Local leaders and community members gather for the grand opening of affordable housing residences. Some of those present discuss the importance of this County project.
Paula Sampson, of Clifton, Former Director Fairfax County Department of Housing, enjoys seeing this project come to fruition after all the community’s hard work.
“This project is really addressing [housing needs] in a couple different ways: first of all the work force housing. So the people who are looking here have jobs, but they just don’t make enough money to be able to afford the high cost of rent. So, number one, that’s really how it happened. And, number two, it’s located on the campus of the government center. It is really close to the Fairfax County Employees Clerk, folks who work in Fairfax Corner, so it’s really serving the county workforce. Already about 10 percent of the residents are county employees. I think it shows such great partnership. And it’s such a great model for others to follow for us to do more work like this, and for other communities as well [to follow]. Because we brought in the private sector, the government’s involved as well- they have a big role, the government put and contributed the land. So, it’s really an excellent partnership.”
Dawne Sherman, Mental Health Counselor, Fairfax, is a newly welcome resident at the Government Center and is grateful to the Fairfax County community who helped set up the residency project that got her here.
“There are a lot of people working for the county but not just for the county; who are serving our country and yet not able to afford to either live here or live close to where they work, and I’m one of those people. I feel extraordinarily blessed for the opportunity to live somewhere that is affordable, absolutely gorgeous and surrounded by other residents who also were in need — and now we have this community together. Personally, why affordable housing projects like this are so impactful is because the housing market is crazy. I was so disappointed with the lack of possible options in housing. I really didn’t want to live in somebody’s glorified basement and I really didn’t want to share a space with strangers, and I felt kind of sad when I still, as a grown woman, was living with my parents because that was all I could afford. So, I’m just really grateful that people valued this part of our workforce enough to make something so beautiful happen. It makes my life better everyday.”
Rachel Reese, leasing consultant for Paradigm Management, Fairfax, assists in leasing units to those eligible.
“So I work in the leasing office. I think the program is important because it gives people that work in this area the opportunity to live here. Most people they commute so far to come here because they can’t afford to live so I think we’re bringing something helpful to the community by helping the workforce. I work for Paradigm Management, which is the company that manages the building, so we’ve done all of the leasing up to this point — which we’re almost done fitting everyone in. We have 270 apartments and we have 17 left, and we’re on track to be at 100 percent in June.”
Detashish Chakravavty, Real Estate Finance Officer, Fairfax, works in the real estate business and stopped by the grand opening to see the fully completed project.
“I work for the county, I do Real Estate finance for affordable housing projects, so this is a field I work in. So, I think [this project] would be a benefit to the county because Fairfax is pretty expensive and this will give housing to people who don’t have high incomes. It’s good to have more housing options to those with low to moderate incomes because at this point there just aren’t enough units available to people at those levels. So in that sense it’s good to have these options available.”