More very low-income Arlingtonians will be eligible for assistance to secure safe, decent, affordable housing in the private market under a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant accepted today by the County Board.
The nearly $464,000 HUD Housing Choice Mainstream Voucher Grant is a specialized voucher program that will help non-elderly persons with disabilities who are transitioning out of institutional settings, at risk of institutionalization, homeless, or at risk of being homeless, rent housing in Arlington. The County’s Department of Human Services expects 40 Arlington residents to will be housed through the grant.
“This grant helps address a significant need in our community and will be a life-changing resource for some of our most vulnerable neighbors,” County Board Chair Katie Cristol said.
The Board voted unanimously to accept the HUD grant. To read the staff report, visit the County website. Scroll to Item No. 19 on the agenda for the Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018 Regular County Board Meeting.
Arlington will administer the vouchers through the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program operated by the County’s Department of Human Services (DHS). The program, which supports low-income families, people with disabilities, and older adults, issued $17.33 million in Housing Choice Vouchers to more than 1,500 Arlington households in fiscal year 2018. The average wait for a voucher currently is about five years
The housing subsidy is paid directly to the landlord by DHS. The family or individual then pays the difference between the actual rent and the subsidy. Eligibility is determined by gross income and family size. Family income may not exceed 50 percent of the median income for the County or metropolitan area in which the family chooses to live.
The grant accepted by the County Board today is part of a larger national program providing funding to housing authorities across the country to help house more than 12,000 people. DHS expects to allocate its vouchers in early 2019.
“This is a multi-year program, meaning Arlington will be eligible for this additional funding annually, that allows us to help households now on our HCV wait list; take active referrals; support people now in our Permanent Supportive Housing Program, and work with community members who are chronically homeless. Importantly, the eligible household member does not need to be the head of household, which means the vouchers could help families caring for their adult children with disabilities,” DHS Housing Bureau Chief Nicole Harmon said.
About affordable housing in Arlington
Arlington’s 2015 Affordable Housing Master Plan noted that it has “become increasingly difficult for the County to retain a sufficient supply of housing affordable to households with low and moderate incomes.” According to the plan, by 2013, less than nine percent of the County’s housing supply was affordable to these households.
The County has invested heavily in creating thousands of Committed Affordable Housing Units, and has taken other steps to preserve affordable housing in Arlington. The County also pursues aggressive policies to end and prevent homelessness in Arlington.