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Letter: Reinstate Dedicated Funds

— Reinstate Dedicated Funds

To the Editor:

The Alexandria Chapter of the NAACP has been paying close attention to the ongoing issue with City Council and the removal of the dedicated funding for affordable housing and the open space fund. In an effort to express our concerns we wrote this letter a few weeks ago and sent it to the Mayor and the members of City Council. We hope that the letter can be shared with your subscribing community. Thank you for your consideration.

Mayor Euille and Members of City Council:

We are writing in response to the decision of City Council to eliminate a dedicated funding stream for affordable housing and open-space funds from the City’s budget after fiscal year 2014. We take issue specifically with the failure of Council/City Management to adhere to the normal voting procedures designed to ensure transparency and the potential economic effects the decision will have on the City’s most vulnerable residents.

On May 14, I attended the Community Conversation on Aging where City residents and various other organizations dialogued on how best to address the needs of seniors living in the community. The resounding theme emanating from the public comments was regarding the need for more affordable housing. While we understand the need is greater than the resources, we believe removing the dedicated funding is a step in the wrong direction ….

… We urge you to reconsider your commitment to your constituents by reinstating the dedicated funding stream. The NAACP understands the position some councilmen take regarding having dedicated funding streams, but believe the process in which this decision was made lacked transparency with council colleagues and prevented city residents from being engaged in the process.

The mission of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons, and to eliminate race-based discrimination. We believe removing the dedicated funding stream for affordable housing will significantly impact minorities and low to moderate income families. As a social worker, I see daily the impact stable housing has on children and families. Children perform better academically, there is a reduction in the number of referrals for child abuse and neglect, and referrals to social services agencies for a myriad of other resources.

For these reasons we implore City Council to continue the city ordinance establishing the affordable housing set-aside beyond FY 2014.

LaDonna J. Sanders

Alexandria NAACP Branch President