Skip to content

Editorial: Fairfax moving in right direction on workforce housing

Families making nearly $200,000 a year should not be prioritized for subsidies

While it is a guilty pleasure for us to heap scorn on local governments when they do things wrong, we are fairminded enough to offer praise when they do things right.

And as it moves toward updating a policy for what in government-speak is called “workforce housing,” the Fairfax County government seems to be moving in the right direction.

The county government in certain circumstances requires the creation of workforce-dwelling units (“WDUs”) during development projects. They are, in effect, focused on supporting those who are gainfully employed but effectively are priced out of Northern Virginia’s increasingly ridiculous housing costs.

Some of those properties made available to qualifying participants are for sale, rather than for rent, thus addressing the concern that those forced to perpetually rent because of high costs are unable to build equity as those who purchase homes often can.

Under current Fairfax County government policy, those for-sale units are made available, by developers, to individuals or families earning between 80 percent and 120 percent of area median income. With the figure currently standing at about $155,000 for a family of four, that means families with household incomes approaching $200,000 ($186,000, if you want to be picky) would be eligible for something that, while not a direct government handout, is handout-adjacent since it is required of developers by the government for project approval.

Proposed changes would make the housing available to those earning between 70 percent and 100 percent of area median income. Seems a better range, if the goal is to aid people who really need help in addressing local housing prices.