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Housing Coalition Urges Arlington County Board to “Fulfill the Promise” of Affordable Housing Master Plan

New report recommends strategies to reach annual goal of 600 units

Arlington, VA  (December 16, 2017) – A coalition of housing experts and advocates urged the County Board to pursue strategies to meet the production goals set out in Arlington’s Affordable Housing Master Plan, which was unanimously adopted in 2015. “Despite heroic efforts by the staff and the Board, we are falling way short of our annual goal of nearly 600 units”, said John Milliken, chair of the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) and former member of the County Board. The County’s own assessment report documents that an average of just 224 committed affordable homes were added between 2011 and 2016, a pace far below the goal.

The report, Fulfilling the Promise: Meeting the Production Goal of Arlington’s Affordable Housing Master Plan, identifies strategies to reduce costs or increase funding for the Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF), the County’s loan program to support affordable housing development and preservation. Each strategy includes a case study highlighting how the recommendation could make a difference in Arlington. The report was developed by a coalition of housing and land-use experts and advocates.

County Board members embraced the report, which Chairman Fisette described as “Vintage Arlington”, and directed staff to identify the most promising recommendations to incorporate into the work plan for 2018. Board members endorsed deeper exploration of several report strategies including cost-saving and stream-lining measures, changes in tax policy, and modification of the County’s bonus density policy. Christian Dorsey, thanked the report authors for “kick-starting us in the right direction,” an appreciation echoed by John Vihstadt and Katie Cristol.

“Arlington needs to remain a place where all can live: where our kids can start out and our grandparents remain. It should remain a place where any who work here should, if they choose, be able to live here,” said John Milliken.

Report signers and coalition members:

Susan Ingraham Bell, Independent Planning Consultant

Matt Birenbaum, CIO, AvalonBay Communities, Inc.

Paul Browne, Vice President, Real Estate Development, Wesley Housing.

Kelly Eichhorn, CFO, APAH

Pat Findikoglu, Housing Advocate

Jay Harris, Principal, Harris Crystal Advisors

Dr. Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr., Pastor, Macedonia Baptist Church

Nina Janopaul, President and CEO, APAH

Richard Jordan, Managing Director, Potomac Investment Properties

Jonathan C. Kinney, Shareholder, Bean, Kinney & Korman

John Milliken, Board Chair, APAH, retired elected official

Shelley Murphy, President and CEO, Wesley Housing

Justin C. Oliver, Board Chair, AHC Inc.

Cheryl Ramp, Director of Community Resources and Relations, APAH

Carmen Romero, Vice President, Real Estate Development, APAH

John Shooshan, Chairman, The Shooshan Company

Stephen E. Smith, Executive Vice President, AHC Inc.

Michael Spotts, President, Neighborhood Fundamentals, LLC

Walter Webdale, President and CEO, AHC Inc.

John Welsh, Vice President, Multifamily Group, AHC Inc.

Mary Margaret Whipple, President, Alliance for Housing Solutions, retired elected official

Michelle Winters, Executive Director, Alliance for Housing Solutions

Kevin Yam, Managing Director, Iron Point Partners

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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.

 

Walter D. Webdale Receives Distinguished Alumni Award

December 19, 2017 – Canisius College has named Walter D. Webdale, AHC Inc. President and CEO, a Distinguished Alumni, the highest honor bestowed upon those who differentiate themselves as leaders in their chosen professions.

“It’s one of the special privileges as president to know of the amazing personal and professional accomplishments of our alumni,” said Canisius President, John J. Hurley. “Known as a pioneer in the field of urban renewal, Walter D. Webdale has been in the affordable housing industry for more than 50 years. Under Webdale’s tutelage, AHC more than tripled its multifamily housing portfolio, and its award-winning resident services program expanded to reach 3,000 children, adults and seniors each year through onsite education programs.”

Canisius College, founded in 1870 by German Jesuits, is located in Buffalo, NY and promotes the Jesuit principles of excellence, service and leadership.

“For more than 50 years, my life’s work has been to provide a roof overhead to those who need it most,” said Webdale upon accepting the award. “Developing quality affordable housing along with services to help families build successful futures for themselves and their children is my passion and my vocation. I credit Canisius College with inspiring my compassion for others who need a helping hand; for building my leadership skills; and for instilling my love for learning, which has helped me keep pace with our evolving world.”

Link to full College Citation

Photo: Canisius College President, John J. Hurley (left), congratulates Walter D. Webdale, AHC Inc. President and CEO, on receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award at the Montante Cultural Center, a completely renovated and refurbished concert hall that was one of the college’s original churches.

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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.

Three Ways You Can Help Advocate for Affordable Housing

Justin-Oliver

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.

 

 

 

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

 

Don-Beyer-at-construction-site

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.

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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.

 

Woodbury Park Grand Re-Opening Celebrates its Historic Heritage

Woodbury-Park-Ribbon-Cutting

Built in the 1940s, Woodbury Park at Courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. When AHC purchased the property in 1987, the 364-unit property doubled the young organization’s rental portfolio.

Thirty years later, the Colonial Revival apartment community again stands as a testament to Virginia’s rich, historical heritage. A comprehensive two-year renovation has both restored and updated the property’s classic features, which include a mix of red and blonde brick masonry, gabled and flat roofing, and porticoes at the buildings’ entrances.

Exterior improvements include repair and repainting of the seven large brick buildings, and new roofs, casement windows and plantings. Interior renovations include new kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, and electrical systems. In warm months, the freshly re-bricked courtyard, with a water feature and plenty of comfortable benches, will serve as a central gathering place in the nine-acre community.

The renovation also provided an opportunity to turn under-utilized space into two new resident-oriented buildings – a leasing office and a community center with an exercise room and a gathering area with a large TV, game table, and plenty of seating.

Woodbury Park is one of the few affordable garden apartment communities in Arlington within walking distance of the Metro, jobs, shopping, and open green spaces. The tree-filled community, which includes 204 affordable apartments and 160 market-rate units, preserves much-needed, convenient living opportunities for a spectrum of individuals, including working families, senior citizens, and young people just starting careers.

The property also provides an extensive array of onsite programs for residents, including AHC’s year-round Resident Services’ education programs with After-School, Teen Tutoring and Summer Camp opportunities for youth. The apartment community also includes a Montessori school in the adjacent Frederick apartment building. One third of the students in the school are Woodbury/Frederick residents who receive scholarships.

AHC also partners with Arlington County and other nonprofit organizations to provide additional onsite services for Woodbury Park residents, including weekly food distribution through Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) and an office for Arlington’s Community Outreach Program three days a week.

The renovation was funded through a combination of financial tools, including Historic Tax Credits, and did not require use of Arlington’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund.

Project partners include: Burke & Herbert Bank and Trust Company; Capital One, NA; Collins Kronstadt O’Neill and Partners, LLP: Cynthia Ferranto Landscape Design; EHT Traceries; Harkins Builders Inc.; Hudson Housing Capital; and Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA).

Photo caption:  Partners, community members, residents and Arlington County Board members Christian Dorsey and Libby Garvey joined AHC staff to celebrate Woodbury Park’s grand re-opening celebration. Photo: John Dawson, Harkins Builders

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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 52 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.