for Housing and Community Development for the period July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 and Draft Amendment to the 2022-2026 Consolidated Plan has closed. The Draft Action Plan describes how the City will use its allocation of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) funds, Section 108 loan funds, and any other housing and community funds appropriated to the City by HUD. The Draft Amendment is an amendment to the existing Consolidated Plan to change the use of Section 108 funds and expand the definition of households at risk of homelessness. The Plans were approved by City Council on April 23, 2022. For more information, contact Kim Cadena.
City Hosts Fair Housing Public Forum
The City of Alexandria hosted a virtual public meeting to gather community input on housing discrimination, barriers to housing access, and fair housing issues in Alexandria on December 9. The meeting featured a presentation by the Urban Institute on existing housing and demographic conditions in Alexandria and included breakout rooms where participants could discuss specific housing issues related to fair housing and how they and their community are affected by them. Information gathered at the public meeting will be incorporated into the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Regional Housing Equity Plan, which will help direct federal funds in ways to make housing more equitable and accessible to individuals and families in Alexandria and our neighboring jurisdictions.
City Receives ULI Robert C. Larson Award
The City of Alexandria was honored by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) in 2021 with its Robert C. Larson Housing Policy Leadership Award. The Larson Award recognizes “exemplary state and local programs, policies, and practices that support the production, rehabilitation, or preservation of workforce and affordable housing.” In selecting Alexandria, ULI acknowledged the City’s residential multifamily (RMF) zone as an effective tool to incentivize the production or preservation of deeply affordable housing in exchange for the provision of density.
The 2019 amendment to Alexandria’s zoning ordinance that created the RMF zone resulted from the South Patrick Street Housing Affordability Strategy, a community planning process undertaken jointly in 2018 by the Department of Planning and Zoning and the Office of Housing to identify tools, strategies and resources for the preservation of more than 200 existing units of deeply affordable housing at risk of loss due to expiring federal housing assistance contracts and real estate market pressures that make replacement of multifamily development with by-right townhome development a feasible alternative.
Planning Director Karl Moritz and Housing Director Helen McIlvaine accepted the award on the City’s behalf at the ULI annual conference. A local ceremony to recognize funder Virginia Housing as well as City staff who worked on the Housing Strategy and the RMF zone, which culminated in the national award-winning initiative is planned.
HUD Secretary Fudge, Congressman Beyer, and Mayor Wilson Visit The Spire
On August 13, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge, Congressman Don Beyer (VA-08), and Mayor Justin Wilson visited The Spire, as part of a larger discussion about the nationwide affordable housing crisis. “We are one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the world, and certainly in America, one of the best educated, and yet there are still many people struggling and living in poverty among us,” said Beyer. “Thank goodness we are choosing as a community to use our resources to invest in housing and other services for these people.”
In Alexandria, The Spire is one of a half-dozen newly built affordable housing developments. The City is working to meet both its Housing Master Plan target of 2,000 committed affordable rental apartments by 2025, as well as its portion of the 2030 regional housing goal set by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, which would require production or preservation of an additional 2,250 affordable and workforce level homes. While this will not meet all the affordable housing needs in the City, it represents an acceleration of the City’s historical rate of affordable housing production.
After touring The Spire’s community spaces and an accessible two-bedroom unit, officials provided remarks on the project and highlighted the Biden administration’s Build Back Better Agenda. As part of this recovery initiative, the creation of two million new affordable and low-income homes is proposed, along with expanding financial resources, including private investment through the low-income housing tax credit program, to support the goal. “Low-income and affordable housing was a problem before COVID, but it is even a bigger problem now,” observed Fudge. “There is no place in this country today where a person making minimum wage can afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment. We know, we hear, and we understand what’s happening in this country. And I want to thank everybody who had anything to do with this project.”
“It was an honor to welcome Secretary Fudge to Alexandria and have the opportunity to highlight a project that demonstrates the value of community partnerships,” added Mayor Wilson. “Affordable housing continues to be a priority for the City and is integral for the success of our community as a whole.”
The Spire opened its doors to residents this spring, seven years after its inception. In 2014, the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection generously offered nonprofit housing developer, AHC Inc., a parcel of their property as part of their commitment to expanding housing affordability for neighbors in the Alexandria community. Located in the Beauregard neighborhood, The Spire’s 113 apartments offer affordable homes to households with incomes ranging from 30% to 60% of the area median income.
“We are so grateful that Secretary Fudge, Congressman Beyer, and Mayor Wilson came to The Spire to discuss this critical issue that affects so many in our community,” said Interim AHC CEO Susan Cunningham. “We hope projects like The Spire encourage other communities to join together to create affordable housing and pave a way forward for families in need.”