main banner

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Local church considering plan for affordable housing



First Christian Church in Seven Corners is considering various options for using some of its vacant property for projects to serve the community, such as affordable housing.

First Christian has a total of 6.8 acres, including the church building, at 6165 Leesburg Pike. The church is preparing to send out an “invitation for proposals” to community groups and developers for worthwhile projects for its unused property. The goal is to provide a steady stream of income for the church, as well as serve a community need.  


At a community meeting for nearby residents earlier this month, church officials presented several options, including affordable rental housing possibly targeted to a specific population, such as families, veterans, seniors, or the homeless; transitional housing for people leaving homelessness along with services for tenants; or rental housing for seniors with a major healthcare component, such as an assisted living facility.

The transitional housing would serve tenants for one to three years and would include services to help people move to self sufficiency, such as job skills training or life skills training along with services for children such as daycare or an after-school program.

First Christian’s definition of “affordable” is housing that would serve people with incomes up to 60 percent of the area median income.The church might partner with an organization that had experience operating affordable housing, such as Homestretch or Volunteers of America.

The church is sharing its ideas with local residents, because “we want to be transparent in this process,” says Rev. Kathleen Moore. “It’s about what the community needs.”   

Moore is leaving the church after serving as senior minister for 13 years so she can spend more time with her own family. She also plans to be an advocate for the homeless in “a significant way.”

“The church is in really good hands,” she says. “We are not a dying church.” First Christian’s land use committee will continue to work on finding a suitable project for the excess land. Moore predicts it will be at least five years before they break ground. 

First Christian has for years played an active role in helping the homeless. As part of its Safe Haven program, the church hosts about 120 homeless people and day laborers for breakfast and lunch every Thursday. During the winter, the church serves meals to the needy twice a week. The program also provides clothing, haircuts, English classes, and other services to community members in need.

The new project will not affect First Christian’s agreement to let worshipers at the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque across the street use their parking lot. “That is a commitment that will remain,” Moore says.

9 comments:

  1. This seems like a win-win for the relocation of the Baileys Crossroads Homeless shelter!! Has onyone mentioned this to Penny?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You could say the topic came up: http://annandaleva.blogspot.com/2016/02/an-open-letter-to-mason-district.html

      Delete
  2. Would the rental units be exempt from real estate taxes since the church is a non profit?

    ReplyDelete
  3. There is a need for affordable housing for seniors. Other affordable housing and transitional housing just duplicates what the county and other providers are already doing.

    Seniors are being ignored. I hope the FCC will step up and fill the gap for the low income seniors. Culpepper Garden in Arlington is a good example of a low income senior housing. It is sponsored by a Unitarian Church.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for mentioning them! Officially, it's the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Arlington, and they are the ones who founded the facility back in the 70s. The property itself was donated by a member of the congregation. Throughout the years, church members have continued to support the housing at Culpepper Gardens, through both financial donations and volunteer activities. The program has actually won some awards for things like the quality of care and innovation.

      I hope I'll have enough money to take care of myself in my senior years, but if I don't, I'd be comfortable putting myself in their hands.

      Delete
  4. Anonymous at 12:06 AM is correct. More seniors, who have worked hard their whole lives and lived in Fairfax County are having to move because of increased taxes and their limited income. Let's give them the respect they deserve. I suspect many raised their children in Fairfax County; sent them to FCPS; and contributed in other ways to the County.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The church was clear in its presentation to community groups that it will be looking for the best opportunity to serve the community--there are many needs, and no desire to provide something unneeded.

      As far as "Let's give them the respect they deserve," I'm not sure where that comment comes from. If you're a member of that church, you know that seniors, children, people of all ages/races/orientations are appreciated and respected there. And if you're not a member of the church--well, I'm not sure it's your role to insinuate that a decision other than senior housing would be disrespectful to seniors.

      Delete
  5. Give me a freaking break. Seniors are not being ignored in Mason District. We probably have the highest concentration of senior homes in the whole county. We don't need more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spoken like an arrogant little "young f@rt." You should hope that you either die young, or that whoever ends up wiping your wrinkled old behind has more respect for their elders than you do.

      Irony can be pretty cruel, honey.

      Delete