Affordable housing is part of moral obligation in community – September 16, 2015

Affordable housing is part of moral obligation in community – Letter to the Editor – Inside Nova – September 16, 2015


Editor: As a resident of Arlington for more than 25 years, I am writing to express my strong support for Arlington’s Affordable Housing Master Plan, and encourage our County Board to unanimously adopt the plan at its September 19th meeting.

I have spent my professional career working on issues related to providing housing for those who can least afford it in our country. Nationally, we are at a crisis where the high cost of housing is eroding the financial and family stability of millions of Americans, particularly the 11 million renters who devote more than half their income to housing.

Arlington is a wealthy, dynamic and growing community, but too many of our fellow citizens are struggling with escalating housing costs. This is not only a personal struggle for the affected families, but a broader challenge for our community severely impacting out ability to retain seniors, young families just starting out, and a diverse workforce in retail, construction, child care, medicine and education.

Arlington’s proposed plan is the culmination of three years of extensive study, analysis and consultation. Behind the plan are real people – the more than 13,000 families who had to relocate because their rent increased too dramatically or their property was redeveloped. Today, a four-person family making $65,000 cannot afford the average rent ($2,114) for a two-bedroom apartment in Arlington.

Arlington is joining many American cities – such as Denver, Seattle and the District of Columbia – all of whom have identified affordable housing to be a critical element of a vibrant, local economy and who are creating new plans and resources to address their affordable housing needs. These communities understand that the future economic prosperity of their communities is linked to the stability and opportunity that affordable housing provides to their residents.

Arlington has a moral obligation to serve all of our residents, including those who find it difficult to remain due to the growing financial strains from high housing costs.

The Affordable Housing Master Plan contains goals that will help Arlington prevent the further displacement of the 7,500 households that are today rent-burdened or overcrowded. It deserves the unanimous vote and support of the County Board and our entire community’s commitment to see that this vision becomes a reality by 2040.

-Robert Rozen, Arlingtlon

Rozen serves on APAH’s Board of Directors.

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