• For more information on Green Party membership or to contact Green Party leadership, email info@greensofarlington.org Join the Arlington Greens in person on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023, at 7 PM in the community room of the Ballston Firehouse located at Wilson Blvd and George Mason Drive.

July 13, 2013

Arlington Housing Authority: Greens ask county government for action

Affordable Housing — @ 12:10 pm

Speech of John Reeder on behalf of the Arlington Greens at the Arlington County Board meeting of July 13, 2013

Good morning; I’m John Reeder, a longtime Arlington resident and here today to represent the Arlington Green Party.

We are pleased that County Board has agreed to consider placing the referendum to create a Housing Authority on the November ballot at your July 16 recessed meeting. The Arlington voter registrar certified that we met the over 2,800 voter signatures requirement.

Arlington voters on November 5 will have a chance to add one more tool, more financing, and more efficiency to our county’s housing assistance program that failed to stem the loss of affordable rental housing. If the county does not do something substantially different and better from its current program, virtually no one earning under $60,000 a year will be renting here in Arlington, except for those lucky few living in apartments run by nonprofit groups.

We ask that the county government this year to stay neutral on the referendum question itself, not engage in propaganda, and allow the voters to decide for themselves.

Five years ago, county manager Carlee provided a negatively biased explanation to voters about the housing authority, something that unfairly affected the vote. This statement falsely indicated, “A housing authority would only have access to the same tools and funding that the County currently uses.”

An authority can legally operate and own apartments; today, Arlington county government cannot do this. A housing authority could obtain HUD funds and bond guarantees not available today for our housing assistance program. The Fairfax County Housing Authority got $7 million last year from HUD, as well as special bond guarantees. These are new tools and new funds.

The 2008 statement also falsely indicated, “The County Board would still be the primary source of funding, which comes from local taxes.”

A housing authority gets most of its funds not from local taxpayers but from bond revenues, federal funds, and from commercial revenues from its operation of rental apartments. The Fairfax Housing Authority gets 90 percent of its revenues from non-county sources, and only around 10 percent from local Fairfax tax revenues.