Arlington County Budget: A Moral Document

The County Board received more than 600 letters on different issues and budget concerns, including letters from APAH’s advocacy volunteers requesting funding and support for Arlington Housing Investment Fund (AHIF). Many advocates feel the Amazon impact should be addressed early. The Alliance for Housing Solutions (AHS) and other housing advocates sought $50 million to fund the number of units needed per the Affordable Housing Master Plan in a letter to the County Board.

“We believe the County should be prioritizing near-term increases in the AHIF and other potential financial tools rather than waiting until revenue from Amazon and other sources becomes available. The timing of affordable housing investment is key – waiting to invest in affordable housing puts our neighbors’ homes at risk,” the letter from AHS stated.

Nonprofit developers need sufficient resources to match the accelerating need for affordable housing, particularly as Amazon begins to settle in National Landing.

On April 23rd, the Arlington County Board passed the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget in its entirety, including an additional $1.7 million for AHIF, totaling $16 million.

“The budget is a moral document,” Board Chair Christian Dorsey said, borrowing from what constituents had advocated to him. “We have certain values here in Arlington. The federal government pulled the safety net, shredding it at times until there’s nothing left, and we have to fill in. We are proud to support this community by putting in more towards affordable housing and mental health issues to fill these gaps.”

County Board Member Matt de Ferranti shared his colleagues’ sentiments in supporting more AHIF for the FY 2020 Budget. But, he also noted that Arlington is not meeting the County’s own goal to build 600 affordable units per year, as outlined in the Housing Master Plan adopted in 2015.