On March 5, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors announced the completion of work by two affordable housing advisory groups, the Affordable Housing Resources Panel (AHRP) and the Embark Housing Advisory Group. The recommendations of these groups are helping to aggressively and deliberately drive the County’s affordable housing agenda. This is by far the most comprehensive effort the County has undertaken to date. These recommendations speak to the entirety of housing needs – those with disabilities, seniors and those most vulnerable - in our community.
In June 2018, the Board approved Phase 1 of the County’s first-ever housing strategic plan, called the Community-wide Housing Strategic Plan.
This first phase led to the creation of 25 short-term strategies to be implemented over the next two years. Phase 2 of the Plan includes longer-term strategies for developing new tools, policies and resources to support the production, preservation and access to housing that is affordable to all who live and work here.
To accomplish Phase 2, the AHRP, composed of housing experts, was created to provide recommendations on the number of additional affordable housing units the County should work toward developing and preserving over the next 15 years; and the funding sources and mechanisms by which these units should be developed. On February 26, the AHRP concluded its work and these recommendations will inform the Board’s FY 2021 Budget Guidance, as the County looks to increase County resources to support affordable housing and add to the current inventory.
On February 21, the Embark Housing Advisory Group, comprised of housing advocates, affordable housing users and builders, and land use attorneys, concluded its work. The Embark group was created to ensure the preservation of affordable housing in the Richmond Highway Corridor as part of the Embark Comprehensive Plan Amendment. The findings of the group include guidelines to preserve affordable housing in the Corridor by ensuring there is no net loss of existing units. The group’s recommendations will inform the Strategic Economic Development Team, created by Supervisors Dan Storck and Jeff McKay, and will be incorporated into the Community-wide Housing Strategic Plan.
Both Supervisors Storck and McKay applaud the work done by these groups, while continuing to express the need to do more.
“While these efforts are commendable, the County needs more tools to help keep current residents from being priced out of the Corridor. These needs are not only in the rental market, but we must strive to support home ownership as well," Storck said. "Providing enhanced opportunities for residents to own their own homes is one of the best paths to financial and community stability, and something the County must further embrace.”
“Affordable housing must continue to be a top County priority," said McKay. "As Embark comes to fruition and Amazon HQ2 arrives, we know we need to continue creating and preserving affordable housing for all.”