APAH Celebrates the Power of Home and Honors Mary Hynes at 2017 Celebrate Home! Event

More than 350 Civic and Community Leaders, Corporate Professionals, and Residents Gather for APAH’s Annual Benefit

Speakers John Milliken, honoree Mary H. Hynes, Matt Birenbaum (AvalonBay Communities), Nina Janopaul (APAH), and Jay Fisette (Arlington County Board)

Arlington, VA  (October 6, 2017) – Yesterday, the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) honored Mary Hughes Hynes, former Arlington County Board Chair, at their annual Celebrate Home! Benefit at the Clarendon Ballroom. Over 350 guests attended to celebrate the importance of affordable housing in Arlington and generously contributed more than $510,000 to support APAH and its resident services program.

The Power of Home

“APAH celebrates the power of home—it’s where our values are shaped, where our kids do their homework, and where we build our families and host our friends.  Affordable homes also matter to our community — they help create diverse and dynamic neighborhoods, strengthen our economic competitiveness, and reflect our shared community values,” said APAH Board Chair, John Milliken, who served as Master of Ceremonies.

Celebrating a Community Leader

Mary Hughes Hynes has served Arlington as a civic leader and elected official for more than 30 years. Throughout her career she has been committed to keeping Arlington a special place for all who choose to live, work, play and learn in our diverse community. Mary was honored at this year’s Celebrate Home! event for her years of service. “At the local level, the moral imperative of our time is affordable housing. Few people understand that better or have done more to expand affordable housing that Mary Hynes,” said Jay Fisette, Arlington County Board Chair.

Mary and the Arlington County Board worked closely with APAH and other affordable housing leaders during the Affordable Housing Master Plan process, and the Plan was unanimously adopted under her leadership as Board Chair in 2015. “We collectively came to understand that Arlington needs affordable housing: it strengthens our community and the people who live in it. It is a return on investment because it roots people within our community,” said Hynes.

Although the Affordable Housing Master Plan was adopted two years, our work is far from over. “We need more tools, creativity, and neighbors to be brought into this conversation.”  Completing her remarks in song, Hynes reminded attendees that “We are called to act with justice.”

Afaf Belmahi Shares Her Story

 “Because of APAH, my family is stable, happy, and healthy. I am thankful every day to be a part of the Arlington community,” said Afaf Belmahi. She lives at The Springs Apartment, an APAH affordable community, with her husband Mohammed and three children, Elmahdi, Ahmed, and Ameera. Originally from Morocco where Belmahi worked as a lawyer, she moved to the US to be with her husband. Her son Elmahdi was born with brittle bone disease and now uses a wheelchair. The apartment where they lived was in-accessible, so “when we learned about Arlington Mill Residences and were able to move into an accessible 2-bedroom apartment [with an elevator], it changed our lives.” Belmahi and her family now live in The Springs Apartments and take full advantage of the resident services programming, including the Read-Along program for her children or Zumba classes for her and her mother.

A Generous and Caring Community

More than 170 corporations and individuals sponsored APAH’s 2017 Celebrate Home! Benefit.  APAH is grateful to all of its 2017 sponsors, particularly Hospitality Host Avalon Bay Communities, and Grand Sponsors Bozzuto and JBG Smith.

Speakers at yesterday’s Celebrate Home! Benefit included:

John Milliken, Chairman, APAH Board of Directors

Matt Birenbaum, AvalonBay Communities

Jay Fisette, Arlington County Board

Afaf Belhami

Nina Janopaul, APAH President and CEO