The non-profit I work for preserves existing affordable housing to ensure that safe, sanitary housing remains accessible for those unable to work or earning low or part-time wages. My role in the organization is to create social service programs that remove barriers residents face in their pursuit of personal, professional, and educational goals. I have real-life experience bringing constituent groups together to the benefit of their neighborhood as a whole. I have seen how community engagement improves the lives of everyone involved, and I want to bring that knowledge to Alexandria.
Alexandria has lost thousands of units of affordable housing stock over the last 20 years. We must take active steps to continue to rebuild that inventory and provide housing opportunities at all price points in our communities. We should look for opportunities to preserve where possible and where that cannot be achieved, we must redevelop in ways that allow as many families to remain in the neighborhoods they call home and at affordable rates.
To address our affordability crisis, we must be open to creative solutions and all approaches. Density alone will not be the solution. We should look for opportunities to preserve where possible and where that cannot be achieved, we must redevelop in ways that allow as many families to remain in the neighborhoods they call home and at affordable rates. We must accompany the preservation and redevelopment with programs that provide a path to homeownership for first-time buyers so that affordable units can be a stepping stone to greater financial security for families.
As we build, modernize and invest in new housing to meet the demand from employers like Amazon and VT Innovation Campus, we must challenge developers to consider environmental impact and investment in our infrastructure. As we approve new projects, we should keep a careful eye on making those projects inclusive of competing needs and ensure that the community has an informed understanding of the design decisions. We need design choices that will prioritize access to healthy neighborhood food options, green spaces, sufficient parking, public transportation, and the lived experience of long-term and new residents.
I want Alexandria to be a city where families thrive for generations, teachers can live amongst their students, and young adults return after college to start families of their own. In order to make that happen, housing simply has to be more affordable and more attainable for people of all income brackets. As both a former renter and current homeowner in Alexandria and in my work on the ground in cities around the country, I will strive to bring those insights to my work on the Council. As we make hard choices about how, where and in what manner we develop and redevelop portions of our city, we need to take a holistic view that incorporates environmental impacts, equitable opportunities and respect for the history of the city we love.
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