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Falls Church Awarded $3.75 Million in Affordable Housing Funds

Updated March 2 to clarify that the funding is Amazon-related, not Amazon-funded.

The City of Falls Church is getting $3.75 milli0n in grants for affordable housing initiatives to prepare for Amazon’s arrival in Arlington County.

In response to concerns about the anticipated impact of its second headquarters in Arlington on the region’s housing prices, Virginia Housing is investing $75 million dollars spread out over five years in affordable housing.

“Ensuring affordable access to housing for all is a key priority for the City Council and our community as a whole,” City of Falls Church Mayor P. David Tarter said in a statement. “We are delighted that Virginia Housing has awarded this grant and appreciative to Senator Dick Saslaw (VA-35) for his efforts to bring this important program to the City.”

Falls Church will get $3.4 million for a new affordable housing homeownership program and $350,000 to extend the availability of nine committed affordable apartments at the Read Building (402 W. Broad Street).

“Homeownership has been increasingly out of reach for many, and this is an innovative first step to reverse the trend,” Councilmember Letty Hardi said, calling the grant “a major step forward for the city.”

The NHP Foundation will manage the homeownership program with support from the city’s Housing and Human Services Department. Once the program is established, the city says it will take about one year for NHPF to purchase, rehabilitate, and resell the homes.

With the $3.4 million, the city estimates that 18 qualified first-time home-buyers will be able to purchase rehabilitated homes between $425,000 and $525,000. The program will make use of Virginia Housing special lending programs and mortgage credit certificates, as well as local down payment assistance, according to the city.

“We’ve already received several calls from interested homebuyers, so we’re excited to get the program established,” Falls Church Housing and Human Services Deputy Director Dana Lewis said in a statement.

The city says it expects most qualifying homes to be condominiums, but single-family homes and townhouses could also be eligible.

NHPF currently manages the Winter Hill Apartments in the City of Falls Church.

The remaining $350,000 in grant funds will subsidize rent prices for nine workforce units at the Read Building until Dec. 31, 2032. These units are reserved for qualified renters, including Falls Church City Public School teachers and staff and City of Falls Church government employees.

“In the City, there is a gap between what many households can afford and available rental and ownership homes,” Nancy Vincent, director of the City’s Housing and Human Services Department, said. “These grant funds help address the diverse housing needs of the City’s current and future populations.”

City officials suggested these solutions during a city council meeting on Nov. 9, building on a consultant’s report that outlined ways for the city to expand its affordable housing supply.

Virginia Housing is managing these grants through its REACH (Resources Enabling Affordable Community Housing in Virginia) program, which supports affordable and accessible housing as well as revitalization and preservation efforts.

Gov. Ralph Northam first announced the investment by Virginia Housing in 2018.

Image via Google Maps

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