Fairfax County, VA, has used taxpayer funds to subsidize “affordable housing” in luxurious housing developments where homes retail for more than $800,000, an investigation by Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy has found. The affordable housing units are reportedly worth about half a million dollars each – more than six times the average value of the 3,600 affordable housing properties managed by the county.
There are housing developments in Fairfax County where subsidized homes have sold for about 16% of the cost of the “normal” home in that development. Where there are $860,000 homes, the county has required “similar looking” homes to be built and forced to sell these for only $145,000. What kind of market priced home is there anywhere in the county for $145,000?
Although a little smaller than the “big homes,” and with less expensive interiors, these “affordable homes” in high priced neighborhoods are not an incentive for the subsidized homeowner to ever move out. Why should someone want to better their life in order to buy a “nicer, better, bigger” home in a quiet neighborhood with a good school when the government provides them the opportunity to live in a luxury community or a nice apartment/condominium without having to make much money at all? This can only be described as “subsidized luxury.”
Reacting to the study, the Chairman of the county’s Board of Supervisors deflected:
Responding to our study and Supervisor Herrity’s trumpeting of the issue, the Chairman of Board of Supervisors, Sharon Bulova, tried to defend these luxury housing residences by saying the overall program provides homes for lower income people (she did not respond to the issue at hand which is the three luxury communities in the study), that the alternative would be “pockets of poverty” in Fairfax County for those served by the housing programs (the alternative is not that – the alternative is to use more modest homes and condos in the program), and that the monthly fees pay for grass cutting and snow removal (again she avoids the issue altogether of our taxpayers paying up to $6800 a year according to the county auditor — $2100 more than our study found — for gold-plated amenities like resort grade swimming pools, billiards rooms, office suites with computers and printers, etc ).
County Supervisor Pat Herrity (R) ordered the county’s independent audit, and has called for Fairfax to “revisit our housing policy,” the Washington Examiner reported.