A coordinated, cooperative effort to retain affordable housing over the long haul in Westover has been honored by the Alliance for Housing Solutions.
The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH), Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN) and Westover Village Civic Association were jointly presented with the 2017 Ellen M. Bozman Award at a Dec. 3 ceremony held at Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington.
The effort to preserve affordable housing in the neighborhood was launched in 2016 after several older, market-rate-affordable apartment complexes were razed for redevelopment. So far, the initiative has led to purchase of 68 apartment units, which will be renovated and maintained at affordable rates for decades.
“We’re very proud of having been able to jump in quickly,” said APAH CEO Nina Janopaul, whose organization found funding from a variety of sources to pay for the purchases and renovations.
The initiative was “something really unique” and will serve as “a model going forward,” said A-SPAN CEO Kathy Sibert. Her organization will provide services to residents of the preserved units, which will include eight apartments for those transitioning out of homelessness.
What had the potential of becoming a contentious community battle in a neighborhood that straddles Washington Boulevard in western Arlington was calmed by efforts of the local civic association, which gathered feedback and provided input as efforts moved forward.
“We’re really proud to be here, partnering with APAH and A-SPAN,” said Lisa Garcia, secretary of the civic association. “We love having this mix of people and really feeling like a neighborhood. We’re really excited.”
The annual award was named in honor of the late Ellen Bozman, a 24-year veteran of the County Board and one of the founders of the Alliance for Housing Solutions.
Despite some progress in stemming the loss of affordable-housing units in Arlington, “there’s a lot of work for all of us to keep at,” said Mary Margaret Whipple, the alliance’s board president.
The buffet-style recognition ceremony proved a somewhat melancholy event, as the Alliance for Housing Solutions in recent months has lost of number of its most cherished supporters. Among those who have died: Jim Shea, Rev. Gerard Creedon and Ellen Bozman’s husband, Bill Bozman.
“It’s kind of the end of an era,” said Whipple, praising “these amazing members of the community” for their service.
The Alliance for Housing Solutions serves primarily as an information-gathering and community-action organization. For information, see the Web site at www.allianceforhousingsolutions.org.