affordable housing

Can Alexandria's employees afford to live here?

The National Low Income Housing Coalition released it's 2018 Out Of Reach report, detailing down to a zip-code level what hourly wage one would need to earn to not spend more than 30% of their income on rent*. As a high cost-of-living area, Alexandrians would need to make $34.48 hourly to afford rent without compromising their monthly budget, which is the second highest housing wage in the nation.

Furthermore, Alexandrians' rents are affected by the economics of the entire D.C. metro region, but their incomes are still subject to the Virginia state-wide minimum wage - meaning that Alexandrians earning Virginia minimum wage would need to somehow find a way to work 190/week to not spend more than 30% of their income on rent. At $15 an hour, it would still take roughly 97 hours a week to afford rent.

Take a look through the images below to see some analysis on what this means in our very local context, and be sure to check out the most recent Out of Reach report to see what the housing story is nationwide.

*Rent is based on the Fair Market Rent, as established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

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Gateway Update: Building Features, amenities discussed; construction site photos

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This property is not leasing at this time. To be the first to know about leasing opportunities, please sign up for our mailing list at the bottom of this post.

It  's ha  rd to miss this giant hole in the ground, as you drive past King and Beauregard.

It's hard to miss this giant hole in the ground, as you drive past King and Beauregard.

Construction crews at the King and Beauregard intersection have continued their work digging out the foundation for the West Alex development – what will be a mixed-use space of retail, office, and residential buildings. AHDC will begin construction on a 74-unit affordable housing property within the development this year, ensuring that the area maintains long-term affordable options as the city grows.

Future residents of this AHDC property, currently called The Gateway, will enjoy amenities including a 1,500 square foot community room, 6,500 square foot outdoor terrace, a children’s play area, and grilling station. Underground parking and bike storage will be available to residents, and a TransitScreen display in the lobby will assist those commuting via public transportation. Gateway residents will also have the option to access additional amenities within the larger West Alex development, such as a fitness room. 

The Gateway will serve households making under 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI, learn more here). The property has a mix of studio, one, two, and three bedroom units, serving a wide variety of individuals and families.

Outside of residential uses, West Alex features significant retail and office components as well, which will bring jobs, convenience, and entertainment to the area. “The master developer is planning over 100,000 square feet of retail for the site: convenience retailers, full service and fast casual restaurants, and a 60,000 square foot Harris Teeter,” says project manager Aaron Remolona. “We think that the everyday convenience of having all this retail within steps of the Gateway will be a great amenity for the residents.”

Executive director Jon Frederick also considers the transit connectivity of West Alex to be a primary benefit. “The project has great access to regional employment opportunities at the Pentagon and the BRAC,” says Frederick. “The bus rapid transit (BRT) line on this site will provide connectivity in the long term as well, extending the reach of employment opportunities in the city and the greater region.”

(The BRT line will be a part of the City’s West End Transitway, connecting West End neighborhoods to the city and beyond - learn more here: TE&S Website)

“This is a unique partnership between for-profit and non-profit housing developers” says Frederick. “It’s a great opportunity to be a part of the construction from the beginning, and to play a role in the development and ultimately build something really great for the city.”

See more about The Gateway, or find us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates.

 
AHDC team members check out the future site of the Gateway, part of the larger West Alex development.

AHDC team members check out the future site of the Gateway, part of the larger West Alex development.

 
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AHDC wins National and Virginia Housing Trust Fund award for the Bloom

Alexandria Housing Development Corporation (AHDC) has been awarded $1.6 million in National Housing Trust Funds and Virginia Housing Trust Funds for The Bloom, AHDC’s affordable housing development in North Old Town, Alexandria. This represents the first award given from both the Virginia and National Housing Trust Funds to a development in the City of Alexandria. 

Ten organizations were selected from 23 applicants. AHDC’s award of $1.6 million is almost one-fourth of the total of $6.5 million that was awarded this year, and the largest single award for any organization this year.

The Bloom is AHDC’s partnership project with Carpenter’s Shelter, another Alexandria non-profit. The completed development will provide 97 new units of affordable housing, a newly constructed shelter space for Carpenter’s Shelter, and 10 units of permanent supportive housing that will house formerly homeless individuals from Carpenter’s. The Bloom will also include playground space, underground parking, and a 1,600 square foot production garden. 

To read the press release from Governor Northam’s office, please click the following link: https://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/newsarticle?articleId=25547

Find us online on Twitter and Facebook!

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Introducing, The Bloom: AHDC and Carpenter's Shelter Project Update

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Alexandria Housing Development Corporation (AHDC) and Carpenter’s Shelter are working on a new development that will provide 97 units of affordable housing as well as brand new space for Carpenter’s Shelter operations. We are pleased to announce new apartment community now has its official name: introducing, “The Bloom”.

 

AHDC Project Manager Jennifer Skow says that she was inspired by the growth of the neighborhood and of the program participants at Carpenter’s Shelter when thinking of names for the apartment building. “This project represents growth, and bloom isn’t just a synonym for growth, it also evokes a sense of flourishing,” says Skow. “There are a number of ways residents here may flourish; from easy access to grocery and other community amenities in the Braddock Road neighborhood, social connections and skills developed from the services that will be provided on-site, and the personal and professional growth that can happen when housing is stable.”

 

The project brings exciting changes for Carpenter’s Shelter as well. The current facility, a retrofitted DMV, will be torn down to make way for a new, purpose built building that will help Carpenter’s Shelter effectively and efficiently meet the needs of their clients. Additionally, 10 apartment units will be set aside as dedicated “permanent supportive housing” dwellings. According to Deputy Director of Carpenter’s Shelter Mary-Parker Lamm, "The City of Alexandria has over 28 citizens in a given year who need a permanent supportive housing unit to ensure they can remain a contributing citizen here in their very own community.  Carpenter's Shelter is proud to decrease that number by 36% with this one project.  We are eager to use our 29 years of experience with a population with a variety of needs and to support all of them in their next step - having a permanent home to call their own right in their own community.”

 

One of the unique “growing” features of The Bloom will be the 1,600 square foot production garden, which will provide produce for residents of The Bloom and Carpenter’s Shelter. This garden will be professionally managed by a third organization, Love & Carrots, who will also coordinate activities and events for residents related to the garden. Other building features include Bloom Books, small library spaces spread through the building, expansive green roofing, a playground accessible to The Bloom and Carpenter’s residents, and upper housing units with views of the US Capitol and the Washington Monument. Interior design features will also reflect this green, growing theme.

 

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The Bloom, which will be located above the ground-level Carpenter’s Shelter facility, will serve families and individuals who make less than 60% of area median income (or AMI – you can learn more about how AMI works here). This project comes at a “critical moment” for the Braddock Road Metro neighborhood according to Skow, who calls it an “extraordinary opportunity to create new units of low-income housing and provide a new facility to sustain operations for Carpenter’s Shelter in a high-opportunity neighborhood.” The area has grown rapidly in the past few years, but luxury rate units dwarf the number of affordable rate units. With amenities like the Metrorail line and bus access, Post Office, medical services, schools, recreational centers, and parks nearby, The Bloom will offer a convenient, connected affordable housing option for low-to-moderate income residents.

 

You can see more details about the Bloom on our webpage here. To be the first to receive updates about the Bloom and our other projects, sign up for our mailing list. To learn more about Carpenter’s Shelter, click here.

This property is not yet taking leasing inquiries.

 

AHDC Letter to the Editor

Letter to the editor:

 

Alexandria Housing Development Corporation (AHDC) is thrilled to see that so many members of city leadership are supportive of growing affordable housing in the city, as seen from the statements made by Mayor Silberberg and City Council Members Del Pepper, John Chapman, and Willie Bailey in a recent Alexandria Times article (“City council weighs in on fall session”, 9/6). The ecosystem of affordable housing can be complicated, but the problem is simple: Housing costs have outpaced income growth by 2-5 times since the year 2000, and the number of market-rate affordable units in Alexandria has declined by 90% in the same period. Many who have been in our city for decades face an impossible question – give up other essentials (such as health care and nutrition) for rent, or move.

Alexandria is an attractive city, and it is natural that people want to settle here. As a non-profit provider of affordable units, AHDC sets out to make sure that it stays that way for all income levels. This is economically imperative, as a city needs a diversity of professions - and thus a diversity of incomes - to survive. Consider this: In Alexandria, a police dispatcher would struggle to find housing for their family of four that would not severely burden their budget, prompting them to look farther and farther outside the city instead. Yet we need police dispatchers to function as a top-tier city, just as we need teachers, legal clerks, social workers, clergy, construction teams, cooks, and home health care aides. Private, non-profit, and public solutions are required to make sure that Alexandria has housing for the labor it needs to continue to thrive.

The benefits are not just economic. By allowing more to live local in affordable housing, we reduce the need for long commutes and the accompanying pollution and traffic. We allow seniors with fixed incomes to continue to age in place, so they can stay near their families and communities.  We further educational outcomes by keeping children in one home, and one school, when their families don’t have to move to escape high rents. Alexandria benefits from happy grandparents, smart kids, quick commutes and clean air.

80% of Alexandria residents surveyed say that housing affordability is either essential or very important to the city’s future, and city leadership is on board. It’s not a quick fix, but it’s completely achievable. Let’s get to work.

 

Jonathan Frederick, Executive Director

Alexandria Housing Development Corporation

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