APAH Testifies In Favor of Arlington’s Missing Middle Housing Study

On Tuesday, January 24th, APAH’s Policy and Project Manager, Brian Goggin, testified in favor of Arlington County’s missing middle housing study. You can read a transcript of APAH’s testimony below and watch it here (4:11:00 mark).

The next day, Wednesday, January 25th, the County Board voted on a Request to Advertise public hearings and a final vote on the matter. The final County Board vote is expected on March 18th.

Please join APAH in showing your support by emailing the County Board today at countyboard@arlingtonva.us, asking them to pass the missing middle housing proposal without any further restrictions.  Help make Arlington more inclusive.

APAH’s Testimony on January 24, 2023 at the Arlington County Board Meeting

My name is Brian Goggin, and I’m here representing APAH, the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing. I’m here today to speak about APAH’s support for the missing middle housing proposal. You know us well as a nonprofit owner of income-restricted, subsidized affordable housing. Most of the residents we serve make 60% Area Median Income (AMI) or below, which likely is below what is required to afford the new housing produced as a result of this proposal. That is, at least without some additional help.

So why do we support this measure? It’s because our mission isn’t just about subsidized, capital “A” affordable housing, but it’s also about housing affordability, broadly speaking. And housing affordability, broadly speaking, means offering a broad range of housing options at all income levels. It’s about providing abundant housing options all over the county, not just along the narrow metro corridors where new apartments are currently allowed. It’s about offering smaller housing options for young couples or new retirees who may want to start a family or downsize.

As we speak today, the county is failing to offer many housing options. In ¾ of the county, all that’s allowed to build is one type of housing. As a result, redevelopment in these areas is grossly unaffordable, usually 5-6 bedroom homes listing for over $2M. Missing middle housing would offer more diverse and cheaper options because of their smaller size. And it’s well established by now that this situation isn’t by accident, but rather because of intentional policy choices of the past to keep certain people from moving into the wealthiest areas. Reversing these decisions would be a tangible step towards inclusiveness that the county claims to value.

Aside from this, missing middle does have the potential to positively impact APAH’s work and our residents. As high-income jobs continue to come into Arlington, it can lessen the market pressure to redevelop market-rate affordable apartments. This makes it less likely people will be displaced, and reduces the competition to buy and preserve these few remaining sites. It also offers our residents more opportunity to stay in Arlington if their incomes rise and they want to move to a new living situation.

This proposal is a positive step in the right direction. It won’t make all areas affordable to everyone, but it will make them more affordable than they currently are today. And to do that, we don’t need any subsidy. We just have to make it legal to build more and different types of housing. So on behalf of APAH, I urge you to approve the most expansive possible version of the request to advertise.

Thank you for your time.