Co-living Initiative

The City is launching a community process to address co-living options, affordability and accessibility in neighborhoods throughout Alexandria. With stakeholder input, the study will inform the development of draft recommendations that will provide greater housing choice and accessibility for the city's residents.

Page updated on Nov 3, 2021 at 4:24 PM

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What is Co-living?

Co-living living arrangements are known by many different names and forms, but generally offer individuals who are unrelated a private living space as well as access to communal areas like kitchen, bathrooms, and living spaces.  

The co-living umbrella encompasses terms such as rooming and boarding houses; single room occupancy; and some types of group living arrangements. Co-living can provide greater housing choice for people of all ages, abilities and incomes; increase the potential stock of market rate affordable units; and preserve social and cultural diversity through mixed-income communities. 

Community Engagement Opportunities

  • Tuesday, May 4 - Sunday, September 5, 2021 - Online Feedback Opportunity
    • The community provided feedback on draft policy recommendations through an online platform. Input received will be incorporated in the final draft policy recommendations anticipated for consideration by Planning Commission and City Council this fall.
  • Tuesday, April 20, 2021 - Virtual Community meeting on Housing for All – Co-living in Alexandria
  • March 24 - April 11, 2021 - Co-living Virtual Open House

Goals and Community Outreach

This initiative is intended to:

  • Provide additional flexibility for the creation of market rate affordable units
  • Streamline the approval process for these living arrangements to provide the market with more predictability
  • Expand housing choices by allowing this use where appropriate

The process will include citywide community outreach and engagement, and an analysis of regional and national best practices to include regulatory tools, potential special use permit criteria, and other considerations.

Draft recommendations are anticipated to be presented to Planning Commission and City Council for consideration in October 2021.

What are some benefits to co-living?

  • Rooms in co-living are smaller and have shared facilities making them cheaper to reconfigure existing space or build. As a result, they are often rented below market rates.
  • Due to lower average rent, these types of units can be more affordable options for tenants with 30%-80% area median income (AMI) and are another tool to help Alexandria close the workforce housing gap.
  • Savings on rent can help individuals build wealth for their future to buy a home, invest for retirement, or provide savings for a rainy day.
  • Increase potential stock of market affordable units.
  • Allowing non-traditional families/friends the opportunity to live together under the same roof.
  • Intergenerational living arrangements that meet the needs of people with disabilities, seniors, students, and young professionals. 

Resources and Information


Contact Alexa Powell, Urban Planner, 703.746.4666.