Affordable housing: Study finds DC region needs to build more

When elected leaders talk about it, everyone seems to agree that there is a need for more affordable housing in the D.C. region. But an organization advocating for affordable housing said the region is coming up short, and no jurisdiction is meeting all the targets for producing an adequate supply of affordable housing.

The Urban Institute estimated that some 375,000 housing units in the area need to be built between 2015 and 2030 — 39% affordable for middle-income residents and 38% affordable for low income residents, the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers, or HAND, said.

HAND found that in the area, D.C. is in the forefront of producing low- to middle-income units, building 766 low-income units in 2019, which is 130% of the Urban Institute target.

The group also cited Virginia’s Arlington County and the City of Alexandria for doing well in producing units in the low- to middle-income range, while Maryland’s Montgomery County is performing well producing housing in the middle-income range.

Although the study indicates the region is not on track to meet the goals set by the Urban Institute, which would require construction of 25,000 units per year, it gave some jurisdictions credit for their efforts.

For example, Loudoun County in Virginia, one of the fastest-growing counties in the region, has prioritized housing in its recently adopted comprehensive plan.

Maryland’s Prince George’s County is credited with developing a comprehensive housing strategy that includes specific goals.

Virginia’s Prince William County, where rents have jumped 10% in three years, is said to be looking at ways to develop policies to address the challenge of affordable housing.

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Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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