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City Views

City Views presents commentary from staff on the latest projects, initiatives, and successes.

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Jan 24

2016 Housing Report Shows Progress, but More Needs to Be Done

Posted on January 24, 2017 at 2:38 PM by Susan Finarelli

By Paul H. Stanford, Department of Housing and Human Services

In 2016, the City's rental housing stock increased by over 500 units due to the completion of West Broad Residences and Lincoln at Tinner Hill. As indicated in our 2016 Affordable Housing Report, families who earn up to 60% of Area Median Income (AMI) of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are unable to afford to rent at either property – unless they live in one of the Affordable Dwelling Unit (ADUs) as is the case in nearly all apartments in the City. Only 375 out of 2,244 apartment units in the City are affordable to families who earn up to 60% of AMI.

The Increase and Loss of Affordable Dwelling Units (ADUs)
In the last two years, 32 additional units were added to the City's ADU rental program due to the completion of West Broad Residences and Lincoln at Tinner Hill. There are now 53 rental ADUs in four properties throughout the City. Once the Mason Row development is completed in 2019 (expected), 23 additional rental ADUs will be added.

Property Name # of ADUs Control Period (years) End Date
Pearson Square
(401 S. Maple Ave.)
15 20 2027
(450 N. Washington St.)
7 20 2033
West Broad Residences
(301 W. Broad St.)
18 20 2035
Lincoln at Tinner Hill
(455 S. Maple Ave.)
14 20 2035

There are 25 homeownership ADUs in six different communities in the City. Three ownership ADUs will convert to market rate within the next two years due to expiring control periods.

Actions Helping the Homeless
The City continues to lease a four-unit apartment building to Homestretch, a local non-profit that provides transitional housing and services to formerly homeless families and victims of domestic violence. The Friends of Falls Church Winter Shelter runs a 12-bed hypothermia shelter from November 15 through March 30. Through the Community Services Fund, the City provided grants to the Shelter House and Homestretch non-profits for rental assistance to six formerly homeless families.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-Funded Programs in the City of Falls Church
Using funds from the HUD federal programs, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and the Home Investment Partnership Grant (HOME), the City was able to partner with the Falls Church Housing Corporation to install a generator at the Winter Hill Apartments. This will allow for their community room to be used as a heating and cooling center for Winter Hill’s 83 residents as well as residents in the surrounding community.

HOME and local grant funds also paid for eight formally homeless households to receive rental assistance.

There are properties in the City that accept HUD's Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) rental subsidies. Currently, there are 111 households using HCVs in the City. This represents a decrease of two participants since 2012.

Helping Seniors
Through an agreement between the City and the Sunrise of Falls Church assisted living, 18 subsidized beds are available for low to moderate income City residents or their family members aged 62 or older.

The Kensington of Falls Church assisted living facility has agreed to provide an annual credit of $93,600 to subsidize basic fees, care costs, and other services for low to moderate income residents. It is expected to open in early 2017.

Use of Local Funds for Housing
The City Committed Affordable Unit (CCAU) program was created in 2016 to serve ADU applicants earning between 35% and 49% AMI. Using City funds, one ADU was subsidized to a family within this income range.

Next Actions to Increase Affordable Housing
Increasing housing affordable options for families who earn up to 60% of AMI is needed. The 2016 Affordable Housing Report outlines several possible actions to increase options, which also will be highlighted in the housing section of the City's Comprehensive Plan once it's adopted in 2017.