Fairfax County is home to approximately 9,000 units of “market affordable” multifamily housing considered affordable to households earning 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) or below – about $75,000 or less per year for a family of four. With the continued affordability of these homes facing critical pressures from redevelopment, renovation and repositioning of older properties into higher-rent communities, the County’s Affordable Housing Preservation Task Force presented its strategic recommendations for preserving market and committed affordable multifamily housing and achieving the Board's commitment of “No Net Loss” of affordable homes.
“The types of housing addressed by our Task Force provides affordable housing options for thousands of individuals and families. For many of these households, the impact of diminished income or lost employment among households with low- to moderate-income due to COVID-19 has exacerbated the challenges they face. As a Board, we want to protect those family’s abilities to live in those homes and ensure their inclusion in our vision of future success of the County.”
-Jeff McKay, Chairman Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
The Affordable Housing Preservation Task Force, established by the Board of Supervisors in July 2020, initiated an aggressive work plan indicative of the priority placed on the outcome of the group’s work. Melissa McKenna, Chair of the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, and Walter Clarke, Mount Vernon Planning District Commissioner, provided invaluable leadership as the Task Force Co-Chairs, and delivered the Recommendations to the Board of Supervisors’ Housing Committee on April 6, 2021.
Video of the April 6, 2021 Housing Committee meeting will be posted HERE once available.
“The recommendations presented by the Task Force reflect a significant amount of expertise that we enlisted to address the growing concern of affordability in our community. The guidance, analysis, policy recommendations and proposed use of resources presented by the Task Force will be very helpful in our decision-making to ensure the county-wide preservation of affordable housing options”
-Supervisor John Foust, Chairman Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Housing Committee
Goal 1: Preserve the affordability of approximately 9,000 market affordable multifamily units at 60% AMI and below through a combination of preserving physical assets that contain affordable housing (physical preservation) and of preserving the affordability and number of bedrooms within redevelopment scenarios on-site or in proximity to the site (use preservation).
Goal 2: Preserve the affordability of committed affordable multifamily buildings and units when affordability covenants are set to expire for buildings/units with an average of 60% AMI and below, as well as ADU/WDU units at 80% AMI and below.
Goal 3: Preserve through a combination of means the affordability of the approximately 1,750 housing opportunities that exist in manufactured housing communities.
Specific and actionable recommendations provided by the Task Force fell within six strategic Categories:
Preservation Need, Goals, and Resources: The Task Force considered the challenges facing the existing stock of affordable housing, particularly market affordable housing, and developed recommendations for goals and strategies to ensure no net loss, long-term affordability and availability of these assets.
Development Strategies and Financing Tools: The Task Force developed recommendations for specific financial practices and resources that can be employed or provided to encourage the preservation or replacement of existing market affordable and committed affordable housing.
Land Use Policies and Recommendations: The Task Force identified specific land use recommendations that would facilitate the preservation of market affordable housing, including, importantly, the development of a definition of preservation.
Institutional Capacity, Community Awareness and Legislative Priorities: The Task Force identified community engagement and the capacity of the county’s institutions to support a sustained effort to preserve affordable housing in the community as critical issues.
Other Considerations: The Task Force recommended other preservation-related considerations for further study.
Recommendations Regarding Manufactured Housing Communities: The Task Force recognized that manufactured housing communities, and owners of manufactured homes in those communities have unique challenges and opportunities. Manufactured housing communities require special considerations given their uniqueness including the fact that they often serve as a source of affordable homeownership for residents in the County. The Task Force recommended that these items would be further refined as part of a separate Task Force to be convened upon completion of this Affordable Housing Preservation Task Force.