A Call to Support Affordable Housing as Amazon Comes to National Landing

(ARLINGTON, Va)—Amazon announced today that it has chosen Arlington County as one location for a new headquarters in the newly renamed "National Landing" neighborhood, which includes parts of Pentagon City, Crystal City, and Potomac Yard.

This is an exciting time for Arlington and our region.

It is also an opportunity for state and local leaders, as well as the people they represent, to redouble their efforts to support affordable housing.

Our region simply does not have enough housing to meet the demands of our current population. While Arlington has worked hard to add committed affordable units (where rents are guaranteed to remain affordable) to the mix, the availability of market-rate affordable housing has been declining dramatically for decades.

For example, in the year 2000, Arlington County had 20,000 privately-owned apartments that were affordable to households earning 60 percent of the area median income or less. By 2017, there were less than 2,500 of these units on the market as rent increases and redevelopment have both escalated.

These trends are echoed around the region but are particularly intense in attractive and sought-after areas such as Arlington.

At this pivotal time it is essential that we take bold action on at least two fronts:

1. Permitting sufficient housing supply—of a variety of housing types and price points and in a variety of locations—to keep up with growing employment base, and

2. Funding the subsidies and investments needed to create and preserve below-market rate committed affordable housing for those with the lowest incomes.

AHS is actively working with our partners to help Arlington and other communities in Northern Virginia develop and build support for the policies that need to be in place to make this happen. We are hopeful that Amazon will put its significant weight and resources behind these efforts as it begins to make Arlington its new home.

As we welcome Amazon to our community, we must also welcome changes that will move us toward a more affordable housing market so we can become what our county claims: “A diverse and inclusive world-class urban community with secure, attractive residential and commercial neighborhoods where people unite to form a caring, learning, participating, sustainable community in which each person is important.”

Questions and interview requests may be directed to Michelle Winters, Executive Director of The Alliance for Housing Solutions, at michelle@allianceforhousingsolutions.org. 

The Alliance for Housing Solutions is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to increase the supply of affordable housing in Arlington County and Northern Virginia through public education, policy development, advocacy and innovation.

AHS does not receive funding from Arlington County.

Photo by Jeremy Galliani on Unsplash