My View / Hon. Mayor Bill Euille – In Response: The Citys Commitment to Affordable Housing

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Your October 23 editorial, Our ViewHistory Repeats Itself, referred to the Chatham Square project and the recently approved Braddock East Master Plan in ways that did not recognize Alexandrias long-standing commitments to public housing and our approach to public housing redevelopment. 

First and foremost, the editorial did not discuss Alexandrias one-for-one replacement policy for public housing.  At Chatham Square, the former Samuel Madden (Downtown) public housing development, 52 of the original public housing units were replaced on site, and all 48 of the remaining units were replaced with newly constructed units on three other sites throughout the city. Similarly, the Braddock East Master Plan mentioned in your editorial also calls for one-for-one replacement as the public housing in that area is redeveloped.  The James Bland redevelopment plan, which was approved along with the Braddock East Plan but not mentioned in your editorial, calls for the on-site replacement of most of the existing James Bland and James Bland addition units 134 out of 194 and for the relocation of the remaining 60 units to other sites: 44 to Glebe Park, and 16 to a location still to be determined.  This one-for-one replacement is in accordance with City Councils visionary policy originally adopted 36 years ago.

In addition, the editorial did not recognize the benefits afforded by the approach taken by the city and the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority with Chatham Square, Braddock East, and the Quaker Hill (the former Cameron Valley public housing complex) communities.  Current national policy, as evidenced by one of the stated key elements of HUDs very successful HOPE VI program for the redevelopment of public housing, focuses on the lessening concentrations of poverty by placing public housing in nonpoverty neighborhoods and promoting mixed-income communities.  As noted in the Braddock Metro Neighborhood Plan, mixed-income housing produces physical, economic, and social benefits and is now deemedon an international levelto be rational public policy and effective social and urban planning, making better communities for everyone.  Preserving public housing through the creation of reinvigorated, mixed-income communities has worked for the city in the past, and is the model the city plans to use in the future.

Bill Euille
Mayor, City of Alexandria

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