AHDC Youth wins Governor's Housing Conference Outstanding Youth Award


Jhalil Dickerson, from The Station at Potomac Yards, has received the Virginia Governor's Housing Conference Outstanding Youth Award for 2017. Jhalil was nominated by the property manager Dawn Reid, who said of Jhalil that at his young age, he is well known by the entire Station community for being helpful to the residents, a cheerful presence at events, and an outstanding volunteer in the Rooftop Roots Station terrace garden. 

When Jhalil found out he won the award, he was "very excited". He said enjoys the work in the gardens, as well as helping out with the dishes, laundry, and clearing tables at community events. Jhalil insisted he is self taught in all these things, but his grandmother, Wanda Dickerson, laughed and disagreed. 

"I was ecstatic, I was so happy, and I'm thankful for everybody who worked with Jhalil and put him in a position to be nominated for this award," Wanda said. 

Jhalil and Wanda will travel to the Governor's Housing Conference in November, where he will receive a 529 College Savings Award. AHDC is so proud of Jhalil and we can't wait to celebrate with him in November!

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AHDC at the Nationals!

On October 1, Alexandria Housing Development Corporation residents and staff caught the last Nationals ballgame of the regular season. It was a wonderful chance to get to socialize with each other, enjoy some fall sunshine, and dig into ballpark grub.

Resident services and community events are a part of AHDC’s new Strategic Plan, and we’re eager to get outside and be with our communities. (And while the Nats didn’t win this one, we’re excited to see them tackle the NLDS this weekend!)


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


AHDC Community Wellness Series: Transit and Green Buildings

AHDC Community Wellness Series: Green growth with transit-centered development and EarthCraft

Alexandria Housing Development Corporation (AHDC) understands that housing is a fundamental part of promoting Alexandria’s community health. Our goal is to make sure that our residents not only have quality and affordable housing options, but that our properties afford access to and build capacity for wellness in the City. We’ll be talking about AHDC’s commitment to community wellness in the next few weeks, both where we are now and where are going.

Green development as a priority

AHDC is committed to green development as a part of our VISION 2020 strategic plan. We do this out of respect for our environment and for the health and well-being of all those who live within our properties. Here, we focus on two areas of our development goals that improve the environment and well-being of AHDC residents; transit aware development and EarthCraft certification.

1.       Transit connected properties

AHDC properties are all located in places that provide proximity to transit, which allows our residents greater access to the economic opportunities of Alexandria and our region while encouraging green movement and fuel-cost savings. Most AHDC properties are near to a Metrorail station in addition to bus lines – the Arbelo, Lacy Court, and the upcoming North Henry Apartments/Carpenter’s Shelter redevelopment are all under a mile away from Braddock Road station, while Longview Terrace is a mile from King Street Station. The Station at Potomac Yards sits close to the Metroway bus line and all the proposed sites for the Potomac Yard Metrorail station, and the Gateway at King and Beauregard is located at a planned bus rapid transit hub for the city’s “West End Transitway” project.

We are proud of our transit connectivity because it helps keep our environment clean. According to the American Public Transit Association (APTA), households near public transit drive an average of 4,400 miles less per year than households with no access, which reduces our collective carbon footprint. A single person switching a 20-mile round trip car commute to transit can reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 4,800 pounds/year, which is more effective than winterizing a thermostat, replacing an old refrigerator, and replacing outdated lightbulbs – combined.[1]

Aside from the green implications, transit access allows our residents greater mobility around the region, which widens the economic opportunities they can pursue without being reliant upon a car. The APTA also notes that a family that can use transit to downsize to one car saves, on average, $9,823 a year.[2] For many families and individuals, the transit system may be their only opportunity for moving through the region.


2.       EarthCraft for healthy homes


AHDC builds properties with EarthCraft certification as a goal to be sure that new buildings use green materials and encourage health and wellness for those living inside them. EarthCraft certifications for multi-family housing are comprehensive, including scores on a wide range of items such as the inclusion of Energy Star appliances, use of locally sourced and recycled building materials, low-flow water fixtures, and more. Points towards certification can also be awarded for quality of life features such as community gardens and bike storage, both of which are included in upcoming AHDC projects. The certification process for EarthCraft ensures quality and consistency: A points-based worksheet is used to determine certification eligibility, confirmed by an in-person review from a technical advisor.


Additionally, EarthCraft is headquartered in Atlanta and maintains a unique focus on the southeast United States. Our region, with humid summers, cold winters, and Atlantic Ocean proximity, has different requirements for longevity and sustainability than the rest of the United States.  By focusing on the southeast, EarthCraft certification means that whatever we build is right for our local context.


AHDC is proud to commit to green solutions with every property that we own, as it improves the lives of our residents and Alexandrians at large. Affordable solutions can also be green solutions, and we’re determined to protect our environment in whatever ways we can while also providing quality homes for our residents.


[1] The Benefits of Public Transportation, https://www.apta.com/resources/reportsandpublications/documents/greenhouse_brochure.pdf

[2] APTA Media Center: Public Transportation Benefits http://www.apta.com/mediacenter/ptbenefits/Pages/default.aspx


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AHDC Community Wellness Series: Food Access

AHDC Community Wellness Series: Affordable Housing, Food Access, and Well-being

Alexandria Housing Development Corporation (AHDC) understands that housing is a fundamental part of promoting Alexandria’s community health. Our goal is to make sure that our residents not only have quality and affordable housing options, but that our properties afford access to and build capacity for wellness in the City. We’ll be talking about AHDC’s commitment to community wellness in the next few weeks, both where we are now and where are going.

The State of Fresh Food

Access to fresh food, vital for health, is made more difficult for many Americans because of geography and finances. 6% of American households struggle to buy healthy food because of their remote location or the costs of housing are prohibitive. Specifically in urban cores like the D.C. metro region, lack of access to healthy and affordable foods is associated with areas of greater income inequality. [1]

Additionally, Americans don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables. The CDC reports that in Virginia, 22.2% of adults have less than one serving of vegetables/day, and 38.4 have less than one serving of fruit/day.[2] Decreasing these percentages will result in greater community health outcomes.

The City of Alexandria is better equipped to handle these issues than most. We have an abundance of groceries within our borders, and access to locally grown and fresh foods via farmer’s markets promotes healthy and green consumption. People can thrive here – if they can afford to live here. With 90% of market affordable units from 2000 now gone, this is more of a challenge with every passing year.[3]

AHDC Properties and Improving Food Access

AHDC is working to make living in healthy Alexandria an option for all households. Our properties support access to fresh food in a variety of ways:

1.       Budget saving affordable rent - Because AHDC is exclusively focused on affordable housing within city limits, more low-to-moderate income residents have the chance to live local and reap the health benefits of Alexandria, without sacrificing their paycheck. Every dollar not spent on rent can be spent on fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy and whole grains for adults and children alike.

2.       Geographically Close to Supermarkets - Every AHDC property is located under approximately half a mile from a grocery store – a mere few minutes by car, and a walkable distance on foot. Alexandria enjoys a higher than average grocery store count per 1,000 residents[4], and AHDC makes that geographic benefit available to those who might otherwise be pushed out of the city.

3.       Urban Agriculture and Education - We use our designed spaces to promote urban agriculture that benefits our residents. At the Station at Potomac Yard, we partnered with Rooftop Roots to build an innovative urban rooftop garden which benefits AHDC residents. In our upcoming Carpenter’s Shelter renovation project, a 1,600 square foot production garden will likewise provide education and supplemental nutrition to future AHDC and Carpenter’s Shelter residents.


AHDC: Invested in Alexandria

We envision a diverse Alexandria where all people can live and thrive. We support environmentally friendly housing solutions, people oriented design, and community wellness both within our properties and in Alexandria at large. Learn more at housingalexandria.org.





[1]Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food: Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences.” USDA, 2009.

[2] “State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables”, CDC, 2013

[3] “Market Affordable 2017 Update”, City of Alexandria, 2017

[4] Alexandria County Food Access Statistics, HealthGrove.com

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