E-ffordable News Articles
May 14, 2019
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Makes a Down Payment on New Resources for Affordable Housing in Fiscal Year 2020 Budget
On May 7, 2019, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted the Fairfax County budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. The budget makes a significant down payment on additional resources for affordable housing that were recommended by the Board’s Affordable Housing Resources Panel (AHRP). Highlights from the FY 2020 budget include:
One-time funding of $5 million is included as part of the FY 2019 Third Quarter Review to add to the nearly $10 million already allocated for the Housing Blueprint for FY 2020. The addition of this $5 million means that about $15 million will be available in FY 2020, effectively doubling the investment in FY 2019.
A Housing in All Policies Coordinator is added to the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) in FY 2020. This new position will act as a liaison between HCD and the county’s land use and development agencies, coordinating with them on housing projects and monitoring progress of the AHRP’s recommendations.
“In adopting the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget, the Board of Supervisors built upon the affordable housing efforts we began in FY 2006 with the creation of the Penny for Affordable Housing Fund,” Board Chairman Sharon Bulova said. “That program produced significant, measurable results, helping to preserve more than 3,000 affordable housing units. With the adoption of the FY 2020 Budget, we will significantly expand upon that success in ensuring both the preservation and expansion of affordable housing options for our residents in a proven, cost-effective manner.”
Supervisor Jeff McKay (Lee District), Chairman of the Board’s Budget Committee, also commented on the budget and on the work of the AHRP: “Our comprehensive actions as part of the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget represent the continuation of the Board of Supervisors’ longtime support for providing those who live and work in Fairfax County with affordable housing options. It’s imperative as we move forward that we continue to find as many ways possible to preserve and increase our affordable housing stock here in Fairfax County. In Lee District, we’ve seen many affordable housing preservation initiatives come to life like Huntington Gardens and Murraygate Village, while working to increase affordable units as well. Recognizing the ongoing challenges rising housing costs represent, the Board established a panel of community experts to provide recommendations for furthering our affordable housing efforts, and their results helped form the basis of the inclusive, holistic, long-term approach to affordable housing we adopted. As Budget Chair, I’ll continue to find ways we can continue to make affordable housing a priority of the Board in future budgets.”
Next Affordable Housing Advisory Committee Meeting is May 17
The next meeting of the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee (AHAC) is scheduled for Friday, May 17 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Cornerstones, Inc., 11150 Sunset Hills Rd, Suite 210, Reston, VA.
Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all County programs, services and activities. Special accommodations will be provided upon request. For information call 703-246-5101 or TTY 711.
The Fallstead Named Winner of NALHFA Multifamily Excellence Award
The National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA) has selected The Fallstead as its Multifamily Excellence award winner for 2019. The Fallstead is an independent senior living community, which offers 82 units of affordable housing for seniors located on 8.66 acres in McLean, VA. The former Lewinsville Elementary School was transferred from the Fairfax County Public Schools to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 1985.
The original project converted the building to 22 units of affordable senior independent housing, and once completed, the building was called the Lewinsville Senior Residences and was operated by the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA). The use of the former Lewinsville Elementary School addressed the then current need for senior housing but did not fully integrate that housing into the surrounding community. The Fallstead at Lewinsville Center now addresses this need by offering a total of 82 units for seniors earning between 30 percent and 50 percent of the area median income.
The Fallstead is a shining example of how partnering with nonprofit developers in the revitalization of outmoded county facilities results in affordable housing preservation and new production in Fairfax County. Wesley Hamel Lewinsville LLC was the master developer of the infrastructure improvements for the entire 8.66-acre site, while Wesley Lewinsville Limited Partnership is the owner and developer for The Fallstead (senior residences), which will have a 99-year ground lease on approximately 2.66 acres of the site.
Report of the Embark Housing Advisory Group Accepted by the Board of Supervisors
On April 9, 2019, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors accepted the Report of the Embark Housing Advisory Group. The Board chartered the Embark Housing Advisory Group in 2018 in order to facilitate a more focused policy discussion of the issue of preservation and housing affordability in the Richmond Highway corridor in light of the Embark Comprehensive Plan amendment. The main challenge for the advisory group was to recommend proven housing policies to help ensure that the anticipated new development and investment in the coming decades serves the needs of the corridor’s long-time low and moderate income residents, and preserves its racial and economic diversity.
The advisory group developed a report that included a set of three recommended principles: 1) No net loss of existing, market affordable rental homes in the Richmond Highway corridor, as feasible; 2) Use the equity lens of One Fairfax; and 3) Future housing development should reflect community needs. These policy principles are to guide future land use and housing funding decisions in the corridor as a companion to the Embark Comprehensive Plan amendment.
Local Nonprofits Receive Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funds
FCRHA Authorizes Funding to Help Acquire Units for Affordable Rental Housing, Rehabilitation and Site Work
The FCRHA authorized deferred loans to four local nonprofit organizations using federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. These funds will provide:
Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia (Habitat NOVA): $150,000. Habitat NOVA will undertake pre-development and site-work activities to create one unit to provide affordable homeownership housing for a low-income household.
Operation Renewed Hope Foundation (ORHF): $582,274. ORHF will acquire and rehabilitate two housing units to provide affordable rental housing for up to two low income families or four low income individuals.
Pathway Homes, Inc.: $837,897. Pathway Homes will acquire five one-bedroom condominium units to provide affordable rental housing and supportive services for extremely low income individuals who are homeless or precariously housed and who have special needs related to mental illness, co-occurring substance abuse disorders, or intellectual disorders.
Wesley Housing Development Corporation (WHDC): $957,351. WHDC will undertake pre-development and site-work activities of the 40 units in the Arden Community Building A (part of a multifamily housing construction project in Mount Vernon District) that have restricted incomes at or below 40 percent and 50 percent of Area Median Income.
FCRHA Approves Submitting Moving to Work Plan for Fiscal Year 2020
At its meeting on April 11, 2019, the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) approved submission of the FCRHA Moving to Work (MTW) Plan for FY 2020 to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The FCRHA is not requesting approval from HUD for any new activities in the FY 2020 MTW Plan. In FY 2020, there will be a focus on monitoring the financial impact Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rent calculation changes have on the program’s budget, as well on the HCV Program participants. Further, in FY 2020, the FCRHA will develop the plans for Phase 2 of the Fairfax County Payment Standards, which will be proposed in the FY 2021 MTW Plan and will involve the development of sub-market payment standards. In addition, the FY 2020 MTW Plan provides updates on previously-approved activities.
FCRHA Commits to a Trauma-Informed Workplace
Staff at HCD are a Part of the Trauma-Informed Care Network (TICN) in Fairfax County
In November 2017, the Board of Supervisors in Fairfax County passed a resolution designating Fairfax County a Trauma Informed Community. All Health and Human service agencies in Fairfax County have committed to using a trauma-informed lens when interacting with our customers and to implementing policies and procedures that acknowledge and are sensitive to the widespread trauma exposure among the children, families and individuals we serve. In addition, agencies are tasked with changing and/or eliminating policies and procedures that may result in re-traumatization. Our community also understands that working with populations who have experienced/are experiencing high levels of trauma puts our direct service staff at risk of experiencing high stress levels and secondary or vicarious trauma. We seek to understand the expanding research that has been done in this area, to raise awareness and develop shared language around trauma, and to respond in a supportive way to the needs of both our residents and our employees.
The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) and the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), are active members of Fairfax County’s Trauma Informed Community Network (TICN), a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency collective that meets regularly to support trauma-informed care initiatives across the county. We are engaged in this work at HCD and are participating in several ways. In November 2016, three representatives from HCD attended a county-wide training facilitated by the TICN called Taking the Lead: Effectively Supporting Leaders in High-Stress, Trauma-Exposed Workplaces. As a result of this training, HCD is working to integrate concepts of trauma-informed care into our organizational culture. We have created an organizational change plan that we seek to implement over the next several years, focusing on three areas of development/change: 1) staff training, 2) peer support, and 3) promoting policies, procedures, and practices that are in line with the principles of trauma-informed care. We are working closely with the TICN to collaborate on best practices and to utilize the wealth of knowledge and resources that are available through the network.