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ARLINGTON

Housing Affordability:  On April 3, four powerful VOICE speakers, joined by 36 VOICE Arlington leaders, made compelling cases to the county board of supervisors for affordable-housing funding in next year's Arlington County budget. One speaker, a resident who has worked with Arlington Public Schools for 21 years, testified that despite holding a second job she spends more than 60% of her income on rent.

On April 21, the Arlington County Board of Supervisors approved an FY 2019 budget that adds $600,000 to the AHIF affordable housing trust fund, bringing the fund’s total to $14.3 million. This is lower than the $15 million VOICE and others had asked for but higher than the amount proposed in a year of numerous budget cuts, so Arlington VOICE leaders view this as a victory over the odds.

At the same April 21 meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve a new committed-affordable development site plan — despite some neighborhood opposition — for a mix of townhomes and apartments that the Wesley Housing Development Corp. will build, just off of Rte. 50, creating 97 new units and preserving another 63 units, all affordable.

 

VOICE demands school system provide more support for immigrant students

Seventy VOICE Arlington leaders turned out with allies on a night with torrential rain in late May to demand the Arlington school system provide greater support for immigrant and refugee students.

The size of the turnout made an impression. Reid Goldstein, now the School Board Chair, twice noted the number in his comments.

Several School Board members underscored the need to act now. School Board member Nancy Van Doren told the Superintendent she would look for changes to volunteer forms sooner rather than later to ensure APS is not discouraging parent participation by asking for unnecessary personally identifying information.

At the instigation of VOICE and its ally, The Dream Project, the Superintendent last year appointed a working group to study how well the school system has been meeting the needs of immigrant and refugee students.

The recommendations presented by the working group at the School Board meeting ranged from clarifying what documents the school system will need students' caretakers to present if their parents are detained to providing greater mental health support and  adapting the curriculum to better reflect the contributions of immigrants and refugees.

Next Steps: We will continue to organize to hold APS accountable for making key changes early in the school year.

 

Item Date: 
Monday, October 1, 2018
Jurisdiction: