New Partnership to Provide Affordable Housing

New Partnership to Provide Affordable Housing

Conceptual early design of new housing project

Conceptual early design of new housing project

Melwood and Wesley Housing have partnered to convert a current Arlington Melwood property into an affordable and inclusive housing project combined with programs and services for people with disabilities. This project is located at 750 23rd Street S in Arlington. 

The new project will create 100+ units of affordable housing with up to 30 units designed and designated with a priority preference for people with disabilities. The affordable housing will go to households averaging 60 percent of the area median income (AMI) of $72,360 for a household of two with some set aside for families with very low incomes of 30 percent of AMI.

Melwood is a leading national employer and preferred provider for people with disabilities offering job placement, job training, life skills for independence and support services to more than 3,000 people in DC, Maryland and Virginia. 

“The collaboration with Wesley Housing has the power to transform the lives of people with disabilities and support Arlington’s continued leadership in building an inclusive community,” said Larysa Kautz, President and CEO of Melwood.

Jewelyn Cosgrove, Vice President of Government and Public Relations at Melwood gave an example of the positive impacts. “Emma Budway comes to mind when sharing positive stories of impact that Melwood has made in other housing efforts. She is a non-speaking autistic woman who was able to separate herself from her legal guardian for the first time thanks to Melwood and Our Stomping Ground's partnership fostering a similar community. She moved into her own apartment with a roommate of her choice, giving her a kind of autonomy and independence that she had never known before, and allowing her to make personal connections with a circle of friends and support throughout the pandemic.”

Wesley Housing is a nonprofit developer in Northern Virginia and DC that has worked to provide affordable rental housing for individuals and families for nearly 50 years, acquiring over 1,900 rental units to provide quality housing for thousands of at-risk individuals and families each year. This partnership furthers their shared mission of ensuring equitable access for people to live, work and thrive in their communities.

The Arlington Chamber of Commerce expressed their strong support in a letter Nov. 14 to the Arlington Long Range Planning Committee. “Arlington and Northern Virginia at large are facing a shortage of affordable housing for our residents. Finding an affordable place to live independently in the Northern Virginia region is already difficult, and the barriers are greater for people with disabilities. This project would help alleviate the shortage of affordable housing, and further the goal of the Livability 22202 Action Plan providing ‘a diversity of housing types, from single family homes to townhouses, condominiums and apartments.”

Currently Melwood operates professional and personal development programs out of the Arlington location including quality day care habilitation and their abillT program which trains people with disabilities for careers in tech and tech-adjacent jobs. The new development is in the early stages as they work through land use issues and hope to seek tax credit financing in 2025 and to break ground shortly thereafter.