The Washington Area Housing Trust Fund has approved its first loan. The Island Walk Cooperative, a 102-unit limited equity Section 8 cooperative in Reston, VA, has received $150,000 for predevelopment of the property. Originally developed by Fairfax County in 1979, and controlled by its Board of Directors, the complex has seen substantial deterioration in recent years.
The property is in an upscale neighborhood in the planned community of Reston, Virginia, where the demand for market rate housing would be strong in the event the project failed as affordable housing (not a likely prospect, but one to be considered in assessing loan risk). The project will save 102 units of at-risk affordable housing in a wealthy area of Fairfax County where affordable housing is in great demand and very difficult to develop. It has the added benefit of home ownership, as residents exercise their purchase option at the end of the tax credit compliance period (15 years). Island Walk provides resident services such as youth clubs and there are plans to expand this element of community benefit.
The Washington Area Housing Trust Fund is a regional trust fund that will be used for pre-development, new construction, rehabilitation, bridge financing, and down payment and closing cost assistance. The Fund's goals are to: 1) increase and preserve the Washington region's supply of affordable homes by providing loans, grants, and equity investments to locally supported affordable housing developments; 2) increase the visibility of affordable housing by engaging new corporate champions; 3) help educate the region about affordable housing needs and opportunities; and 4) encourage balanced growth by placing priority on increasing and preserving the supply of affordable housing near job and transportation centers.