PRESS RELEASE: Evictions Ongoing in Westover

Comments at County Board Meeting on May 20, 2017.

As a Westover Village tenant since 2004, I find it ironic that Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH), which portrays itself as a champion of affordable housing, now comes before you asking permission to evict half the tenants whose buildings it saved from probable demolition in 2016.

In its presentation, County staff claim that unless APAH restricts tenancy in its recently acquired buildings to those earning less than 60 percent area median income (AMI), the County will lose $400,000—presumably from foregone low income tax credits.

But what it doesn’t present is the math. It doesn’t say how it arrived at these numbers. It doesn’t factor in the subsidies the County will have to pay to the remaining tenants to keep them in place, once the buildings are renovated.

In a word there is no cost benefit analysis whether it is actually more expensive for the County to keep market rate tenants here or to the force them out.

Make no mistake about it. The absence of a cost benefit analysis is not simply the result of oversight. APAH won’t do a cost benefit analysis because the analysis might not justify evicting half the tenants in a big chunk of historic Westover Village.

So why is APAH bent on throwing these tenants out? Most of them are hardworking, middle class tenants. Middle class tenants pay the rent all right. But they aren’t rich enough to spend a lot, and they aren’t poor enough to be bought. So both economically and politically the County itself doesn’t benefit by keeping them.

What the County and APAH together have bargained for under the so-called Affordable Housing Master Plan (AHMP) is a community of upper income residents on the one hand and lower income residents on the other—with the middle class either forced out or silenced. This way the County gets the benefits of more tax revenue from the well-to-do and less opposition from the rabble. It’s a win-win for everyone but the middle class.

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