Ensuring Housing Opportunities in Fairfax

The Coalition for Smarter Growth prioritizes the production and preservation of affordable housing, especially with access to transportation choices, jobs and services, as one critical element of truly interconnected, sustainable communities.

Read the full report to learn why Fairfax County should use its One Penny Fund to help support affordable housing for families earning less than half the area median income.

Who should benefit from local housing resources?

Ensuring Housing Opportunities in Fairfax, authored in consultation with the Coalition for Smarter Growth, used 2005 – 2007 local data on housing costs and income to assess who faces the greatest need for affordable housing in Fairfax County. The analysis was undertaken following criticism by local housing advocates, who decried that the county’s ‘One Penny’ local housing trust fund was used to help finance preservation of units allocated to households making as much as $100,000 per year.

Greatest need for low-income working families

This study analyzed One Penny data from Fairfax County on the number of units produced, and for what income levels, since its inception. The data showed that, while many households face challenges in the affluent county’ s housing market, families making roughly minimum wage are most severely shut out of finding affordable housing close to the communities they serve. The One Penny fund had not helped preserve deeply affordable units in proportion to the depth of need at lower incomes.

This report helps make the case that Fairfax County should use a substantial portion of its One Penny Fund to help support creation of committed affordable housing for those earning no more than 50% of the area median income (AMI), roughly $47,000 for a family of four at the time the study was published.

Coalition Advocacy

The Coalition for Smarter Growth has advocated for greater local resources to be committed to this particularly vulnerable segment of the workforce, through sources such as the One Penny Fund. More recent Fairfax policy initiatives have targeted families earning up to twice as much annual income; while a variety of programs is desired to help address affordable housing needs at higher income levels, the One Penny Fund is one of the few, and most effective, at leveraging resources for those making minimum wage.

Download the full report to learn more.