I grew up with mice and roaches. Living in an affordable housing apartment in southeast D.C., my mother, sister and I also battled leaks, sporadic heat and air conditioning, outdated appliances, peeling bathtubs and floors, and an empty playground. I never saw a maintenance man in our apartment. My mother painted our walls every two years and called in my uncles to help with the maintenance problems.
When I was hired as the executive director of Community Lodgings nearly four years ago, I vowed that our Community Lodgings families would never grow up in that kind of housing. And as of Sept. 18, that vow became real for seven low-income families, thanks to HomeAid Northern Virginia, the City of Alexandria, the Virginia Housing Development Authority, BB&T and the dozens of builders and other partners who worked together to completely renovate seven of our affordable housing properties at 607 Notabene Drive.
This collaboration meant that the interiors of these units were upgraded and styled, offering an attractive and inviting home to our tenants. They look like their much more expensive counterparts in Del Ray and Old Town, and our families are proud to live there.
I believe that by continuing these collaborations and partnerships, we can serve two goals — provide affordable housing for our hard-working, tax-paying, low-income citizens, and ensure the homes are attractive, upgraded and properly functioning.
All of us who work to provide affordable housing want our tenants to feel safe and supported in the homes we offer them, and I am profoundly grateful to the City of Alexandria for the role they played to make our Notabene renovation possible. I urge them to continue and promote these collaborations so all 14,000 households in Alexandria who are eligible for affordable housing yet unable to obtain it will soon have a safe place they can call home.