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March 18, 2021

Greens ask county board to increase housing (rental) grants and emergency housing assistance in fy 2022

Uncategorized — @ 12:15 pm

Arlington Greens support the county manager’s proposal to increase FY 2022 spending on housing grants to $12.7 million, and also the $17.5 million proposal for emergency Covid spending that includes emergency rental assistance for unpaid rents, food assistance and related help to residents who lost income or jobs during the pandemic.   

While the good news is that widespread vaccinations will make possible reopening, many tenants are facing unpaid back rents and need help in FY 2022 to avoid eviction.
We have reservations about the $8.9 million the manager proposes to spend for AHIF to fund the building of more subsidized apartments CAFs) next fiscal year. 

There is a glut of market rate apartments and subsidized units available for rent today in Arlington, and now is a bad time for any new units to enter the market, private or nonprofit. 

Commercial realty companies report that rents in Arlington for apartments have dropped from 8 to 15 percent in the past 12 months, depending on the neighborhood, and there are at least 15% of existing apartments are now vacant.  The county housing division this month listed about 100 CAFs available for rent, and thus even CAFs are empty, and the nonprofit providers having a hard time renting existing CAFs. 


The best way to provide housing assistance right now is a housing voucher or an emergency grant to pay back unpaid rents.  There are still thousands of renter households who maintained their jobs but still pay over 50 percent of their incomes for rent (generally tenant earning under 50% of the area median income).  The county should shift all of the new AHIF funds into housing grants or emergency back rent grants so that tenants can stay in their apartments and not have a heavy housing cost burden.

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