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James Hoben, Co-chair of Housing Action (user 42) - Comments by Date

I commented (sent in comment) that Goals 1 Economic Development and Goal 7 Affordable Housing and Diverse Community are inextricably linked as two sides of a coin. With that said, Goal 7 is vital to Alexandria.

There are several specifics that must be added to the Goal 7 Objectives:

Objective 1:
A. The City pledges to monitor the availability of affordable housing in Alexandria by both cost and type (tenure and size) and the population need for affordable housing.
B. The City shall set five (5) year goals for the preservation and addition of affordable housing and report annually on the goal achievement.
C. The City shall identify a dedicated source of revenue i.e. a meals tax, a sewer and water tax, personal property fee or a recordation fee, etc that will provide an adequate and sustained source of funds to achieve the City's affordable housing goals.

Objective 3. Supportive services shall emphasize those that will contribute to greater individual and family self-sufficiency.

James Hoben, Co-chair of Housing Action (42) | User | December 3, 2009 - 9:25 AM | Strategic Planning Process: Goal 7

Goal 7. I'm sorry that I cannot attend tonight's meeting on Goal 7.

Before making my comment on affordable housing I'd like to observe that Goal 1 and 7 are closely interdependent. With a failed regional road system, increasingly Alexandria government and businesses will need affordable housing for its key workers. Lacking such housing hurts our economy and adds radically to people driving long distances, degrading our environment and using precious land for parking.

Although Alexandria has experienced minor drops in home purchase and apartment rental costs the current costs of housing for our low and moderate income households remain far in excess of income for persons needed for our lower and moderately paid private and public employment. It is imperative that the City establish an aggressive and adequately funded affordable housing preservation program to stem the continuing losses of currently affordable housing. Saving existing affordable housing now will be a far more efficient/economical strategy for the city that trying to create new housing at today's high construction and land costs. Our people and businesses must have an adequate supply of affordable housing. To fund an effective preservation program, the City should seek a continuous source of funding such as dedicated revenue source such as one based upon real estate transfers or a small charge added to sewer, water or trash services.

Finally, it is imperative that the City create a modest supply of extremely affordable housing for our homeless and working poor. To do so the City should allow single room occupancy (SRO) units and accessory dwellings in single family homes. Both forms of housing provide needed shelter at the very lowest costs per unit in today's housing markets.

James Hoben, Co-chair of Housing Action (42) | User | October 28, 2009 - 3:40 PM | City of Alexandria Strategic Planning