Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing Begins Purchase of 68 Westover Apartments
In a 5-0 vote Arlington County Board allocates $10.9 million AHIF loan to support purchase
Arlington, VA – September 28, 2016 – Today, the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) completed the purchase of five historic garden apartment buildings in the Westover neighborhood, the first of a total of eight planned acquisitions between now and January 2017. All eight buildings will become a part of APAH’s nearly 1,300-unit portfolio of affordable housing and will ensure that these Westover apartments remain affordable for at least 60 years. The purchases completed today are located at 5705 Washington Blvd, 5711 Washington Blvd, 5717 Washington Blvd, 5716 11th Road North, and 1111 Kensington Street.
Nina Janopaul, APAH’s President and CEO said, “We are grateful to the County Board and staff for their quick and generous response to this urgent need. The demolition of 62 market affordable apartments in Westover motivated APAH to act swiftly to preserve this community’s economic diversity. These demolitions are a visible illustration of the dramatic loss of affordable rental housing throughout Arlington since 2000, as documented by Arlington’s Affordable Housing Master Plan.”
An Innovative Partnership with A-SPAN
As part of the overall preservation plan, APAH plans to partner with A-SPAN to dedicate one building with eight apartments to permanent housing for formerly homeless individuals, including veterans. Kathy Sibert, A-SPAN’s President and CEO stated that this new housing “is not a shelter, it’s not a group home and it’s not transitional housing. APAH will be the landlord and A-SPAN will provide the services and identify the tenants.” A-SPAN is “a leader in providing wrap-around services,” she noted, and this project will “allow us to hold our clients’ hands even tighter.”
5-0 County Board Vote of AHIF Supports APAH’s Acquisition
APAH’s purchase will be supported by a $10.9 million loan from the Arlington County Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF) which was approved by the Arlington County Board by a 5-0 vote at its September 24, 2016 meeting. Introducing the motion, Board member John Vihstadt noted “it might be easier, cheaper and thus more tempting to us to get a greater number of units in an area of the county with lower property values and more availability, [but] I want to personally extend my thanks to APAH and Nina Janopaul for really going the distance to cobble together an economically viable proposal for this neighborhood of the County.” Board member Christian Dorsey applauded the proposal as a “strategic deal” that achieves a “substantial movement of the dial to effect and indeed reverse some of what has gone on and been a recent trend in Westover.”
Strong Community Support for APAH Plans
APAH’s acquisition was endorsed by a wide range of community leaders and organizations. Kay Langenbeck, speaking on behalf of CARD, the Coalition of Arlingtonians for Responsible Development, urged the board to support the project, noting “this project will be an excellent start to achieving the County’s affordable housing goals for Westover. APAH is known for excellent maintenance and resident services. They will be a good neighbor.” Mr. Vihstadt shared an email from Bob Ortung, president of the Westover Civic Association President who stated that there is “a large constituency for sensible efforts to support affordable housing and this fits the bill.”
Jessica Chilin-Hernández, a Westover resident, shared the impact of affordable housing on her family. An immigrant from El Salvador and an alumna of The College of William & Mary, Ms. Chilin stated that much of her academic success was directly linked to the fact that she grew up in affordable housing. She described Westover as “a wonderful community that allowed me to explore my academic interests in spite of the many socio-economic barriers already set up against Latinos and people of color like me.” Ms. Chilin is a graduate of both Swanson and Yorktown High schools. Coming from a single-parent household, affordable housing was key in Ms. Chilin’s educational attainments and her ability to be an active participatory member of our democracy.
Key Partners Enabled APAH to Move Swiftly
APAH responded to rapidly as the community experienced its second wave of market affordable housing demolition earlier this year. APAH reached out to 40+ private owners to explore possible purchases.
APAH’s rapid response would not have been possible without the support of ACCESS National Bank which set up a Quick Strike Fund. Mike Terpak, SVP, Commercial Lending, Access National Bank noted, “the opportunity to be able to provide creative financing to support such a worthy cause as affordable housing with an esteemed organization as APAH is a highlight to the bank and to me both professionally and personally. It speaks volumes of APAH’s commitment to select a local community bank as their financial partner.” Moreover, APAH’s Board of Directors agreed to mortgage other assets and lend cash to the project to provide essential bridge funding until the County’s AHIF funding becomes available in January 2017.
Over the next year, APAH will develop a comprehensive renovation plan and apply for Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and historic tax credits to bring all units to modern standards. APAH will develop individualized plans to relocate residents during renovations. No one will be displaced during the first year, as APAH will phase in income restrictions as units turn over.
About Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH)
APAH is a nonprofit which develops, preserves, owns, and advocates for quality rental housing that is affordable to low and moderate-income families and promotes opportunity for residents through partnerships and programs. APAH works exclusively in Arlington County. Founded in 1989, APAH now helps 1200 households live in stable, secure and affordable rental homes. In 2014 APAH was named Developer of the Year by the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND) and APAH’s Arlington Mill Residences was awarded Best Housing Development in Virginia at the Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference.