Testimony from Rachel Waldstein

In early April, an Arlington resident and APAH volunteer, Rachel Waldstein, testified to the County Board in support of affordable housing. Here is her testimony:

I have lived in Arlington off and on for more than 30 years.  For the first decade, I lived mostly with roommates.  In 2000, when I finally got a job with a decent salary and wanted to buy a home, I couldn’t afford to buy in Arlington, so I had to move out of the community.  Only when I got married and we had two very good salaries could we afford to come back and buy a modest home that would now be considered missing middle housing.  We wanted to live here for many of the same reasons others do:  great schools and great county services, restaurants and entertainment, and plenty of green space.

We live in the Williamsburg area of North Arlington.  We like our neighborhood but there is no diversity to speak of here.  In fact, we sent our son to middle school outside our neighborhood in large part so that he would be exposed to kids of other races, cultural backgrounds, and income levels.

I would like to see more diverse and inclusive neighborhoods throughout Arlington.  At a recent Arlington County Board Listening Tour session, I heard some complain that rental houses or multiplex houses in an area of single-family homes will ruin the character of the area.  Well, there are rental homes on either side of mine, and the neighborhood is thriving.

Others say affordable and/or missing middle housing should be concentrated on main arteries and near commercial areas.  I believe that is essentially segregation, limiting the options of people of modest income who want the same kind of life we want.  The houses going up constantly all around me are enormous and could easily be built instead as duplexes or even triplexes without changing the footprint of the structures.

More disturbing to the neighborhood are the increasing complexes of towering, luxury townhomes being built all the way to the street, leaving almost no trees or greenery whatsoever.

Diversity enriches us all.  We need to ensure Arlington is accessible to people of modest, as well as lower, income.

If you are interested in supporting affordable housing in Arlington County and want to testify to the County Board, fill out our Volunteer Interest Form and our Volunteer Manager will be in touch about future opportunities!