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City of Alexandria says over 50 committed affordable units at Southern Towers need residents

Southern Towers (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

While Southern Towers has been the center of a multi-year battle over housing costs and evictions from market-rate units, the City of Alexandria’s Office of Housing said there are still over 50 committed affordable units at the project in need of residents.

Southern Towers is one of the last bastions of market-affordable housing in Alexandria — which means housing that is considered affordable to Alexandria residents making less than 60% of the area’s median income.

For a single person, for example, 60% of area median income is $63,300 — less than a teacher with a Master’s Degree starting in Alexandria or an editor at a local news website.

Area median income chart (image via Housing Alexandria)

In an email to ALXnow, Housing Program Manager Virginia Patton said there are around 105 units set aside, from 56 studio apartments to one three-bedroom apartment. The three-bedroom and four two-bedroom units have been rented, but there are still roughly 17 one-bedroom units available and 35 studio apartments available.

The Sword of Damocles hanging over those units, however, is that many of those were established in 2015 with ten-year terms. Some of those were renegotiated in 2018, but those are set to start expiring over the next few years.

A release from the City of Alexandria said rents, with utilities, are:

  • Efficiency Unit: $1,451
  • 1 Bedroom Unit: $1,696

For years, residents at Southern Towers have protested and rang alarm bells about rent increases and evictions at Southern Towers, drawing support from Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and a visit from Sandra Thompson, the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

While the committed affordable units will help some, residents at Southern Towers have consistently expressed concerns that gentrification in the area will lead owner CIM Group to drive up rents.

According to the release, applications can be filed online or via mail:

If interested, please visit the online application available in EnglishEspañol or አማርኛ.

If you prefer to request a paper application to be mailed to you, please contact Virginia Patton, Housing Program Manager at or 703.746.3083.

Two months verification of your income must be provided with the application. Please note: monthly gross income must be, at a minimum, twice the rent of the unit. Once an application is approved by the Office of Housing, it will be provided to the Southern Towers Apartments Leasing Office for rental background checks and final approval. For more information, please contact Virginia Patton at or 703.746.3083.

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