NVAHA 15 – Accomplishment #10 (2011): NVAHA Releases “Charting a Way Forward: Preserving Market Rate Affordable Housing in Northern Virginia’s Inner Suburbs”

Charting a Way Forward: Preserving Market Rate Affordable Housing in Northern Virginia’s Inner Suburbs was the first report to take a comprehensive look at the impact of plan approvals for the redevelopment of three contiguous major transit corridors in the inner suburbs of Northern Virginia–Columbia Pike, Seven Corners and the Beauregard Corridor–on existing market affordable housing there. 

Three corridors – Columbia Pike in Arlington and extended into Fairfax County, a portion of Leesburg Pike (Rte 7) at Bailey’s Crossroads and Beauregard Street in Alexandria – were all slated to undergo significant transformation. In addition to improved transit access, plans called for significant changes in land use, creating new office and commercial development, more attention to public open space and streetscapes, increased pedestrian access and thousands of units of new housing. The challenge – a considerable amount of older, privately-owned market affordable apartments that provide much needed homes to thousands of low-income households are located along these corridors. 

“Charting a Way Forward” suggests that jurisdictions address their common challenge of preserving market affordable units by looking beyond their boundaries to share pertinent information and best practices. Where it makes sense, collaboration to develop common strategies should be explored and encouraged. With over 11,000 units at risk, our region would best be served by these local jurisdictions allocating necessary resources and adopting transparent, consistent strategies to engage private landowners in solutions that maintain the long-term affordability of this valuable housing stock.