Three Ways You Can Help Advocate for Affordable Housing


By Justin Oliver, Chair, AHC Board of Directors

The process of developing and preserving affordable housing is increasingly challenging. Here are a couple of ways you can help and stay involved.

First, on a national level, urge Congress to continue to support legislation that encourages affordable housing development. Two critical tools are Low-income Housing Tax Credits and Historic Tax Credits. Both are proven strategies that help bridge the funding gap and make many of our developments possible.

Second, support local initiatives. For instance, two years ago Arlington passed a much-praised Affordable Housing Master Plan. Its goals include 600 new affordable apartments each year. To date, despite the County’s support, our community has only managed to preserve or build about half that number. Working with the County – and you – we hope to develop more strategies to create more affordable homes for our neighbors.

Third, engage your friends, family, and colleagues in conversation about affordable housing and how it benefits the entire community.   Like most, I support affordable housing through the lens of philanthropy and volunteerism, but you can also support affordable housing for broader economic reasons.

This is what I think of as the business case for affordable housing.  As a business owner, I long ago recognized the need and importance of affordable housing to maintain a diverse and competitive workforce.   Affordable housing provides critical entry points (and re-entry points) for new workers, families, retirees, and others to obtain housing in the communities in which they work at various points in their lives.

Companies large and small depend on this workforce to grow and maintain their business.   The businesses provide the jobs that fuel the economy and support our schools and other services.  In order to retain and attract great companies you need a high quality of life for their workforce.  This includes housing affordability, quality of the schools, access to healthcare and public transportation.

Affordable housing is a critical building block not only for the stability and success of the families we serve, but also for the long-term economic health and prosperity of the community in which we live. I hope you will join me me in making the case for affordable housing to our national representatives, local leaders, and friends and neighbors.




AHC Teens Tour University of Virginia


November 17, 2017 — Nearly 50 AHC students and staff members recently toured the University of Virginia. The students, mostly high school juniors and seniors, were delighted to experience the historic campus first hand.

AHC’s Teen Tutoring and College and Career  Readiness Programs provide a variety of field trips for students to help them navigate the complicated path to choosing a college or a career after high school. Each year, AHC teens visit two to three local colleges. The program is also visiting Howard University and Marymount University in the spring.

One of the highlights of the UVA trip was the student panel, which included a diverse group of students who spoke about their personal college experiences. “The panel was really helpful for our students,” explains Milenka Coronel, AHC’s College and Career Readiness Manager. “Hearing stories from students of different backgrounds and from different states allowed our students to see that college is possible for everyone.”

The UVA students also provided helpful tips on work opportunities on campus (a priority for many AHC students) and advice on choosing a college, finding scholarship dollars and filling out applications. AHC students also enjoyed learning more about the opportunity to create a unique major and the wide variety of social and extracurricular activities that are an important part of a full college experience.

Eight seniors also had an opportunity to choose and attend a class lecture or seminar. The experience was really inspiring.

One student, Dayana, was particularly excited about attending a computer programming course and brought her own laptop to follow along. After the class was over she said: “This was really helpful to see a college course, and I know I want to pursue my major even more now. It was exciting and informational.”

Photo: Rhegan Hyypio Nunez


Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing in the mid-Atlantic region that provides quality homes and education programs for low- and moderate-income families. Based in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed more than 7,000 apartment units in 53 properties in Virginia and Maryland. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 2,500 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through onsite education programs and activities.


AHC Inc. Honors Marymount Women’s Lacrosse Team and Three Arlington Residents as Volunteers of the Year


October 19, 2017 – AHC Inc. celebrated four outstanding Volunteers of the Year, including the Marymount University Women’s Lacrosse Team and three Arlington residents, at its recent Annual Meeting. AHC develops and preserves affordable housing and provides education programs for residents who live in its apartment communities. Each of the Volunteers of the Year have made a tremendous impact on students in the non-profit’s Resident Services education programs in Arlington.

For nearly 25 years, AHC’s Resident Services programs have provided the tools and skills residents need to build successful lives. Today the initiative has grown to an annual $2 million investment in our programs, including our multi-pronged education initiative that nurtures children from Kindergarten through high school. The comprehensive approach works. To date, all the seniors in AHC’s education program have graduated from high school and nearly all have gone on to college.

“AHC believes housing plus education equals success. Along with stable and affordable homes, our education programs provide the building blocks to help our residents create successful lives for themselves and the community,” said Walter D. Webdale, President and CEO. “Our volunteers are the heart and soul of our life-changing programs and we are truly grateful for their dedication and commitment.”

AHC celebrated the Marymount University Women’s Lacrosse Team along with volunteers in each component of AHC’s comprehensive education program: Jamie Usrey, After-School Program Volunteer; Tim Bellaire, Teen Tutoring Volunteer; and Marjorie Macieira, College and Career Readiness Volunteer.

Marymount University Women’s Lacrosse Team – Volunteer Group of the Year

Kate Athing, the Marymount University Women’s Lacrosse Team Coach, connected the team to AHC’s program because she believes “consistent, local service is meaningful for both our school athletes and the community.” The team has volunteered once a week for three years in the After-School Program at AHC’s Woodbury Park community center.

The consistent partnership has been rewarding for all involved. The team enjoys working one-on-one with the same student each week and developing close relationships. And the youth look forward to the team visiting them each week and having a college-aged volunteer who is there just for them. Coach Kate Athing says, “A lot of us have buddies who are related. It adds to the family atmosphere we have found at Woodbury Park. They’ve definitely welcomed us into the family.”

AHC Senior Resident Services Manager Becky Koons applauds the successful partnership, “We appreciate all that Kate and the team have done for our students. I don’t think any of us realized three years ago how impactful this relationship would be on our students and the program. It’s not just about the academic piece (which is great!); they are our buddies, and we are their biggest fans!

Coach Kate Athing and Junior Midfielder Bridgette Stacom accepted the award at the event. Both Athing and Stacom have volunteered for three years.

Jamie Usrey – After-School Program Volunteer of the Year

AHC’s After-School Program lays the groundwork for elementary students’ success. For more than 10 years, building literacy skills has been the program’s top priority. Reading on grade level is critical to students’ ability to thrive in school and beyond.

Jamie Usrey, a three-year volunteer, generously devotes two to three afternoons each week to work one-on-one with first and second graders who are behind in their reading. As a retired Reading Recovery Teacher from Arlington Public Schools, her experience is invaluable. Along with her extensive experience, Jamie also brings boundless energy and enthusiasm to the program.

“Thanks to Jamie’s dedication and commitment, struggling readers are making outstanding strides toward reading on grade level,” says Lotus Chen, AHC Resident Services Manager. “Because of their improvements, these students are better able to succeed in school and support their younger siblings as well.”

Tim Bellaire – Teen Tutoring Volunteer of the Year

AHC’s Teen Tutoring helps middle and high school students stay in school and maximize their academic skills. Tutors help youth with homework and also become mentors and sounding boards.

Tim Bellaire exemplifies why this program works so well. His natural warmth and sense of humor make teens feel comfortable and connected. The teens voted Mr. Tim as being “most likely to know or be able to find the answer to anything.” Tim has volunteered for more than two years. By sharing his own experiences of putting himself through school, earning a mechanical engineering degree, and working for the FBI for 25 years, he helps students realize that hard work and persistence can pay off.

As Grace Park, Senior Resident Services Manager, explains, “Since one student worked with Mr. Tim in both 7th and 8th grade, we have seen a huge difference in his motivation, work ethic, and overall attitude toward his schoolwork and ability to advocate for himself.”

Tim has found volunteering to be a two-way street. He says, “I get as much (or more) out of the volunteering experience as the young adults gain from me. As the saying goes, the more you give, the more you receive.”

Marjorie Macieira – College and Career Readiness Volunteer of the Year

A new component in AHC’s education initiative, the College and Career Readiness Program pairs high school seniors with adult mentors for a full year. The mentors help students every step of the way through the complicated college and career process, including applications, essays and financial aid. The hard work pays off. All of last year’s 15 seniors are now freshmen in college. The mentors were an integral part of this remarkable achievement.

Marjorie Macieira approached the program with boundless energy and commitment. She regularly goes above and beyond. Not only did she help her high school senior go through the whole college process, she also attended her school counselor meetings, choir recitals, scholarship ceremonies and graduation.

One of Marjorie’s proudest moments was when her student won 2nd place in an essay competition. The student nearly didn’t participate and Marjorie encouraged her to keep going. They were both thrilled with the successful outcome.

Marjorie’s enthusiasm is driven by the close relationship she developed with her teen. “I found out that the program is more than just helping with homework,” says Marjorie. “You connect with a young person and become important in their life. You both learn about friendship, trust and being there for each other.”

To Learn More About Volunteering

For questions and volunteer information, please email Cindy Rozon at or click here to volunteer now!

Photo from left to right: Jamie Usrey, After-School Program Volunteer; Marjorie Macieira, College and Career Readiness Volunteer; Tim Bellaire, Teen Tutoring Volunteer;  Marymount University Women’s Lacrosse Team Coach Kate Athing, and Bridgette Stacom, Marymount University Lacrosse Team member.


Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing in the mid-Atlantic region that provides quality homes and education programs for low- and moderate-income families. Based in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed more than 7,000 apartment units in 53 properties in Virginia and Maryland. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 2,500 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through onsite education programs and activities.



Share Your Career Experience and Inspire a Teen


AHC Inc.’s College and Career Readiness Program guides high school juniors and seniors through the complicated college and career search process. The program really works.

So far, ALL of the seniors in our program have graduated from high school and most have gone to college – often the first in their family to achieve this milestone.

Along with academic help, we also try to inspire our teens by exposing them to a variety of professions and job experiences.

There are two ways local professionals can get involved:

  • Participate in a career panel and discuss your job, how you got there and what you like about it.
  • Provide a shadowing experience so a teen can learn more about a specific career through their own eyes – and yours.

We are looking for more professionals to share their experience and hope you can join us. We are putting together our 2018 calendar now.

Please email Milenka Coronel if you’d like to participate or learn more. Include your:

  • Name
  • Employer
  • Type of business/organization
  • Your title
  • What you do
  • Email address (to keep you posted on upcoming opportunities)



Congressman Don Beyer Tours Affordable Housing Construction Site in Alexandria, VA



September 13, 2017 — United States Representative Don Beyer recently toured the construction site of St. James Plaza, 93 new affordable apartments in Alexandria, VA. Rep. Beyer represents Virginia’s 8th Congressional District of Virginia, which serves Arlington County, the Cities of Alexandria and Falls Church, and portions of Fairfax County.

Developed by AHC Inc., St. James Plaza will also provide an onsite pre-school program in partnership with The Campagna Center. Along with the affordable apartment building, the three-acre site will also include 31 market-rate townhouses.

The City of Alexandria provided a $5.7 million loan for the affordable apartments. AHC Inc. also received $19 million in competitive 9% Low-income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) from the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA).

“St. James Plaza is a great example of a public/private, tax-credit financed affordable housing development in Alexandria’s West End,” said Representative Beyer. “The mixed-use strategy that combines affordable apartments, market-rate townhouses and onsite education provides much-needed housing options and amenities for the neighborhood.”

St. James Plaza will include a mix of efficiencies, one-two- and three-bedroom apartments. Rents will range from 40% to 60% of the Area Median Income.  The property will also include underground parking, a fitness center, and a community room for residents. The building will meet the highest EarthCraft environmental certification. Families are expected to move into the building in mid-2018.

Photo caption:  Rep. Don Beyer toured the construction site of St. James Plaza in Alexandria, a new project under development by AHC Inc. that will provide 93 affordable apartments and an onsite pre-school in 2018.


Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing in the mid-Atlantic region that provides quality homes and education programs for low- and moderate-income families. Based in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed more than 7,000 apartment units in 53 properties in Virginia and Maryland. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 2,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through onsite education programs and activities.