The Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) was established on June 27, 1939 by City Ordinance and Mayoral appointment of a five member Board of Commissioners, in accordance with Virginia enabling legislation. The first low-rent housing units were occupied in 1941. The primary purposes of the Authority as stated in its By-Law documents are listed below.
The general purpose of the Authority shall be to maintain, preserve and provide safe, decent, sanitary and affordable housing for low income and low moderate income families, through the reorganizing, alteration, reconstruction and/or redevelopment of areas in which unsanitary and unsafe conditions exist, and all other purposes as are now or may hereafter be set forth in the Housing Authority Law, Chapter 1, Title 36 of the Code of Virginia of 1950, as amended and herein after referred to as "the Act", and:
- To administer and operate the Public Housing Program under the Asset Management model for persons in the low income and low moderate income brackets, in accordance with state and federal statutes and regulations prescribed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
- To administer the tenant based Housing Choice Voucher Programs for persons in the low and moderate income brackets, in accordance with state and federal Statutes and regulations prescribed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
- To administer and operate Moderate Rehabilitation Programs for project-based subsidies in privately owned properties, operated and maintained by ARHA.
- To administer and operate Low Income Housing Tax Credit properties for low income and low moderate income families, owned, operated and maintained by ARHA.
ARHA is governed by a nine-member Board of Commissioners which is appointed by the Alexandria City Council to staggered four-year terms.
One Commissioner serves as the representative of the City's Landlord Tenant Relations Board, and one Commissioner serves as the representative of the residents of ARHA's public housing units. The Board has one staff position, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)\ Executive Director. The CEO has a Deputy Executive Director, an Executive Secretary and four top-level staff persons whom report directly to him.
The officials of ARHA are known as commissioners or, collectively, as the board of commissioners. Commissioners are appointed in accordance with state housing law and generally serve in the same capacity as the directors of a corporation, establishing policies under which the ARHA conducts business, ensuring that policies are followed by ARHA staff and ensuring that the ARHA is successful in its mission. The board is responsible for establishing policies preserving and expanding the agency's resources and assuring the agency's continued viability.
Formal actions of the ARHA are taken through written resolutions, adopted by the board of commissioners and entered into the official records of the ARHA.
The principal staff member of the ARHA is the Executive Director (ED), hired and appointed by the board of commissioners. The executive director is directly responsible for carrying out the policies established by the commissioners and is delegated the responsibility for hiring, training and supervising the remainder of the ARHA's staff in order to manage the day-to-day operations of the ARHA to ensure compliance with federal and state laws and directives for the programs managed.. In addition, the executive director's duties include budgeting and financial planning for the agency.
The agency is divided into five functional areas: Asset Management, Development, Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP), Facilities & Modernization, and Finance. Four of the department heads report directly to the Chief Executive Officer, Asset Management staff report to the Deputy Executive Director.
Asset Management oversees the public housing program. The Deputy Executive Director oversees the Asset Management staff which includes
a Tax Credit Specialist and 3 Property Managers (PM); each PM is assigned to one of three regional areas containing Asset Management Projects (AMPs) and each oversees the staff assigned to their individual AMP including Leasing Occupancy Specialists, site-based Maintenance Technicians and Laborers, and various social services staff depending on the needs of the population that AMP its servicing.
The Department of Development oversees the planning and implementation of all of the agency's redevelopment efforts. ARHA also has the legislative authority to issue Multi-Family Private Activity Bonds for its jurisdiction and any jurisdiction that does not have its own legislative authority and who approves ARHA as the issuing agency. The department also monitors compliance with the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) tax credit rules, during the funding application development phases which take place prior to the turnover of new tax credit financed units to Asset Management division. Staff includes a Director and one Real Estate Project Manager.
The Development Department established as VHD,LLC has been responsible for the development of several new and redeveloped affordable housing units through the use of mixed income housing tax credits in the city of Alexandria including Quaker Hill, Old Town Commons, and Glebe Park.
The Section 8 Tenant-based Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) assistance program is funded by the federal government and administered by the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority for the jurisdiction of the City of Alexandria.
The Housing and Community Development (HCD) Act of 1974 created a new federally assisted housing program – the Section 8 Existing program (also known as the Section 8 Certificate program). The HCD Act represented a significant shift in federal housing strategy from locally owned public housing to privately owned rental housing.
Under the Certificate program, federal housing assistance payments were made directly to private owners of rental housing. Eligible families were able to select housing in the private rental market. Assuming that the housing met certain basic physical standards of quality ("housing quality standards") and was within certain HUD-established rent limitations ("fair market rents"), the family would be able to receive rental assistance in the housing unit. Family contribution to rent was generally set at 30 percent of the family's adjusted income, with the remainder of the rent paid by the program.
Another unique feature of the Certificate program was that the rental assistance remained with the eligible family, if the family chose to move to another privately-owned rental unit that met program requirements (in contrast to the public housing program where the rental assistance remains with the unit, should the family decide to move). Consequently, the Certificate program was characterized as tenant-based assistance, rather than unit-based assistance.
The Housing and Community Development (HCD) Act of 1987 authorized a new version of tenant-based assistance – the Section 8 Voucher program. The Voucher program was very similar to the Certificate program in that eligible families were able to select housing in the private rental market and receive assistance in that housing unit.
However, the Voucher program permitted families more options in housing selection. Rental housing still had to meet the basic housing quality standards, but there was no fair market rent limitation on rent. In addition, family contribution to rent was not set at a limit of 30 percent of adjusted income. Consequently, depending on the actual rental cost of the unit selected, a family might pay more or less than 30 percent of their adjusted income for rent. Currently ARHA is authorized to administer 1722 units of housing choice vouchers. These are located throughout the city serving many families in privately assisted rental housing.
The Department of Facilities and Modernization The Department of Facilities and Modernization is responsible for the Central Facilities functions and the Authority's Modernization Program. All central facilities activities, including specialized trades such as Electrical, Heating, Ventilation and Air Condition (HVAC), as well as technical support to the Property Managers overseeing the operations and management of the Asset Management Projects (AMP's) are provided by the central facilities department This department also responsible for oversight of all modernization activities related to the Capital Fund Program (CFP) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The department is staffed by the Director Facilities and Modernization Director, one Facilities Coordinator, one Modernization Coordinator, one HVAC Technician, and one Electrician.
The Modernization Coordinator, who assists in the monitoring and performance of the activities related to CFP and the ARRA programs, supervises a Force Account crew. There are approximately eight force account crew positions ranging from skilled labor to laborer/helper.
Services provided to the AMPs are provided by the central facilities department as a fee for service.
In addition, this department oversees the management of the authority's Fleet which includes approximately twenty eight trucks and vehicles used by maintenance, modernization and administrative staff.
The department is also responsible for the implementation and oversight of all the Modernization activities of the agency related to the Capital Fund Program (CFP) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). A range of other technical and professional services are provided within the organization to implement and support energy conservation programs, green building initiatives, redevelopment activities, construction management and other capital improvement activities.
Some of these services are provided through ARHA Construction Enterprise (ACE), a Limited Liability Partnership fully owned by ARHA (see link for more information)
The Department of Finance is responsible for all tasks related to the finance and administration of the agency. The department is currently staffed by the Director of Finance, one Comptroller, one HCV/Tenant Accountant, one Accounts Payable Clerk, one Purchasing Agent, one Grants Accountant, one MIS Manager, and Payroll /HR Assistant. ARHA operates an annual budget of approximately 33.4 million dollars with most of this provided through federal funding by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).