The Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) is seeking public comment on its HUD-required FY 2019 Annual Agency Plan, before adopting the document next month.
The plan includes major planning initiatives, as well as activities and progress in a variety of areas and the use of resources during FY 2018.
The draft reaffirms ARHA’s intention to modernize or redevelop 492 housing units — over 40 percent of its total inventory — on seven properties. These properties include Ramsey Homes (already underway); the Ladrey high-rise (housing for seniors and persons with disabilities); Andrew Adkins; Samuel Madden Homes; Hopkins-Tancil Courts; ARHA’s old administration building; and Cameron Valley. All but the last are located in Old Town.
Additionally, ARHA would dispose of 43 units located within two larger condo communities — Park Place and Saxony Square. In each case, “the high condominium fees have made this project financially unfeasible.” ARHA will instead “accommodate the current occupants with vouchers,” which tenants can use to help pay for qualifying private rentals.
Specifics remain forthcoming. Last month, in conjunction with terminating underway plans to redevelop Adkins with CRC, a private developer, ARHA announced that it would reevaluate its real estate portfolio and redevelopment sequencing.
The draft identifies a total of $40.7 million available during ARHA’s FY 2018. Most comes from the federal government, including $4.5 million in operating funds for public housing and $23.7 million for “Section 8” vouchers. Adjusting for inflation, the former figure represents a 13 percent increase over the amount reported in last year’s Annual Agency Plan, but a 23 percent decrease compared to FY 2012. The latter figure is flat compared to last year and a 3 percent increase over FY 2012.
ARHA’s year-on-year increase in operating funds may not amount to much of a windfall, given the larger context of federal cuts to public housing. Between 2000 and 2016, adjusting for inflation, “funding for repairs [nationwide] has fallen 53 percent,” from about $4 billion to under $2 billion, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a research organization. Over that period “funding for operation has met need only three times.”
Find ARHA’s draft plan at www.arha.us/news. Public hearings will take place from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 27 at Ladrey (300 Wythe St.) and on Wednesday, Aug. 29 at ARHA’s administration building (401 Wythe St.). Submit written comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday, Sept. 6. Residents can comment in person at the Sept. 24 ARHA Board of Commissioners meeting, before the board takes official action.