Editor: Regarding “Local Leaders Deny Tenants Will Be Forced Out at Barcroft” [Sun Gazette, May 19], it’s worth noting that no Arlington County Board member attended the May 12 rally in support of residents of the Barcroft Apartments.
Without speaking directly to Barcroft tenants, how could any board member, including the chair, possibly know whether tenants can afford to pay the 3-percent annual rent increase authorized by the County Board?
In the Barcroft Apartments’ census tract, the 2020 median household income was about $54,000 – low enough to make rising rents a displacement risk factor for these households.
County resident Barbara Wien spoke during public comment at the May 14 County Board meeting, recounting what she had heard from tenants at the rally. Instead of welcoming the information, County Board Chairman Katie Cristol lashed out in a fit of pique upon being confronted with an unpleasant reality.
Anne Bodine, a member of Arlingtonians for Our Sustainable Future, also attended the rally and chatted with a Barcroft resident. She learned that Jair Lynch, which in December purchased the apartment complex, apparently is trying to backtrack on its commitment to ensure that all tenants who meet the income guidelines will be able to remain at Barcroft.
It’s unknown why Cristol (and apparently other board members) claim that Barcroft tenants won’t be displaced. Indicator 27 of the county’s annual Affordable Housing Report tracks tenant displacement as a result of committed-affordable-unit (CAF) development. Between 2014 and 2016 alone, 44 households were displaced and “relocated outside the county” due to CAF development.
Denial won’t alter the reality on the ground: Barcroft’s tenants need the County Board’s help now. When can we expect the County Board to take ownership of the consequences of their actions – instead of shooting the messenger? Or is this specious conduct just part of the County Board’s “Pay Up or Pack Up Plan” to rid the county of people they consider dispensable?
Suzanne Sundburg, Arlington