Affordable Housing for all Arlingtonians
Matt is dedicated to ensuring that Arlington remains a diverse and thriving community and to housing affordability for all Arlingtonians. This commitment led him to serve on the Housing Commission from 2014 to 2018. He was a member of Arlington’s 2014-2015 Affordable Housing Task Force.
The affordable housing challenges Arlington faces are, in part, a byproduct of it being such a great place to live. However, it is vital that the people who constitute the fabric of our community are not left behind as Arlington evolves over the months and years to come. And it is particularly critical that we prevent evictions during the COVID 19 and post-COVID year. We must help our neighbors most in need stay in their apartments, condos, and homes.
Matt also is committed to working to provide teachers, police officers, nurses, restaurant workers, construction workers, and firefighters affordable housing in Arlington. Middle-class families, millennials, and seniors seeking to age-in-place must be able to afford rent. Since 2000, affordable housing in Arlington has declined by two thirds, and many middle-class Arlingtonians have been priced out of their homes and neighborhoods due to increasing costs.
Matt’s commitment to ensuring affordable housing remains strong, and progress has been made. In 2015, the County Board adopted the Affordable Housing Master Plan to address Arlington’s housing challenges. Housing affordability remains essential to achieving the Arlington County Vision. Ensuring a diverse community of people from all backgrounds and income levels benefits Arlington by helping to attract young families, maintain neighborhood character, and reinforce efficient land use.
Additionally, housing affordability enhances Arlington’s market competitiveness by providing employers with a pool of efficient workers and a stable consumer base, and by allowing consumers to spend less of their income on housing. In 2016, Arlington achieved an important step in the fight against poverty by reaching functional zero Veteran’s homelessness.
Tools for Achieving Housing Affordability
Matt supports efforts to increase affordable rental and homeownership options. Housing Arlington is the County’s overall effort to address affordability, begun in 2019. Part of that effort includes a compendium of research reports released in 2020 that are a starting point for conversations regarding affordability.
The Missing Middle study compendium provides a starting point for critical work regarding missing middle housing types. Matt is committed to engaging in the work involved on the Missing Middle initiative, listening to community feedback through a robust public process. He shares the goals of the work while looking forward to the conversation.
• Funding the Affordable Housing Investment Fund, a revolving loan fund that generates more than $2 in additional funding for each dollar the Board invests
• Finding market-driven approaches to increase the availability of market affordable units (MARKs) in Arlington
• Ensuring that Housing Conservation Districts, policies that prevent loss of MARKs by offering financial and zoning incentives to property owners who guarantee to provide affordable units to residents earning up to 80% of Area Median Income (AMI), are implemented fairly
• Increasing zoning flexibility to facilitate Arlingtonians sharing homes with renters, caretakers, or adult family members
• Considering community land trusts to ensure retention of and addition to affordable housing
• Promoting the construction of affordable duplex developments and exploring conversion of office space into affordable units