ARLINGTON, Va. — Amazon announced plans Tuesday to donate $3 million to Arlington’s Community Foundation, as a way of easing some of the affordable housing issues it’s expected to exacerbate when the company moves into its second headquarters in Crystal City.
That announcement happened as more than 1,300 experts and government officials in the region held an annual meeting to discuss solutions to the region’s affordability crisis.
Heather Raspberry is the executive director of Housing Association of NonProfit Developers, or HAND. She said, in her nine years of working in the field, the problem has gone from bad to worse.
“Data will show you that over 50 percent of the region is rent burdened, so that means they’re paying more than 50 percent of their income," Raspberry said.
As for the $3 million donation, Raspberry said, it’s a good start.
“We absolutely appreciate and look forward to them leaning in, and doing more," she said.
Lisa Sturtevant, a founder and president of LSA - which does data analysis to create housing needs assessments, said the issue places the worst burden on the community's most vulnerable.
“That low and very low-income population is where the need is most acute," she said.
Sturtevant said it’s important to hold companies -like Amazon- as well as governments accountable.
Sturtevant is currently working on producing a scorecard to keep track of three main trends across the DMV: how much housing is being produced overall, how much of that is dedicated affordable housing, and how racially and economically segregated it is.
Sturtevant said by making the data publicly and easily accessible it will allow all local governments in the area to see their progress, “to be accountable, to compare themselves to each other and to really link those outcomes to actual housing policies," she said.
That scorecard is expected to be rolled out early next year.