The Shared Prosperity Initiative engages leaders from the business, government, and nonprofit sectors to identify opportunities to mitigate displacement of low-income residents and allow these residents to continue to contribute to Arlington’s economic viability and diverse community fabric.
Arlington County is one of the fastest growing communities in the Washington Metropolitan region and is an exemplar of a broader pattern of economic growth enjoyed by our region. Yet, not everyone in Arlington shares in the opportunity to contribute to and benefit from economic growth. Residents are facing mounting pressures, such as the steady decline in affordable housing and overall increases in living expenses. These include our child care and health care workers, office cleaners, and restaurant, retail and construction workers.
About 28,000 individuals in Arlington are trying to make ends meet on $36,000 or less — 30% of our area median income for a family of four. Our safety-net nonprofits and the County work relentlessly with these residents and remind us they are just one emergency away from eviction or job loss.
Today, 12% of Arlington’s population–these lower wage earners and their families–are at high risk of displacement.
Arlington is known for its thoughtful and holistic approach to planning and community engagement, as well as a commitment to preserving the diversity and rich social and cultural fabric of the community. Arlington Community Foundation’s Shared Prosperity Initiative is designed to bring together public and private sector leaders to pursue bold solutions that encourage inclusive economic growth and stop the displacement of our lowest-income residents.
In January 2019, Arlington Community Foundation was named as the lead local partner by the national Shared Prosperity Partnership. The Partnership — a collaboration of Urban Institute, The Kresge Foundation, Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, and Living Cities — convenes local leaders in select communities across the United States to support inclusive growth by providing data, research, and access to national experts, networks, and financial resources.
Four primary factors drive our lowest-income residents from the community:
All of these issues, separately and when taken together, represent the crushing pressures and impossible trade-offs that our low-income neighbors face every day as they try to keep a foothold in Arlington.
Since the spring 2019 Shared Prosperity kick-off event, Arlington Community Foundation has worked with urgency to refine the strategies discussed at the roundtable and take bold near-term steps in three key areas to reduce this displacement: more deeply affordable housing and child care and increased workforce and wage opportunities. While we are working on longer term solutions, we have called on local government and businesses to go beyond business as usual in two ways: 1) through an infusion of resources and by 2) changing local practices over the next five years to stem the displacement. Click here to see our targets in these areas.
These intractable issues will not be solved overnight. As we design a way forward together, we hope we can count on you to be a part of the solution. Check back often for updates and developments in this work as we forge ahead.
To make a donation to the Shared Prosperity Fund, click here.
Any questions, suggestions or comments about the Shared Prosperity Initiative can be emailed to Anne Vor der Bruegge, Director of Grants and Initiatives by clicking here.