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Letter: County Needs Housing Authority

— The recent article on the fate of a housing authority in Arlington indicates that County Board members believe the county's policy requiring apartment developers to set aside a modest number of units more than meets the needs of the community and obviates the need for more aggressive action.

Despite County Board Chairman Walter Tejada's professed commitment to support the construction of more affordable housing in Arlington, his refusal ā€” along with other board members ā€” to support the establishment of a housing authority shows that his support is just smoke. The Washington Post reported that more than 3,600 people applied to rent the 122 new units built in connection with the Arlington Mill Community Center. Said Tejada: "The demand for rentals is amazing." No wonder it's amazing: the county has permitted developers to tear down older, affordable apartments and replace them with far more expensive new ones.

Furthermore, the county's requirement that developers provide some small number of affordable units does nothing to chip away at the huge backlog of persons needing them. The only way Arlington will ever demonstrate its commitment to affordable housing is by supporting the establishment of a housing authority.

Diana Wahl

Arlington