- Rent assistance for existing tenants in Committed Affordable (CAF) projects
- Helps prevent displacement in CAF projects
- Estimated $6.7 million in AHIF funding needed over 10 years
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Arlington County Board today adopted a Tenant Assistance Fund (TAF) Policy to help tenants living in affordable housing units that are to be renovated or redeveloped stay in those units, if the new affordable rents are higher than what they were previously paying.
The policy takes effect immediately.
“As property values continue to rise across our County, Arlington is committed to finding ways to help prevent low-to-moderate-income residents from being displaced,” said Arlington County Board Chairman J. Walter Tejada. “This important policy will apply to every affordable housing development where the County is providing financing to buy, renovate or redevelop property. We believe this policy, which is consistent with our values of a diverse and inclusive community in which is person is important, will help keep neighborhoods intact.”
The Board voted 5 to 0 to codify an ad hoc practice that has been used in Arlington since the mid-1990s. The new Countywide policy will help keep low-to-moderate income tenants from being displaced when the County helps finance the creation of Committed Affordable Units (CAFs). CAFs are contractually obligated to remain affordable for decades.
New policy reduces residential displacement
The County has found over the years that monthly rents for newly-renovated or newly-built CAFs are sometimes higher than what existing tenants had long been paying.
Under the new policy, a Tenant Assistance Fund will be created for any CAF acquisition, renovation, redevelopment or construction project whenever the existing tenants have incomes below 60 percent of the Area Media Income and would spend more than 35 percent of their income toward the new CAF rents. The assistance funds will:
- Pay rent assistance directly to the owner of a property to make up the gap between 35 percent of tenant income and the rent amount.
- Assist households at or under 60 percent of Area Media Income ($64,380 for a family of four)
- Assist only “vested” households, i.e. those leasing units at the time when the County approves the Affordable Housing Investment Fund loan, Site Plan, Use Permit, or whatever other means is used to establish or maintain CAFs.
- Last for either three years or the duration of renovation/construction plus 12 months, whichever is longer. Tenant Assistance Funds may be renewed for another 12 months if there are extraordinary or extenuating circumstances.
Staff estimates that the Tenant Assistance Funds may require $6.7 million from AHIF for projects initiated over the next 10 years. This assumes one project per year will require an assistance fund.
The policy will be reviewed after three years. The County Board asked that the Affordable Housing Study look at the issue of tenant assistance for non-CAF by-right projects. For more information on this policy, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item #22 on the Agenda for the December 14, 2013 Regular County Board Meeting to read the staff report.
A joint sub-committee of the Housing Commission and the Tenant-Landlord Commission was established to review and guide the development of this Policy. Further citizen review included presentations to the Tenant-Landlord and Housing commissions and to advocacy groups. The Housing and Tenant/Landlord Commissions both recommended that the Board accept the policy.
Learn more about the County's affordable housing efforts.