In search of affordability

Sometimes it takes being smacked in the face with the cold, hard truth to realize what has been slowly happening all around you. For me, the truth about just how much affordable housing has been lost in Alexandria, Va., the place I’ve come to call home, happened today as I was walking to the Braddock Road Metro station.

I’d noticed a row of public housing on Madison Street had been fenced off. But now the houses were not just fenced off, they were being knocked down. Public notices on the buildings announced that they were being demolished as part of a project to replace 194 units of affordable housing with 245 market rate units and a pitiful 134 affordable ones.

Now this is not the first time affordable housing has been lost in the Old Town portion of Alexandria, and I’m sure it will not be the last, but I was struck with the fact that people had been living in those homes just weeks prior. And, just across the street from the units being demolished, row upon row of public housing bore similar notices. Where, I wonder, are those living in the homes that remain expected to move?

– By Jennifer E. Cooper