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Affordable Housing Applications Flood in as ARHA Opens Waitlist

Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority reopened its waitlist for affordable housing in the city and within two days the organization said around 45,000 individuals had applied.

The surge in demand for affordable housing comes after months of job loss and high unemployment. Those numbers are gradually recovering, but are still significantly higher than pre-pandemic figures. The opening also comes after almost a decade of the organization sorting through a backlog.

ARHA said in a press release that it last opened its waiting list for one week in August 2011 and receiving 10,000 applications.

“People are hurting,” said ARHA CEO Keith Pettigrew. “I receive emails every day wanting to know if housing vouchers or ARHA housing is available. These are not just people who are out of work. These are primarily people who have jobs but can’t afford to live in Alexandria right now.”

ARHA said that of the 45,000 applications, approximately 32,000 were for ARHA administered units while 13,000 were for housing choice voucher programs — programs that help subsidize rents in privately owned homes.

Notably, the total number of applications includes those that will be disqualified for coming in at an income above ARHA levels.

“But even after that process, a very long waiting list will remain,” ARHA said.

ARHA is early in the process of redeveloping many properties, though some like the Andrew Adkins development have hit snags along the way even as nearby private developments move forward.

“In each case, the ARHA goal would be to include a one-for-one replacement of current units for low-income households and an equal number of new units for working families and market rate apartments,” the organization said. “The idea is to create sustainable developments where lower-income families live in the same communities as those with middle-class incomes.”

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