Access to affordable housing is a critical factor in achieving successful outcomes in nearly every area of our lives – from health and well-being to financial self-sufficiency. In adopting their FY 2022 budget mark-up package, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors reaffirmed their commitment to restoring planned investments which have been delayed due to the impacts of and the ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One of this Board’s highest priorities is to preserve and expand the availability of affordable housing in Fairfax County,” said Board Chairman Jeff McKay in his budgetary motion. “[We remain] committed to the dedication of an additional penny on the Real Estate Tax Rate as initially proposed as part of the FY 2021 budget.”
In the mark-up package, the Board directed County Executive Bryan Hill to “set aside the equivalent of at least one-half cent on the Real Estate Tax rate (in addition to the current half-penny) for the next two fiscal years to address our preservation and development goals for affordable housing.” In addition, the Board directed County staff to return in the Fall of 2021 with plans to address the recommendations of the Affordable Housing Preservation Task Force when it comes to ensuring “No Net Loss” of the County’s existing portfolio of affordable housing.
In a recent letter, the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority expressed it’s appreciation for the Board’s continued support of affordable housing – even despite the budgetary challenges the County has faced.
“To say that this Board’s support has reinvigorated the affordable residential housing development culture in Fairfax County is putting it mildly,” said FCRHA Chairman Melissa McKenna. “Despite the challenges, we have successfully worked together to find new and alternative means of working toward our minimum goal of producing 5,000 units of affordable housing by 2034 and advancing our work to preserve Fairfax County’s existing stock of affordable properties.”
Some of those recent achievements have included:
The steady growth of the county’s active pipeline of affordable housing development projects to more than 1,800 units in communities throughout Fairfax County.
The continued investment of local dollars and sale of revenue bonds to assist in financing new development and preservation of existing affordable housing.
The completion of the update to the County’s Workforce Dwelling Unit Policy to enhance the provision of affordable homes through that program to those households who need them the most.
The designation of additional public land for the construction of affordable housing.
The completion of a comprehensive review of preservation strategies and adopted recommendations from an interdisciplinary Affordable Housing Preservation Task Force to guide the County’s efforts in achieving the Board’s admonition of “No Net Loss” of affordable housing
“These have been challenging years, but we have persevered and continued to make progress while looking forward with anticipation to the restoration of planned investments to advance this work even further,” added Chairman McKenna. “These investments and resources are critical contributing factors in achieving our expected success in meeting the need for price-appropriate housing across the county.”
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors are preparing to take up the formal adoption of the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget at their May 4 meeting.