County Manager Presents Plan for New Umbrella Initiative Focused on H

Published on April 25, 2019

  • Housing Arlington initiative to focus on several interconnected policy, financing and planning solutions that improve and expand affordability

  • Programs to tackle affordable housing and "missing middle" housing

The County Manager today presented Housing Arlington, a new umbrella initiative that tackles complex housing affordability issues through multiple interconnected programs, to the County Board. Housing Arlington seeks to combine tools and solutions to generate holistic and adaptable solutions for the issues of both affordable housing and a shortage of affordable housing options for the middle class (dubbed the "missing middle").

"Housing Arlington is an innovative and cross-disciplinary approach to Arlington's housing challenges," said County Board Chair Christian Dorsey. "We know residents across generations are facing pressures from multiple angles, and this interconnected solution allows our community to be responsive and efficient. The challenges don't exist in silos and their solutions don't either."

Building on previous community conversations, including the Big Idea Roundtables held last year, Housing Arlington is a multi-year initiative, coordinated by the Housing Division in the Community Planning, Housing and Development Department (CPHD).  As housing is connected to many other community services, the initiative will also be supported by other County Departments such as Environmental Services, Human Services and Management and Finance. Individual initiatives under the Housing Arlington umbrella may be led by other divisions or departments.

Part of what makes this initiative different will be how it initiates engagement with the full range of stakeholders needed to be successful at increasing housing affordability. The private sector, both non- and for-profits will be involved, as will lenders, builders, professional associations, the philanthropic community and research organizations. The County will also engage with its neighboring jurisdictions, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and State and national organizations such as the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) and Enterprise Community Partners to assist the initiatives.

As the Board's advisory commission on County housing policy, the Housing Commission will provide general guidance as staff develops specific Housing Arlington strategies.

Vision and Goals

The vision for Housing Arlington is to create a more inclusive housing community that takes care of our lowest-income residents while providing ample opportunity for our middle-class residents and others, grounded in equity, opportunity, stability and adaptability. The initiative focuses on the following guiding concepts, with integration between specific issues, challenges, and solutions:

  • Affordable Housing: How do we create housing opportunities for our low-income population, using loans, grants, home buying assistance and more?

  • Missing Middle Housing: How do we create a range of moderately-priced homes for households with incomes too high for subsidies but too low for many market-rate homes?

  • Multi-Level Partnerships: How do we better use local, regional, state, and federal; public, private and non-profit partnerships to innovate in housing policy and practices to enable Arlington to achieve its housing affordability goals and objectives?

The Housing Arlington framework will focus on six interconnected elements:

  • Land Use Tools

  • Financial Tools

  • Institutional Partnerships

  • County Employee Housing

  • Condominium Initiative

  • Affordable Housing Master Plan Update

Each element, some of which are currently underway, will have its own timeline, work program, and community engagement activities. Details are available at

Kick-Off Event

Housing Arlington's public engagement will kick off with a community event the evening of Wednesday, May 29, from 6-9 p.m. at Wakefield High School. The public can sign up for email updates here: