Loudoun Supervisors Consider Dedicated Funding for Housing Needs

The Board of Supervisors could dedicate some local tax revenue toward tackling affordable and attainable housing as its works on a draft Unmet Housing Needs Strategic Plan in committee.

At a May 12 public hearing on the draft plan, County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) joined the chorus of voices from the public and nonprofits calling on the county to invest tax money as they try to address the difficulty affording a place to live in Loudoun. Randall likened it to a previous board’s decision to put dedicate two cents of the real estate tax rate toward building roads as Loudoun began to catch up on infrastructure the state government has neglected.

“I don’t believe we can really be serious about meeting the unmet housing need unless we’re going to put some skin in the game,” Randall said. She floated the idea of dedicating a penny of the local real estate tax—which would represent just under $9.5 million based on revenue projections in the most recent adopted county budget.

And she again said that some Loudouners’ resistance to building new housing isn’t about the housing, it’s about the insufficient infastructure to support it.

“You have to do housing in concert with infrastructure,” Randall said. “What’s happened in Loudon County over many, many years … is we’ve built housing, and then we build roads, and then we build parks, and then we build schools. So the infrastructure’s always lagging, and in people’s heads, it’s because we have too many homes, versus we didn’t put infrastructure in place.”

But supervisors also acknowledged the enormity of the problem they face—one that is mirrored across the nation as younger people struggle to afford homes, as prices have outpaced wages. As of 2019, according to the draft plan, 35,000 households in Loudoun are “cost-burdened,” meaning they pay more than 30% of their income on housing.

“I keep coming back to the uncomfortable conclusion that we can’t get there from here,” said Supervisor Michael R. Turner (D-Ashburn). “And I don’t want to come to that conclusion prematurely without sufficient evidence, but I keep coming back to this.”

And Supervisor Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) called on Loudoun’s towns—whose mayors, through the Coalition of Loudoun Towns, have voiced support for the plan—to help address the need.

“We need to continue to pursue that and not let them off the hook,” Buffington said. “If you want to help, help, or say you don’t want to help and don’t help.”

Some of those feelings were mirrored in a public hearing that saw people from many sectors and backgrounds and in two languages encouraging the work toward expanding housing options.

“We have either a working strategy that is based on how much the needs are in Loudoun County, and then has a group of programs that attempt to get to those needs; or you can reverse that and say, ‘our strategy should be based on the resources that we can bring to the task of affordable housing,’ and set the program so that it can be traced through and seen that it’s accomplished with realistic goals,” said Al Van Huyck.

“I’m just concerned, because I’ve heard for years that the schools can’t absorb it, but I want you all to picture what it would look like if we don’t have diversity in our housing stock and our schools were populated by only those of us who can afford to live at the market rate,” said Kristen Langhorne. “I think that would be a real harm to the education our kids are receiving.”

And representatives from Loudoun’s human services nonprofits pointed out that affordable housing has benefits across all of the family’s needs and health. Healthworks for Northern Virginia CEO Carol Jameson pointed out that the links between unstable housing and poor health is well documented—whether attributable to high stress levels, disruption to work, studies and social networks, or overcrowding and more easily spreading disease.

“Anti-hunger advocates are also housing advocates,” said Loudoun Hunger Relief President and CEO Jennifer Montgomery. “We recognize that the relationship between housing and health is multifaceted. We recognize that hunger, unaffordable housing and poor health are inextricably linked.”

Supervisors voted unanimously to send the draft plan to the board’s Transportation and Land Use Committee for more work.

18 thoughts on “Loudoun Supervisors Consider Dedicated Funding for Housing Needs

  • 2021-05-13 at 4:41 pm
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    Do any member of the brain trust that is the LoCo BoS comprehend the sheer stupidity of using real estate taxes to fund “affordable” housing?

    Seriously?

    Baked into the cost of housing IS THE REAL ESTATE TAX!

    Good grief. Stop wasting our money on YOUR pet causes. And YOUR preferred constituents.

  • 2021-05-14 at 5:22 am
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    Phyliss Randall proves daily that the job is too much for her. Penalizing homeowners to increase voter base under the guise of “we are the government we can help” is only cheap to Randall and the gated community crowd. Quit spending!

  • 2021-05-14 at 11:10 am
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    The county BoS keeps proving they are not up to the task. We have an option and we need to remember all the harm they have caused at the next election cycle. You cannot tax your way into prosperity. New York and California are the latest states to learn that lesson.

  • 2021-05-14 at 8:41 pm
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    Loudoun Lunacy.

    Flush both the BOS & the crazy School Board which, again, was national news last night for its crazy, marxist teachings.

    WHY should taxpayers pay for the BOS’s plan to subsidize housing in Loudoun?

    NO WAY.

    Tell them to move or get a smaller house.

    See? That didn’t cause taxpayers a dime!

  • 2021-05-16 at 11:22 am
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    Where should the vital workers live who can’t afford $2000 rent or a $3000+ mortgage? I guess a 2 hour commute is little to ask them as long as you can keep your neighborhoods feel of the riff-raff.

    And the whole tax thing. You honestly expect someone to believe that it is the tax rate keeping people out? It’s not the $500k for a small townhouse but the tax that is the breaking point?

    If you don’t like your tax rate, YOU buy a smaller house. 1% is a pittance, stop being greedy.

    • 2021-05-17 at 8:02 am
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      First of all “vital” workers are paid a wage that reflects their value. If any employer cant attract such workers in any housing market they will have to raise wages.
      Developers will recognize and react to build housing the market demands, including lower income housing. No worker “deserves” to live anywhere.
      Workers are free to move to greener pastures if they are not compensated enough to live where they want. It is not up to you or me to pretend to make that decision for them. It is certainly not up to you or the BOS to decide to confiscate more of my taxes so you can feel better about yourselves.

    • 2021-05-17 at 9:21 am
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      Many in Western Loudoun commute 1 to 2 hours each way to their job locations. Every day. In order to either have more land, more space or simply to own/rent more affordable housing.

      But you’re demanding that I must pay for someone else to live closer to THEIR job? Do you understand how totally broken your logic is?

      And yes, Real Estate tax is one of many components in the cost of a rental property. Adding more taxes to that basket of cost in order to reduce the rents is magical thinking at its best.

      Do you have any concept of what greed actually is? That’s a serious question. I hope you reply back with an answer.

  • 2021-05-17 at 1:24 pm
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    So, a living wage in Loudoun is about $20hr. How many of the retail workers that we all rely on make anywhere near that? Would everyone accept the price increases to support doubling hourly wages? If not, where would these people live since they aren’t making a living wage in Loudoun? Maybe somewhere far away, putting miles on a vehicle they can barely afford?

    Expect developers to build affordable housing out of the kindness of their hearts? In a market where they can’t build fast enough, that’s not going to happen.

    I know it’s a lot to ask someone to give up a few options on their $70k+ Tesla or F-150 to allow for people to subsist, but maybe we could dig deep.

    • 2021-05-17 at 6:25 pm
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      Maybe you can explain why it’s okay for *some* Loudouners to commute hours per day to a job counties away, while a portion of their tax bill (wages) goes to subsidize others so that they may live here in the county.

      Please, oh please, set me straight on this.

      There are greedy people in this equation, and it’s NOT the taxpayers.

    • 2021-05-18 at 9:58 am
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      If you can’t make a “living wage” in Loudoun, do what I did and my father did:
      Get a second job
      Get a roommate
      Work hard to earn a higher wage over time
      Never ask or expect a handout!!

  • 2021-05-17 at 6:27 pm
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    Greed is wanting more than what is needed, especially to the detriment of others. Everyone should have a safe place to live, access to healthcare that they can afford (whatever their condition), access to education with reasonable access to college if desired. Working hard their whole lives should be rewarded with the ability to retire and live comfortably. Kids do better when they have access to their parents, but if both parents are working 40hrs, plus are doing 4hrs commuting, that makes it tough.

    I am sure that there will be a response that someone didn’t get those things, and my answer is, why do you think others should have to struggle like you did?

    We, as a society, have the ability to raise everyone up to a level of existence that would cut out a lot of suffering while still allowing people who want more to succeed in their goals.

    • 2021-05-18 at 12:52 pm
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      Your definition of greed fits perfectly with people who want others to pay for a portion of their housing costs.

      Life is full of choices.
      If housing in Loudoun is too expensive, then move to somewhere more affordable and find work there or potentially expect a longer, more difficult commute.
      Or get a roommate.
      Or downsize.
      Or improve your work situation.
      Or improve your employability through skills training or education.
      Or reduce other expenses.

      I haven’t work hard all my life so that others may ride on my back. My philanthropy is directed as I choose, not as others choose for me. If you wish to pay for the housing of others, you are perfectly free to do so. But don’t expect me to.

  • 2021-05-18 at 4:38 pm
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    I am a fool. I read through the echo chamber that is the comments section of this site and then post knowing full well what is going to happen. I really should just quietly take solace in the fact that the country is slowly moving left and that the “me first” folks are part of a dying breed.

    The sad part is that there are some very valid concepts in the “compassionate conservative” view but they are being lost as the party starts acting like the dying animal it is.

    Hopefully what rises from the ashes is a party that can sanely counteract the excessive exuberance of the far left, while still appealing to people stuck in the middle (as most of us are).

    • 2021-05-19 at 9:24 am
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      This country was built on hard work. Not handouts. Sorry that you find the concept so offensive.

      You don’t represent the “middle.” Not by a long shot. You’re in the DC bubble. And you’re pushing Marxist concepts.

      Get out there and explore the areas of this great nation where people still make things. And grow food. It’ll be good for you. I promise.

      • 2021-05-19 at 12:43 pm
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        More than 80% of the US population lives in cities. More than 60% of those are center to left. And this doesn’t even account for center/left voters in suburban and rural areas. But if you “feel” that there are more people like you than me, don’t let actual numbers get in the way.

        Society is like a body, it really functions at it’s best when all parts are treated well. I wouldn’t tell you to cut off your head just because you don’t use it as much as parts lower down.

        • 2021-05-20 at 10:23 am
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          Kindly point to the exact phrase where I said “more.”

          What I said was that you don’t represent the “Middle.”

          The middle is the center portion of a continuum. A political continuum in this instance. Or a spectrum, if that’s something you have an easier time with…. this should be really simple stuff to grasp.

          The American “middle” WILL NEVER accept your Marxist garbage. It’s contrary to everything that is good and right with this country. You’re pushing failed policies. They belong in the trash heap of heap of history.

          • 2021-05-20 at 12:14 pm
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            You really love that word. You talk about continuum, but seem to think there is only your way or communism. Where did I say that we should take everything away from the haves? That would stifle drive to succeed. Giving everyone a basic level of quality of life still leaves plenty on the bone for people to excel. Social Capitalism is a good thing.

          • 2021-05-20 at 6:10 pm
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            Here you go again…

            Kindly point to where I mentioned “Communism.”

            And it’s adorable when somebody uses the term “Social Capitalism.” You’re talking about Socialism, but you’re too afraid to admit it.

            OK, here’s a point blank question… you said “leav(ing) plenty on the bone for people to excel.”
            Who determines the measurement of “plenty?”

            Go ahead, answer the question and then we can get back to how you’re in the “middle.”

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