Editor: Loudoun is a community that values hard workers, but when it comes to housing, there is an unfair reality: working-class families spend more than 70% of their income on rent. 

The county must innovate housing programs for our working-class communities. There are many homes, but only for people who earn $80,000 or more. There are no housing options for the working-class community, which earns less than $40,000 a year.

Elected officials can choose to prioritize the housing needs of the working class. We are the families of essential workers: mowing lawns, preparing food in restaurants, clearing streets after snowfall, caring for children, and cleaning homes. Often, we have to start additional jobs, search for food banks, or stop buying medicines to afford monthly rent payments. 

I have been active in my community through New Virginia Majority to advocate for affordable housing. Through NVM, I joined a Tenant Working Group and participated in meetings with the Department of Housing and Community Development over six months, developing a rent buy-down program for tenants using ARPA emergency funds. Our community needs $6 million of the ARPA housing funds to go to the buy-down program, which will provide urgent rent relief to cost-burdened tenants. In the process, we have encountered set-backs due to administrative changes in the housing department. We have gone back and forth many times on various proposals. 

I became hopeful, only to be told to keep waiting. Help now would be very timely. When working-class families can’t find housing, we must move away, leaving Loudoun County without essential workers and a less diverse community. 

Ismael Perez, Sterling

(2) comments

ace10

Is there affordable housing in McLean, Great Falls and Potomac? I've lived in the DC for many decades, so I'm pretty certain there isn't, so how does the "mowing lawns, preparing food in restaurants, clearing streets after snowfall, caring for children, and cleaning homes" get done?

Responsible Citizen

Everytime government gets into the business of public housing, it is a failure on every level. I know because I worked in them for years. In addition to being a huge financial burden on budgets, there will always be a 'need' for more. Loudoun is going to discover that the BOS's has created a quagmire for the taxpayers.

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