By: Michael A. Spotts
Earlier this week, I wrote about Fulfilling the Promise, a coalition report to assist Arlington County in meeting its ambitious affordable housing production goals, as outlined in its Affordable Housing Master Plan (AHMP).
This month, the County released its annual report, Preserving our Past and Building for the Future. The report tracks the County's progress on over 60 indicators related to the AHMP. There are a number of "big picture" datapoints that are - and should be - the focus of this report: the number of units produced, rent and home price trends, homelessness counts, etc. However, there are a couple additional points should not be glossed over:
- The level of detail in monitoring and reporting by the County is commendable. Good data is critical for identifying needs moving forward and adjusting priorities and policies accordingly.
- Given that there is no "silver bullet" to the County's affordable housing crisis, the County is necessarily addressing issues beyond the creation of committed affordable units. In addition to accessory dwelling units and parking requirements, one initiative that deserves attention is the Arlington Landlord Partnership Risk Reduction Fund, which encourages private landlords to rent units to homeless individuals and families. Though in its early stages, such inducements could be critical to helping a greater number of vulnerable households achieve housing stability. Though not addressed in this report, this model could also be applied more generally (with a shallower level of assistance) to encourage more landlords in high-opportunity neighborhoods to accept Housing Choice Vouchers or other forms of rental assistance.
For more information on the AHMP and related initiatives, visit: https://housing.arlingtonva.us/affordable-housing-master-plan/