Editor’s Note — Tysons Reporter is running Q&As with the candidates running for the open Falls Church City Council seat. The stories have been condensed and edited for clarity.
Joshua Shokoor is one of three candidates — along with Debora Shantz-Hiscott and Simone Victoria Pass-Tucker — running for the open Falls Church City Council seat in the upcoming election on Nov. 3.
Tysons Reporter: Why did you decide to run?
Shokoor: I decided to run because I believe the greatest policy issue facing our community is a lack of affordable housing and the pending loss of hundreds of affordable units, which will leave people of color, city staff, teachers and employees of small businesses with nowhere else to go in the Falls Church. I have worked in affordable housing for years, both professionally and as a veteran of the city’s housing commission and an author of the “Affordable Living Policy.” I have the public policy and private knowledge to mitigate these losses. But my fear is, without my voice on the City Council, not much attention will be paid to this issue.
TR: What’s your connection to the Falls Church community?
Shokoor: I am a lifelong resident of the city and of course went through the K-12 school system. I am also a veteran on the housing commission and an author of the Affordable Living Policy. I was fortunate enough to intern with the city’s Department of Housing and Human Services while obtaining my master’s in public policy.
TR: What are your top three agenda items?
a) Preserve the affordable housing in the City
b) Increase access to the City through the creation of more affordable housing
c) Create a Racial Equity Commission to develop policies through the lens of making Falls Church more inclusive and welcoming for all families
TR: How do you plan to work cohesively with the other council members?
Shokoor: I already know many on the City Council and we get along fairly well. Everyone on the council is volunteering many hours of their time a week because they are dedicated to making Falls Church a better place to live. Like any team, some people disagree with each other, but at the end of the day, you have to realize that the City Council shares a united goal and vision for this community, and it is no different than the one I have for Falls Church.
TR: Do you approve of how the city has handled COVID-19 so far? What would you change?
Shokoor: The City has done a lot to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, whether that is through strict social distancing, mask wearing, and initiatives to focus resident’s consumer purchase to businesses in the city which are still not back to pre-pandemic levels in terms of patrons and revenue. But I think Falls Church’s best response has come from the Department of Housing Human Services. Through their efforts they have provided rental assistance to 45 families since the pandemic began, many of which have been helped numerous. They have paid for utility expenses for over 50 families, provided masks to communities most at-risk, and supplied food to residents through donations to their programs. In a wealthy community like Falls Church, it is easy for some to overlook the struggles of many residents and families.
Photo courtesy Joshua Shokoor