April 1, 2020
This year marks the 52nd anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, landmark legislation that makes it unlawful to discriminate in housing transactions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or family status. Every year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and its fair housing partner organizations pursue enforcement actions, work to enhance the public’s awareness of their housing rights, and emphasize the importance of ending housing discrimination. Last year alone, nationally, HUD and its partner agencies received almost 8,000 complaints alleging discrimination based on one or more of the Fair Housing Act’s seven protected classes: race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. In March 2019, the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) adopted the county’s One Fairfax Policy, which provides a framework to advance equity in alignment with the county’s visions and priorities. The One Fairfax Policy defines equity as: “The commitment to promote fairness and justice in the formation of public policy that results in all residents – regardless of age, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, marital status, disability, socio-economic status or neighborhood of residence or other characteristics – having opportunity to fully participate in the region’s economic vitality, contribute to its readiness for the future, and connect to its assets and resources.” The adoption of this policy ensures that the FCRHA considers equity when making decisions about the development and delivery of housing policies, programs and services. The Fairfax County Office of Human Rights and Equity Programs (OHREP) enforces the County’s Human Rights Ordinance and Fair Housing Act. Through its role in enforcement and education and outreach activities, the agency works to prevent discrimination in the residential market and ensure fair and equitable access to housing opportunities for all people in Fairfax County. Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting Fairfax County’s Office of Human Rights and Equity Programs at 703-324-2953 (711 TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed at www.hud.gov/fairhousing.
March 24, 2020
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the Redevelopment and Housing Authority have authorized a $3 million Housing Blueprint loan to finance the development of 240 units of affordable senior housing in Reston. The project, known as the New Lake Anne House, will eventually replace the aging Lake Anne Fellowship House located on the adjacent site on a 1-for-1 basis. The Lake Anne Fellowship House was developed in the early 1970’s and has, for nearly 50 years, provided a quality living experience for very-low income older adults in the Reston area. The development of the New Lake Anne House will provide a more marketable, modern and accessible living opportunity for low-income seniors to age in place. The project will include a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units. All 240 units will be rent- and income-restricted to residents with incomes at or below 60 percent of AMI for at least 30 years. Each resident will pay no more than 30 percent of their income toward their housing costs, including rent and a utility allowance. The Utility allowance will include air conditioning, cooking, lighting and hot water. It is anticipated that the financing on the project will close later this year.
March 20, 2020
In the 1960s and 70s, Dorotha Morris was already strongly advocating for more affordable housing in Fairfax County. Now, 60 years later Glen’s grandson, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay, is making strides to address what’s a growing challenge. “When I go to work every day, I pass a sign that reminds me of my mission,” McKay said. “The sign says Morris Glen which is a senior retirement community that was named after my grandmother because of her advocacy for affordable housing.” Affordable housing is both a local and regional problem. In Fairfax County, there’s a need for more than 18,000 new housing units for low- to moderate-income families in the next 15 years. In the greater D.C. region, the shortfall is estimated at 75,000 housing units that will be needed just to keep pace with projected job growth during the 10 next years, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. “I tell people all the time that when it comes to affordable housing it’s all hands on deck, and that means no idea is a bad idea,” said McKay. “We the need the help of the private sector, nonprofit community, government and our residents.” Housing Hackathon Helps Find Solutions To find creative solutions, Fairfax County and the George Mason University School of Business held a policy hackathon on March 11, called the 2020 Housing Challenge. More than 100 policy and academic experts, nonprofit leaders, home builders, residents and students came together to brainstorm new solutions. 2020 Housing Challenge Presentation from Fairfax County