Housing Needs in Fairfax County

Sep 30, 2016

by David Levine, President/CEO

This week, our staff participated in a number of progress reports from the County.  Of the many reports on human services and housing needs, the most comprehensive was the 2016 Human Services Needs Assessment.

In the summary, you will find that from 2005 to 2014, the average monthly rent in Fairfax County climbed from $1,202 to $1,640, or 36 percent.  Also, as of 2014, some 180,000 individuals were living at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL).

It is commonly thought nationwide that households need to be at 200 percent of the FPL ($47,700 for a family of four) to have any hope — any chance — of affording rental housing. But in Fairfax County, an affordable housing unit on a household income of $47,700 would have to cost no more than $1,193 every month (where the family pays no more than 30 percent of its income toward rent).

Still, that affordable rent is only 72 percent of the average monthly rent in the County. That means affordable housing is scarce.  It means, too, that many families, if housed, are living on the knife’s edge because of their large rent burden every month.