We support ZFH

We support ZFH

To the editor: 

We, diverse organizations in Alexandria representing faith communities, young 

Alexandrians hoping for a future, tenants, immigrants and neighbors come together to state our support for the “Zoning for Housing/Housing for All” initiatives, and pairing passage with increased commitment to tenant protections and funding for existing approved affordable housing projects. We are looking to Alexandria to act boldly for housing justice on November 28. 

The city of Alexandria faces a serious housing crisis, particularly for people who cannot afford to buy or rent a home here. Families, disproportionately families of color, struggle to cover rent or mortgages. Many cannot keep up with rising housing costs and are forced to relocate, either through eviction or “voluntary” displacement when they can no longer afford a home in their own community. As residents are pushed to the suburban and then exurban fringe, they face marathon commutes, congesting our highways and arterials, pouring increased greenhouse gas emissions, and harmful air pollution in Alexandria. 

We call on the city to pass the Zoning for Housing/Housing for All initiatives and ask the city to be even bolder in meeting the needs of Alexandria’s most economically vulnerable populations – those making 30% to 50% of the exorbitant Area Median Income. The modest recommendations of ZFH are good because they can help to slow the tide of rising housing costs and the displacement those costs cause. We ask the City Council to pair the ZFH proposals with a commitment to fund all projects that have already gained approval in the city’s existing affordable housing pipeline. 

We celebrate the city’s recent efforts to tell the truth about our city’s history of participating in racially and economically discriminatory zoning practices. Many of us have experienced the loss of community as long-term parishioners of our congregations are priced out, as our historic Black churches become commuter churches rather than neighborhood parishes. Our values of justice and compassion call us to support this effort to establish new zoning patterns consistent with diverse, whole communities. 

The ZFH proposals equip the city with new tools to encourage committed affordable housing, open all neighborhoods to more housing options, promote reliance on public transit and reduce environmentally harmful sprawl and increase the supply of housing for everyone who wants to live and work in Alexandria. The next step is to pair passing zoning reforms with increased tenant protections and funding for deeply affordable housing to make homes for the many people who make less than $50,000 and are essential to the health and the success of our city. It’s time to act to be the welcoming community we say we want to be! 

-Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement; YIMBYs of Northern Virginia; African Communities Together; Hopkins House; Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance; NAMI Northern Virginia; Concerned Citizens Network of Alexandria; The Spitfire Club; Grassroots Alexandria; Third Street Baptist Church; Beverly Hills Community United Methodist Church; St. Joseph’s Catholic Church; Episcopal Church of the Resurrection; Fairlington Presbyterian Church; Grace Episcopal Church Alexandria; Emmanuel Episcopal Church