Bringing Heat to Fairmont

Fairmont Gardens

On December 23 during those incredibly cold days, VOICE learned that there were families who lived at Fairmont Gardens who did not have heat. This is an apartment complex that a few VOICE congregations have done some work with in the past but especially Emmaus United Church of Christ. 

VOICE reached out to legislators’ offices. One staff member from Sen. Warner’s office got back to us within an hour and made sure someone was taking care of it.

The principal of a school where these families’ children attend wrote, “Thank you for your partnership.  You are part of our caring culture and the work we do to ensure our families needs are met so our students can thrive at school.”


Missing Middle Action

VOICE Arlington leaders and allies turned out 266 strong from 16 member and allied institutions on Nov. 17th to show support for a proposed Missing Middle Housing plan to remove long standing exclusionary zoning restrictions limiting more than ¾ of residential land to single-family homes only. Missing Middle Housing are homes that fall in between detached single family homes and large apartment complexes, such as duplexes, triplexes, townhomes, etc.  

The VOICE assembly, which filled the sanctuary of the Universalist Unitarian Church of Arlington, capped months of intensive listening by VOICE leaders in group workshops and one-on-one conversations on the streets of Arlington. Support for this “gentle” housing density to allow more people, including historically excluded people of color, to access homes is a logical next step in VOICE’s 14-year campaign to ensure housing opportunities for families across the income spectrum.

With singing, a powerful homily about the prophetic mandate to “welcome the stranger,” a Missing Middle Housing 101 tutorial with props, and stories illustrating the need for more housing, participants on stage moved County Board members Christian Dorsey and Libby Garvey to declare support for substantial change; they did not specify what that should look like. VOICE and allies at the assembly, including the NAACP, YIMBYs, and League of Women Voters, among others, want the County Board to vote early in 2023 to allow multifamily structures of up to 8 units on the same footprint as a single-family home. We’re asking for enough flexibility in the new zoning language to enable the Missing Middle Housing plan to meet its goals of increasing housing supply and diversity and encouraging greater affordability, environmental sustainability, and economic vitality.

Crisis Receiving Centers Update

On December 4, 500 VOICE leaders representing 40 faith communities filled Trinity Presbyterian Church in Herndon and demanded action to fund Crisis Receiving Centers in Northern VA. Chairs Jeff McKay (Fairfax) and Ann Wheeler (Prince William) attended and committed to working closely with VOICE.
On December 15, Governor Glenn Youngkin unveiled his three-year plan to transform Virginia’s behavioral health system, entitled “Right Help, Right Now.”   Included in the Governor’s budget is $58 million to increase the number of Crisis Receiving Centers and Crisis Stabilization Units, fully-funding the number of necessary centers in Southwest Virginia and Hampton Roads