Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) renewed his criticism of the county’s affordable housing program Tuesday, saying taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for “luxury amenities.”
To prove his point, Herrity cited a Fox 5 news story that aired Monday and a new report from the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy that echo his concerns about Fairfax’s affordable housing initiatives.
The Fox report said that the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority is paying more than $1.3 million in fees for homeowners associations for more than 500 condos and townhomes, “including one development with two outdoor pools, a club room, an athletic center and a billiards room.”
According to a June report from the Jefferson Institute, which is based in Herrity’s district: “There are housing developments in Fairfax County where subsidized homes have sold for about 16 percent of the cost of the ‘normal’ units in that development. Where there are $860,000 homes, the county has required ‘similar looking- homes to be built and sold for only $145,000.”
Herrity said Tuesday in an edition of his newsletter that “the role of government should be to give those in need a hand up, not provide them with a place to live that provides no incentive for advancement and is better than the housing and amenities of the majority of the taxpayers that are funding it.”
Members of affordable housing organizations have accused Herrity of giving a distorted picture of the county’s housing initiative. They note that the Residences at Government Center, a mixed-income community with 270 dwellings, will house people who make half to 100 percent of the area median income, which in Fairfax County is $102,499 for a family of three. Advocates have said the arrangement ensures that low-income and middle-income families, such as firefighters and teachers, can live side by side with wealthier families in an affluent part of the county instead of being forced out of Fairfax altogether.