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VOICE in the News

  • Fri, 09/18/2015 : Washington Post

    The Arlington County Board will decide Saturday whether to significantly expand its goals for affordable housing over the next 25 years by requiring nearly 1 in 5 residences to be within the financial reach of low- to
    moderate-income households.

    The plan, three years in the making, is the latest attempt by lawmakers to ensure that at least some housing in the increasingly expensive Northern Virginia suburbs remains affordable to starting teachers, food preparers, retirees and others who make 60 percent or less of the area median income — about $65,000 for a family of four, or $45,900 for a single person.

  • Wed, 07/22/2015 : Inside NOVA

    Editor: Many of us have grown and changed with Arlington.
    I arrived 40 years ago, fresh out of the Peace Corps, with my Turkish husband and little money. We found an affordable rental in the Buckingham community. (A $900,000 townhouse sits there now.)

  • Wed, 07/15/2015 : Inside NOVA

    Editor: I’m one of the longtime homeowners in Arlington who wishes to raise his voice in support of the county’s Affordable Housing Master Plan.
    No, I am not worried that adding high-quality, subsidized rental housing for families earning between $30,000 and $50,000 a year would somehow “ruin” my neighborhood, drive up crime or dumb down our wonderful public schools, arguments that have been made by opponents of the plan.

  • Wed, 07/08/2015 : Inside NOVA

    Editor: I have been struck by some of the comments in letters to the editor opposing the county’s draft Affordable Housing Master Plan and Implementation Framework. A letter in the July 2 edition decries doing “radically more than our fair share,” which seems to be defined as more than what neighboring jurisdictions are doing. Yet, the writer doesn’t make clear why Arlington should be considered comparable to other jurisdictions.

  • Thu, 07/02/2015 : Inside NOVA

    Editor: How sad! Judging from the full-page advertisement sponsored by “Concerned Arlington County Homeowners” in recent issues of the Sun Gazette, it seems Arlington civic life has degenerated to the point that some disgruntled residents apparently feel comfortable engaging anonymously in public mudslinging and fear-mongering.(...)

  • Wed, 03/04/2015 : Fairfax Connection

    It is not a perfect project and not everyone got what they wanted. But it
    will be a vast improvement over what is there now, and it includes some much-needed affordable housing.

    ...And indeed, an overflow crowd of City residents packed Council chambers to speak during last week’s public hearing before the Council took action. More than 70 belonged to VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement), a coalition of faith organizations and nonprofits.

  • Thu, 02/26/2015 : Fairfax Times

    A redevelopment project approved by the Fairfax City Council Tuesday brought the city’s ongoing debate about affordable housing policy to the forefront.

    ...About 70 affordable housing advocates affiliated with the organization Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) attended Tuesday’s city council meeting to support the affordable housing component of the development.

    “I think this is a city that wants to be a city for all people,” said Pastor Henry Brinton of Fairfax Presbyterian Church. “One of the threats that redevelopment brings is that this will become a city for the affluent, and that will hurt us all.”

    VOICE members said that a lack of affordable housing also increases traffic congestion and makes it more difficult for businesses to find lower-wage employees to fill vital service jobs.

  • Mon, 11/24/2014 : Fairfax County Times

    Advocates are bringing new attention to the issue of affordable housing in the city of Fairfax, prompting the City Council to review its current policies.

    The city has recently attracted several residential redevelopment projects, but members of the group Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) said they are concerned that the process will push lower-income residents out of the city.

  • Thu, 11/20/2014 : Fairfax Connection
  • Wed, 11/12/2014 : GMU Fourth Estate

    Members of the Fairfax community gathered Monday evening for a discussion on affordable housing options available to lower-income residents.

    The discussion was hosted by Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement as a way to raise awareness on an issue they believe is critical for the future of the City of Fairfax.

    In attendance were Mayor Scott Silverthorne, as well as City Councilmembers David Meyers and Michael DeMarco.

    Reverend Henry Brinton of the Fairfax Presbyterian Church opened the discussion, explaining to the congregation that the purpose of the meeting was to “take a step forward in the City on the issue of affordable housing.”

  • Tue, 06/24/2014 : Washington Post

    Last week, the neighbors and VOICE and Supervisor Jeff McKay (D-Lee) got together to celebrate the opening of the new field in Audubon, which was financed by Audubon’s management company, Hometown America. “This would not have happened without a lot of the hard work of the members in this neighborhood pressing for things to get better,” said Jennifer Knox, a VOICE spokeswoman. “It’s a mini-soccer field, but it’s enough for the kids to play.”

  • Wed, 06/18/2014 : Mount Vernon Voice

    Residents of the Audubon Mobile Home Park are united in working to make their community a better place to live.

    To that end, dozens gathered outside the mobile home park’s community center for
    a Celebration & Action meeting Monday night, organized by VOICE
    (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement), to celebrate the construction of a youth athletic field that was recently opened at the park to serve about 1,500 low income children who live there.

  • Thu, 06/05/2014 : Mount Vernon Gazette

    West Potomac High School started construction on its long-awaited turf fields on Monday, June 2. When completed in August, the school will have synthetic turf on the stadium field, and on a new practice field with lights. These fields will be used for WPHS athletics as well as permitted by Fairfax County for community use.

  • Tue, 01/21/2014 : Arlington Sun-Gazette

    Editor: Last month, the County Board made a potentially historic decision to use public land for the public good of remedying the affordable-housing crisis in our community – “potentially” historic, because history will be made only if the county government follows through with a timely schedule for developing affordable housing before it’s too late.

    Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) applauds the County Board for embracing the VOICE-proposed strategy of identifying parcels of public land for affordable housing. Inclusion of affordable housing in the county government’s capital improvement program is significant progress, and we are pleased that the county manager will be tasked with identifying parcels of land.

  • Tue, 12/17/2013 : Washington Post

    Housing activists pushing Arlington County to build 1,500 new units of affordable housing on county-owned land said Tuesday that they do not plan to back off after the County Board said it will consider the idea along with other proposals in the coming year.

    “We are not going away,” said Robert Buckman, one of the leaders of Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Empowerment (VOICE), which collected 10,375 signatures in the past six months in support of its plan. “Priorities are nice, but without deadlines, nothing happens.”

  • Mon, 12/16/2013 : Washington Post

    It’s no secret that some parts of Fairfax County are richer than others. Hybla Valley, along Route 1 in the Alexandria area of southeast Fairfax County, has long been part of the “others,” with more low-income housing and fewer high-end shopping and eating options. Even within Hybla Valley, there’s an economic divide between the east side of Route 1, with Gum Springs and Fort Hunt, and the west side, with the Audubon Estates trailer park and Murray Gate apartments. But the folks in Audubon Estates, which has 711 homes without yards, have begun organizing and with the help of VOICE, an interfaith community organizing group, they are making progress in bringing long-needed recreational facilities to their part of Fairfax. The Audubon residents have formed a partnership with churches and high school booster groups on the other side of Route 1 to help raise money for artificial turf fields at West Potomac and Mount Vernon high schools, and to get much needed repair to Muddy Hole Farm Park on their own side of Route 1.

  • Mon, 12/16/2013 : Arlington Sun-Gazette

    County Board Chairman Walter Tejada said the board on Dec. 17 will reply to a petition submitted by housing activists, seeking to use public land for construction of affordable units. "Our statement will be positive," Tejada said at the Dec. 14 board meeting. The organization - Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement, or VOICE - recently presented board members with a 10,000-signature petition, urging the county government to use some of the land under its control for construction of new housing.

  • Sat, 12/14/2013 : Washington Post

    Finding ways to address the shrinking supply of affordable rental housing in Arlington County would be the County Board’s biggest priority in 2013, chairman J. Walter Tejada (D) declared in January.

    Two weeks before the year ends, the board on Saturday approved new temporary rental assistance for low-income residents who find themselves being priced out of their existing apartments, loaned a nonprofit developer $8.3 million to buy and preserve 101 apartments near South Glebe Road and I-395, and adopted a set of financial tools to preserve 6,200 existing affordable apartments in the neighborhoods along Columbia Pike.

  • Mon, 12/09/2013 : Arlington Sun-Gazette

    Those who are doing the asking consider it an easy-to-grant request, and the answer they receive could help determine the direction of the county government’s affordable-housing policy for years to come. Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement, or VOICE, is asking County Board members to direct staff to analyze a list of publicly owned sites that could be used for affordable housing, and report back next April with the three most feasible sites.

    The goal? Cut the cost of construction by building on parcels that the government already owns. “When land is free, you can accommodate those people who get lost in the shuffle,” said Robert Buckman, a leader of the VOICE effort. “We want to be a national example for the use of public land.”

    The ecumenical organization plans to present County Board Chairman Walter Tejada on Dec. 12 with a 10,000-signature petition in support of its effort, then turn up en masse at the Dec. 14 County Board meeting to press its case.

  • Tue, 11/19/2013 : Fairfax Patch

    The City of Fairfax has taken a clear step toward attempting to increase the availability of affordable housing within its borders. At its most recent meeting, the City Council unanimously passed an amendment to the City's Comprehensive Plan that makes it clear that having a mix of different housing types to match many different ages and economic statuses is a priority.