Arlington is at a critical—some would even say risky—juncture as we try to balance inclusivity and equity with economic growth.
Recently updated poverty information for Arlington indicates that about 24,300 people, or about 10,000 households in Arlington, make under 30% of the area median income (AMI), or $42,690 for a family of four. Currently only 1585 apartments affordable to these households are available.
Current data shows that living costs for such a household in Arlington average three times that.
Arlington’s vision statement says that we are a caring and inclusive community, and the County defines equity as all Arlingtonians having the resources to experience optimal well-being and realize their full potential.
Arlington Community Foundation shares this moral mandate of equity and inclusion. And there is an economic mandate as well.
These 24,300 low income individuals represent just over 10% of Arlington’s population, and they are at high risk of displacement. High-wage jobs comprise a significant share of the County’s economic growth, but workers in lower-wage jobs form the backbone of its economy. Childcare workers, hospital aides, office cleaners, construction, and food service employees are a vital part of our economic success and diverse community fabric. Yet these residents are being priced out of Arlington by market-driven losses in affordable housing and other pressures, including some of the highest childcare expenses in the country.
Arlington Community Foundation’s economic mobility initiatives are designed to address these problems.
This work is guided by the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty’s 3-fold definition of economic mobility:
– Increased income and assets
– Personal power over one’s life
– A sense of belonging to the community
Our multi-year economic mobility focus and our outreach to scale up business involvement can produce capital and other resources beyond our current local funding mix. Every dollar raised and invested in this work now will come back to this community’s most vulnerable many times over.
The Shared Prosperity Initiative engages the business, government, and nonprofit sectors to mitigate displacement of very low-income residents and allow these residents to continue to contribute to Arlington’s economic viability and diverse community fabric. We do this through a combination of policy analysis, advocacy, demonstration pilots, and striving to attract major resource investments in deeply affordable housing, deeply affordable childcare, and living wage and workforce pathways.
Bridges Out of Poverty
This public-private partnership represents a re-design of the safety net system to reduce bureaucratic hurdles and strengthen connections so people in poverty can gain traction and move forward.
The Cliff Effect in Arlington
The Cliff Effect refers to the drop off in eligibility for subsidies for health care, food, child care, transportation, or housing that working low-income families experience with even a minor rise in earnings.
A guaranteed income pilot that aims to provide unconditional cash relief of $500 to 200 low income working families in Arlington every month for 18 months.
For additional information about Arlington Community Foundation’s economic mobility initiatives, contact Anne Vor der Bruegge, Director of Grants and Initiatives.