Written by Carmen Romero, CEO, Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing

According to recent research gathered by the Brookings Institute, Loudoun County leads the region in household income needed to pay rent with its median monthly cost of $2,020. Loudoun’s steadfast population growth rate—the second highest in the metro area between 2009-2019—strains demand, affecting business development, commuter routes, and equity within the community.

Hopeful homeowners and renters feel the pinch. Local businesses and employers feel the stress. Loudoun County’s Unmet Housing Needs Strategic Plan 2015-2040, adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2021, recognizes these concerns.

Over the past 10-15 years, thousands of rental units were added across the county to accommodate families of all kinds. Despite this, the supply of new affordable housing lags the demand for new workers in Loudoun’s ever-growing business, service, and hospitality sectors. Local residents know that commuter routes to Maryland via Rt. 15 north, West Virginia via Rt. 9, Winchester via Rt. 7, and Rt. 15 south to neighboring and more affordable counties nearby are clogged and environmentally taxing. And importantly, employees that must commute affect local businesses straining to keep a dedicated workforce.

As a regional nonprofit, we see this trend across the DMV. The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing’s mission is to build and preserve quality and affordable housing for a range of vulnerable populations and diverse incomes, including elderly populations. APAH has partnered with E&G Group to open its first property in Loudoun County—Loudoun View Senior Residences. Today, 98 seniors whose income ranges from 30% to 60% of the area median income are taking advantage of affordable 1- and 2-bedroom apartments with access to community amenities on and off-property.

It is so important for a community to understand: Partnerships and leveraged resources across multiple public agencies are vital for projects like these, and Loudoun View Senior Residences is no different. The project cost more than $32 Million and benefited from Loudoun County’s Housing Loan Program, Virginia Housing’s allocation of federal tax credits and loans, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development’s allocation of tax-exempt bonds and Virginia Housing Trust Funds, and funding from the Northern Virginia Regional Commission. Private sector banking partner Truist provided a construction loan and tax credit equity.

APAH looks forward to adding to Loudoun’s housing impact with a recently announced AvonLea project that will provide more than 270 units for multigenerational families to the County in the next several years—a project that benefited from $350,000 in seed funding from the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties and its donor advised fund, the Loudoun Community Cabinet.

Workforce housing is a sound and essential investment for this growing county to balance the quickly moving pendulum of housing cost. Loudoun’s formal goal of providing 16,000 homes or apartments to residents experiencing challenges with affordability by 2040 is critical to fuel the economic engine powering the future of one of the wealthiest counties in America. As demand for housing increases here, APAH applauds and encourages the Loudoun community and its public officials to continue striving for and supporting these ambitious targets—because housing is foundational, and anyone who works in Loudoun should be able to grow up, work, and grow old in Loudoun.

Carmen Romero became APAH President and CEO July 2021 after joining the team in 2011 to oversee its real-estate team that has created or preserved more than 1,000 new affordable housing units in the DMV region—many of which have delivered innovation and award-winning designs. APAH has developments currently underway in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Montgomery counties. APAH is a 501(c)(3) charity headquartered in Arlington.

Led by the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties, What is the Cost of Loudoun Housing is part of the Workforce Housing Now (workforcehousingnow.org) community service effort amplifying Loudoun’s voice for workforce housing as the missing ingredient to our community’s prosperity.