365 Days of COVID-19: AHC’s Resident Services Team Pivots to Meet the Challenge

(March 15, 2021 – Arlington, VA) A year ago, AHC Inc., like most organizations, had to shutter its in-person activities in response to the fast-moving pandemic. At the same time, as a nonprofit affordable housing organization, AHC had to quickly switch gears to respond to new and accelerating needs among the children, families and seniors living in the organization’s affordable apartment communities in Maryland and Virginia.

Thanks to a committed and determined Resident Services team, AHC was able to spring into action to help residents weather the challenges of the pandemic. “In the midst of everchanging protocols and chaos, our team was able to pivot to provide life-giving work this past year,” said Susan Davidson, AHC Resident Services Director. “These efforts brought  joy, relief, and much hope to families facing incredible adversities.”

In the last year, AHC’s Resident Services staff members connected with more than 3,000 residents. This included thousands of outreach and follow-up phone calls to more than 1,000 households struggling with rental delinquencies.  Through hours and hours of one-on-one work, AHC’s team helped access $2,963,374 in rental assistance funds for residents – an immeasurable relief for struggling families. AHC Inc. was also able to help 530 households with gift cards through the organization’s Emergency Relief Fund.

“We’ve always known our Resident Services team excels in connecting community services to those who need them most,” said Jennifer Endo, Community Relations Vice President. ” The pandemic has underscored the value of that role.”

Additional Resident Services’ support during the last year includes:

Fighting hunger

  • Increased food distribution sites from six to 26 communities to provide 2,000 households with much-needed food.
  • Delivered groceries to the doorstep of 20+ households in quarantine.
  • Involved 113 volunteers to help with food distributions.

Maintaining educational opportunities

  • Provided 5,000+ virtual sessions with students including Afterschool Programs, Summer Camp, Teen Tutoring, and College & Career Readiness Workshops.
  • Thanks to generous donor support, 960 AHC students across Maryland and Virginia received backpacks.
  • 31 high school seniors (Class of 2020) graduated and are enrolled in post-secondary education.  They received $1.2 million in scholarship awards. 31 additional seniors (Class of 2021) applied to 194 colleges and universities and to date have received 80 acceptances.
  • 65 residents participated in virtual financial literacy workshops in Arlington and Baltimore.
  • 260 volunteers provided support to elementary and teen students.

Building health

  • Distributed 1,200 masks to children and adults.
  • 140 residents received COVID testing onsite
  • 144 seniors received COVID vaccines in their community room.
  • 4 pop-up vaccination registrations were held at AHC’s apartment communities in Arlington
  • Helped 697 residents (primarily seniors) stay engaged through new resident communiations platform, Resident-Connect.

Connecting to community

  • AHC staff helped coordinate generous community support throughout the pandemic, including distributing 4,000 snack bags to students and families, 135 cozy blankets to students in Arlington’s education program, 600 new winter coats and 400 books to children in Virginia and Maryland, 500 activity bags for senior residents, 47 holiday trees, and 900 gift bags to students and senior residents over the holidays.

AHC Inc. Partners with Virginia Housing and Fairfax County to Preserve 292 Affordable Homes

Summary: Landings I and Landings II cover approximately 16 acres of land and feature 292 apartments for residents to choose from, with studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom options. Capital repairs will take place at the two properties in the next year, while a more extensive renovation will occur over the course of the next decade.

 Arlington, Va. —March 2, 2021 — More affordable homes are coming to the Alexandria and Fort Belvoir area, thanks to affordable housing developer AHC Inc., which today announced the acquisition of two prime properties. The acquisition was made in partnership with Virginia Housing and Fairfax County to fulfill their goal of providing safe, affordable homes for the residents of Fairfax County.

This acquisition ensures the preservation of 292 apartments as affordable homes. The properties will provide homes for residents earning between 50% and 80% of the Area Median Income or between $63,000 and $79,600 for a family of four. Affordability will be implemented in a phased approach upon turnover.

“Fairfax County is committed to ensuring no net loss of affordability. To accomplish this preservation goal, partnerships with the development community and financial institutions are essential,” said Department of Housing and Community Development Director Tom Fleetwood. “We are very excited that AHC and Virginia Housing have taken the first steps toward helping us meet that goal by preserving existing market affordable units along the opportunity-rich Richmond Highway Corridor.”

One of the properties, currently known as Haven Mount Vernon, is located at 5401 Claymont Drive in Alexandria, while the other, known as Haven Fort Belvoir, is located at 9190 Richmond Highway in Fort Belvoir. Both properties will be renamed as Landings I and Landings II, respectively.

The two communities will undergo moderate improvements, including repairs to the siding and sidewalks, in addition to partial replacements of the HVAC systems and hot water heaters. Easier access to the leasing center, as well as new roofing will be implemented at Landings I, while window repairs will be made at Landings II. Additional renovations will take place at both buildings over the span of the next 10 years.

“Preservation is an important aspect of Virginia Housing’s mission, and AHC is to be commended for preserving some of Fairfax County’s much-needed affordable housing stock along the Route 1 corridor,” said Virginia Housing CEO Susan Dewey. “Virginia Housing remains focused on working with our partners to increase the amount of quality affordable housing available to our citizens, especially in Northern Virginia. Together with AHC, Fairfax County and our other partners, we are making great progress toward our goal.”

Occupying nearly 12 acres of land, Landings I will offer 216 apartments with 168 two-bedrooms and 48 one-bedrooms. Landings II is situated on approximately four acres and will feature 76 residences with 12 studios, 42 one-bedroom apartments, and 22 with two-bedrooms.

Both communities will offer a number of amenities to their residents. Landings I will include a business center, fitness room, clubhouse, pool, children’s playground and picnic area, while Landings II will have an on-site dog park, playground and fitness center.

“I am committed to preserving and adding affordable and work force housing in the Richmond Highway corridor along with our many other new developments,” said Mount Vernon District Supervisor Daniel Storck. This new acquisition is a major step to not just preserving, but improving and enhancing the affordable housing stock we already have in the District for our residents.”

AHC Inc. financed the properties with loans from both Virginia Housing and Fairfax County, as well as an AHC Loan. Project financing also included Virginia Housing (VHDA) REACH, including funding specifically for affordable housing near Amazon’s new headquarters.

“We are excited to partner with both Virginia Housing and Fairfax County to help address the ongoing affordable housing crisis in our state,” said AHC Inc. VP of Multifamily Development, John Welsh. “Currently, there are many hard-working families who work in Alexandria and Fort Belvoir but do not live here because of the lack of housing affordable to them. Landings I and II will offer much-needed affordable and moderately priced homes, located near employment centers and convenient transportation options.  Landings I & II will connect nicely with Fairfax County’s Embark Richmond Highway.”

With the new acquisition, AHC Inc. has preserved or produced more than 1,100 quality homes for low- and moderate-income Fairfax County residents.

AHC Inc. is also welcoming 113 families later this month to a brand new affordable housing community in Fairfax County called The Spire, which is already accepting applications.

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About AHC Inc.
Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing that provides quality homes and education programs for low- and moderate-income families. Based in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed more than 8,000 apartment units in 50+ properties in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through on-site education and social service programs and activities. For more information, visit https://www.ahcinc.org/.

About the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA)
The FCRHA serves more than 18,000 residents through a variety of rental housing assistance and First-Time Homebuyer programs; and owns and operates nearly 4,000 units of housing – including multifamily housing, senior housing, licensed assisted living and specialized housing for tenants with a variety of needs. The FCRHA also oversees and administers Fairfax County’s land use housing programs and the investment of local funds as well as state and federal grants to increase and/or preserve the county’s stock of affordable homes. For more information, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/housing

About Virginia Housing
When homes are affordable and accessible to jobs, good schools and transportation, everyone benefits. Individual lives are improved and communities as a whole grow stronger. Virginia Housing was created in 1972 by the General Assembly to help Virginians attain quality, affordable housing. We carry out this mission by working in public-private partnerships with local governments, community service organizations, lenders, Realtors, developers and many others. We provide mortgages for first-time homebuyers, as well as financing for apartment communities and neighborhood revitalization efforts. We offer free homebuyer classes, support housing counseling, and help people with disabilities and the elderly make their homes more livable. We also administer the federal Housing Choice Voucher and Housing Credit programs in Virginia. Virginia Housing is self-supporting and receives no state taxpayer dollars to fund our programs. Instead, we raise money in the capital markets, and we contribute a significant portion of our net revenues each year to help meet Virginia’s most difficult housing needs. www.virginiahousing.com

AHC Inc.’s COVID Rental Assistance Tops $2.3 Million

Summary: AHC Inc. — a leading developer of more than 7,500 affordable-housing units in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC — has been working diligently to provide residents with well-needed relief since the start of the pandemic. Working with its Resident Services team and property management arm, AHC Management, AHC has established 18 new food distribution sites, provided grocery gift cards for over 3,000 families, and secured over $2.3 million dollars in rental assistance for their residents.

Arlington, Va. —February 24, 2021 — AHC Inc., a premier provider of affordable housing communities in metro D.C., sprang into action last spring to help residents suffering from the effects of the pandemic. In 2020, AHC’s Resident Services team with support from the property management arm, AHC Management, has provided substantial food and financial assistance to more than 3,000 families in Maryland and Virginia.

By April 30th of last year, more than 30 million Americans applied for unemployment due to the pandemic, causing many to struggle to meet their rent obligations. And as jobless claims continue to rise, more than 50 million people, including 17 million children, have experienced food insecurity due to COVID, according to Feeding America.

As the pandemic took hold, AHC Inc.’s Resident Services team pivoted to launch its own COVID-19 Residents Relief program. Throughout 2020, the program helped secure approximately $2.3 million in rental assistance for affordable-housing residents and continues to offer extended payment plans.

“In the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, we had a 50 percent increase in requests for food assistance from our residents,” said Susan Davidson, AHC Resident Services Director. “To meet this increased need, AHC established 18 more food distribution sites for its residents in addition to the six sites we typically operate in Maryland and Virginia.”

To build its reach, Resident Services worked with 24 community partners, many of whom stepped up to help neighbors in need, including the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization and local farmers markets, Amazon, Maryland Food Bank, World Central Kitchen, and AFAC.

The company has also distributed grocery gift cards to nearly 3,000 families in need thanks to generous individual donations and organizations such as the Arlington Community Foundation and Volunteer Arlington.

The relief initiatives are being implemented by AHC’s 32-member Resident Services department, which helps residents in four key areas: Education, Health & Wellness, Financial Wellness, and Community Building.

“COVID turned everyone’s lives upside down and especially those of our residents,” said Davidson. “Our team pivoted immediately to focus our efforts on addressing the needs of the residents as they were in the moment, and that included helping families access federal and local dollars to pay their rent and to meet some basic needs.”

In addition to the COVID-19 Residents Relief efforts, AHC’s Resident Services team provides year-round resources, such as after-school programs, college and career readiness initiatives, summer camps, job readiness mentorship, eviction prevention, and social services assistance.

Jennifer Endo, Vice President of Community Relations added: “We believe that we are more than a company — we are a community. Everyone on the AHC team is passionate about providing our residents the best environment to lead happy and healthy lives. Our Resident Services program is the embodiment of that passion.”

About AHC Inc.

Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing that provides quality homes and education programs for low- and moderate-income families. Based in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed more than 7,500 apartment units in 50+ properties in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through on-site education and social service programs and activities. For more information, visit https://www.ahcinc.org/.

About AHC Management

AHC Management is a premier full-service property management company serving affordable-living communities in Virginia and Maryland. A subsidiary of national nonprofit affordable housing developer AHC Inc., for over 20 years AHC Management has been servicing thousands of families in more than 4,500 units across 33 properties. AHC is certified by Virginia Housing Development Authority and is a licensed Community Association Management Company in the Commonwealth of Virginia. For more information, visit: www.ahcmgmt.com.

AHC Greater Baltimore 2020 Development Highlights

Established in 2014, AHC Greater Baltimore has developed eight properties with more than 1,600 affordable apartments in the Baltimore region. The organization, a subsidiary of Arlington, VA-based AHC Inc., continues to expand its portfolio. Following are our 2020 development highlights. 

Greenspring Overlook Renovation

We’re giving our first property, Greenspring Overlook, a refresh! Purchased in 2001, the garden-style complex features 189 units and accepts Housing Choice Vouchers. The extensive renovations feature upgrades to all units and common spaces, including: replacing the plumbing and HVAC, updating lighting and fixtures to save energy, installing new kitchen cabinets and countertops, enhancing the security system, altering the sidewalk to improve accessibility, and building a new tot lot/additional recreation space.

We’re phasing construction so we can relocate residents for all in-unit work, with the goal of keeping most residents on site. COVID-19 has presented additional challenges to the construction process, but we have put new precautions and protocols in place to protect the safety of the residents and the construction workers.

MonteVerde Rowe

In 2008, AHC-GB purchased and renovated MonteVerde – a complex with 301 affordable apartments for seniors and people with disabilities. After investing in MonteVerde, we realized the nearby 2600 block of Violet Avenue, which used to include mostly vacant and abandoned homes, was also in need of renovation. We purchased 2/3 of the homes on this block and redeveloped them with first-time homebuyers in mind. Dubbed MonteVerde Rowe, the project has transformed the 2600 block of Violet Avenue. Renovations provided updated kitchens and baths, new windows, Energy Star appliances, and features that celebrated the history of the rowhomes like hardwood floors and exposed brick.

In December 2020, the final renovated home on MonteVerde Rowe went under contract, bringing years of hard work and effort to fruition!

Poe Homes CHOICE Neighborhoods Transformation Plan

AHC-GB is excited to be working with our partner, Michaels Development, to create a plan for the transformation of Poe Homes, one of the oldest public housing developments in Baltimore. AHC-GB submitted the final transformation plan for the development to HUD in September. The final plan proposes approximately 600 new units at Poe Homes and in the surrounding neighborhood to replace the existing public housing as well as add new housing to create a mixed-income redevelopment. 

O’Donnell Heights Community Revitalization

Since September 2019, AHC-GB has participated in the community process led by Baltimore City Department of Planning and the Housing Authority of Baltimore City to develop a neighborhood revitalization plan for various communities, including O’Donnell Heights. The community revitalization plan was approved in June 2020 following a process that included AHC-GB, Michaels Development, local neighborhood associations, O’Donnell Heights Tenant Council, local schools, and businesses.  

Photo: AHC Greater Baltimore Development Manager Darron Cooper works with residents to revitalize Poe Homes public housing into a mixed-income development with approximately 600 new affordable homes. 

 

AHC Extends Rent Assistance, Waives Evictions and Late Fees Through March 31, 2021

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December 4, 2020

Dear Residents,

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, AHC Inc. and AHC Management are committed to helping you and your family stay in your home. To help you weather the storm, we are extending our rental assistance efforts through March 31, 2021. This means we will continue to waive all late fees, freeze rent increases, and suspend all evictions for all residents experiencing economic hardships due to COVID-19.

However, it is important to remember that you should continue to pay off your rent balances as much as possible.

If you are experiencing economic hardships due to COVID-19, our Resident Services team is ready to help you apply for emergency assistance programs and help with food, bills, or utilities. So far, we have helped residents receive nearly $1.5 million in rent assistance. We encourage you to take advantage of these funds while they are still available, so please contact us as soon as possible and ask how AHC can help you access rent relief assistance.

Here’s how you can contact us for assistance:

  • Reach out to your apartment building’s Community Manager
  • Call AHC’s Resident Services Hotline at 703-486-0626 x 1112
  • Email our Resident Services Director Susan Davidson at davidson@ahcinc.org

All conversations will be entirely confidential. If you’d like to have a translator assist you through this process, please let us know and we’d be happy to help with that as well. We are committed to helping you in every way we can.

We wish you and your family all the best during these tough times. We will continue to work hard to provide stable homes and peace of mind for all our residents.

Sincerely,

Michael Werner,
Senior Vice President, Property Management

Susan Davidson
Director, Resident Services