2020 Housing Challenge Seeks Innovative Policy Solutions to Increase Affordable Housing

2020 Housing Challenge

Fairfax County is at a crossroads when it comes to affordable housing — particularly for low- or moderate-income households.

The number of people spending more than 30% of their monthly income on housing is growing: more than 44% of renters and about 23% of homeowners. Rents are also rising at a faster pace than incomes.

Change in Housing Costs Between 2010 and 2015.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Surveys, 2010 and 2015; MRIS

Be Part of the Solution

To find creative affordable housing solutions, Fairfax County and the George Mason University School of Business are holding a policy hackathon on Wednesday, March 11, called the 2020 Housing Challenge.

We’re seeking new ideas from residents, students, housing advocates, industry professionals and policy experts, and this event aims to come up with innovative policies to:

  • Enhance public awareness and support for affordable housing.
  • Engage employers and non-traditional partners to provide affordable housing.
  • Facilitate faith communities to participate in the affordable housing solution.

Teams will be asked to develop and present solutions to one of these three challenges, and a panel of judges will evaluate and award cash prizes to the top teams.

This event builds on the Housing Hackathon held last January, and the county plans to consider all proposed solutions from this year’s challenge event to advance its affordable housing efforts.

2019 Housing Hackathon participants.

“The Board of Supervisors recognizes and is committed to affordable housing as one of the county’s most critical priorities in the years ahead. Ensuring that price-appropriate homes are available for all who desire to live and work in our community will take no small measure of creativity, out-of-the-box thinking and community engagement. The 2020 Housing Challenge is a significant effort in making that connection in order to move us forward together.”

Fairfax County Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay

What the County Is Doing

Last year, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted its Communitywide Housing Strategic Plan and the goal of producing a minimum of 5,000 new affordable homes within the next 15 years (“5k by 15”) — as a start; however, when it comes to meeting and surpassing that goal, success will be a communitywide achievement.

Why Affordable Housing Matters

The lack of affordable housing impacts everyone. What’s the result?

  • It makes it more difficult to attract and keep the workers that keep our community and economy vibrant and growing, ranging from nurses to teachers to service/sales workers and public safety employees.
  • Our roads become more congested with commuters driving to Fairfax County from more affordable places across the region and beyond.
  • Families face the reality of going without everyday essentials like food, clothing and medical care in order to pay their rent.
  • Residents go deeper into debt and see an expanding chasm between their present circumstance and self-sufficiency.
Housing affordability inforgraphic.

More Information

To learn more about the 2020 Housing Challenge, contact Linda Hoffman with the Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development or Eric Maribojoc with the George Mason University School of Business Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship.

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