Amazon loan helps secure affordable housing in Arlandria


The units will be reserved for residents earning 60% of the region’s median income; Most only earn 40%.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A huge investment from Amazon will mean more affordable housing will be built in a development in Alexandria.

The neighborhood of Arlandria – a mostly immigrant community next to Del Ray – receives nearly 200 affordable housing units. This follows significant investments to preserve and build more affordable housing in the community most at risk of gentrification when Amazon’s new headquarters move to Crystal City.

But will the rent be low enough that current residents can afford to stay? Let’s check.


Will the rent be low enough to keep people in their homes?


To respond:

According to an online press release from the Alexandria Housing Development Corporation, a $51.4 million low-interest loan from the Amazon Housing Equity Fund helped the nonprofit purchase the Park Vue apartments. in Arlandria. AHDC declared a 99-year lease commitment and said the 14-story apartment complex will be reserved for affordable housing with rents for “households representing up to 60% of the region’s median income.”

According to the 2020 Group Area Median Income Chart, 60% AMI is just over $75,000 for a family of 4.

“The money from Amazon, it goes to housing, which is great, but it’s not necessarily for our families,” said Ingris Moran of Tenant and Workers United. “These families earn 40% of the AMI or less. So when we hear of projects that are between 60% AMI and 80% AMI, it’s concerning because it still risks displacing our communities. Moran said their families are mostly low-wage immigrant workers living in Arlandria — or as locals call it Chirilagua after a town in El Salvador. Tenants and Workers United are battling a possible move when their new neighbor, Amazon headquarters, arrives.

Moran said there were nearly 2,000 families earning 40% of the AMI and the data tells us that’s about $50,000 a year for a family of 4.

According to the Amazon Housing Equity Fund FAQ sheet, the $2 billion fund is intended to preserve and create 20,000 affordable housing units between 30% and 80% AMI.

That’s why Moran believes the program provides some flexibility to provide very affordable housing that’s likely to keep more people in their homes.

“We know it is possible because there is the Arlandria HDC project in which the city (Housing Authority) financially supports this project, which is 25% of all these units are for 40% AMI. So I think that’s how high a priority it is for the city,” she said.

AHDC says they will be repossessing this property in the next few years and promises that for now families currently living in Park Vue will NOT be relocated or see a change in their rents.

RELATED: Alexandria Invests $100M in Affordable Housing Ahead of Amazon HQ2

RELATED: The Amazon Effect | Housing market squeezed by Amazon speculators

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