Affordable Housing Helps Family Maintain Neighborhood Roots
Rosa Byrd has lived in Alexandria’s Lynhaven neighborhood for more than 50 years. Many of her family live nearby, including her 25-year-old granddaughter, Chanel Yancey, who recently moved into AHC’s Jackson Crossing apartment community. “I like the convenient location and it’s nice to be close to family,” says Chanel, who works for the Alexandria City Public Schools.
Chanel’s mother, Patricia Yancey, grew up in the neighborhood and attended the nearby Cora Kelly Elementary School. Today, she lives a few blocks from her mother, Rosa, and commutes to work with her daughter. “I love that. I see her every day,” says Patricia. “If she had to live somewhere else, it would have changed the dynamics of our family.”
Rosa believes Jackson Crossing provides much-needed housing options in the neighborhood. “I have a lot of friends who have had to relocate out of Alexandria,” she says. “Their hearts are here, but they have to live outside the community because of the cost of living. This is a great way to help people stay in the city because it’s gotten so expensive. I’m grateful my granddaughter is living here. She was looking for a place where she could live on her own.”
Along with deep roots in Lynhaven, both Rosa and Patricia have served in a wide variety of local leadership roles, including the PTA, civic association and election board. “I honestly believe no matter where you live, you should be part of the community,” says Rosa. In 2012, the mother/daughter team was honored by the Senior Services of Alexandria for their legacy of service. That legacy continues through the third generation; Chanel also serves as an election official like her mother and grandmother.
Rosa’s long-time community involvement has been widely recognized. In 2013, she was named a Living Legend of Alexandria, and Alexandria News honored her as Alexandrian of the Year in 2014.
Rosa, who retired after 30 years with the Alexandria City Public School System, and her husband, Jack, who worked with the Metro Bus System for nearly 40 years, thoroughly enjoy living so close to family in Lynhaven. Together, they have six siblings who live within several blocks. Over the years, more than 20 children in the family have attended Cora Kelly School.
“My family is the crown jewel of my life,” says Byrd. “One of my blessings is that when they grew up, they wanted to come back to live in Alexandria.”
Photo: Three generations of the Byrd family live in Alexandria’s Lynhaven neighborhood. From left to right: Patricia Yancey, Rosa Byrd and Chanel Yancey.