To the editor:
Concerning the column by Bill Rossello in the June 9 Alexandria Times, “Making Alexandria less affordable for all:” I am dismayed that the very real affordable housing crisis, which damages the health and well-being of low-income Alexandrian families, is being conflated with the perennial issue of taxes and fees paid by homeowners.
As an Alexandrian who personally knows people that struggle to pay high rents for sub- standard housing, I am aware that the local housing market no longer provides safe affordable housing for working-class Alexandrians. I personally do not wish to live in a community that excludes, and do not want to raise my children in such a community.
Tours of housing conducted by Tenants and Workers United, and attended by Grassroots Alexandria, suggest that market-rate housing for working class Alexandrians is often substandard. By contrast, designated affordable housing is safe, healthy and very much needed for Alexandria families. By working class, I refer to those making 30% to 40% of the area median income. According to the nonprofit Alexandria Housing Development Corporation, it is impossible to provide such housing, even on a non-profit basis, without subsidies.
As co-chair of Grassroots Alexandria, I favor an “all of the above” approach to affordable housing. Every proposed solution – dedicated funding, granny flats, bonus density – is a small step that affects only a few of us. To keep the economic and cultural diversity that we all value so much, we must all pull together and do our part. As a homeowner, I would be proud to pay more in taxes if I knew that the additional funds would directly benefit those less fortunate than myself.
-Kevin Brady, Alexandria