Victory Achieved: Z4H Unanimously Approved – A Win for VOICE and Allies!

We’re thrilled to share groundbreaking news! VOICE, alongside dedicated allies, is celebrating the unanimous approval of the Zoning for Housing (Z4H) initiative by the Alexandria City Council! This historic win not only underscores the transformative power of community organizing but also places VOICE at the forefront of shaping a more inclusive and compassionate Alexandria. Check out this Washington Post and WUSA9 coverage of this 1am decision.

A heartfelt salute to the tireless efforts of the VOICE leaders and our impassioned allies whose critical support provided the necessary foundation for this unanimous decision. As expressed by VOICE leader Marsha Rhea, “Our collective work is an extension of our belief in creating communities that prioritize the well-being of all.” This victory is a significant stride in ending exclusionary zoning practices rooted in racism, strategically addressing the housing crisis from the supply side. We especially celebrate the opportunities for increased deeply affordable housing!

Our commitment to housing justice remains unwavering, and we, alongside our allies, will persist in organizing within the community in the new year during the city council election season to ensure housing justice remains a top priority. For those eager to learn more or get involved, please don’t hesitate to reach out! VOICE is leading the way to a future where housing is equitable and accessible for all!

Arlington After School Programs

Arlington County, like much of our region, has recently experienced an alarming rise in serious substance abuse and overdose deaths among teens, including two overdose deaths that occurred with students from the same high school.

In response, this fall VOICE leaders held face-to-face conversations with over 200 Arlington middle and high school students to better understand the crisis and identify potential solutions. A top issue that emerged from our listening work was the need to create affordable, accessible, and engaging after-school activities. 

VOICE and a group of close allies created a proposal for the county to provide school-based after-school programs targeted at students with the greatest needs. Last week, the County Board voted to allocate $750,000 to fund new after-school programs this school year, a major accomplishment.  

We thank the County Board for its bold commitment to Arlington’s youth, as well as key allies, the Arlington branch of the NAACP and  the Arlington Schools Hispanic Parents Association.

$15M Win in Fairfax

We are delighted to share that, following a recent meeting with Jeff McKay, Chair of the Fairfax Board of County Supervisors, Chair McKay confirmed that the county has approved $15 million in one-time funds to develop a youth-focused Crisis Receiving Center.  Combined with the funding committed to the 23-hour adult recliners, the total commitment from the county is over $20 million.

For well over a year, the leaders of VOICE Fairfax have been working tirelessly to secure funding for a comprehensive mental health and addiction Crisis Receiving Center within the county. This action fulfills a commitment made by Chair McKay during our 500-person behavioral health assembly last year. It marks a significant step forward in providing essential mental health resources to our community. Further details about this groundbreaking project will be public in the coming weeks.

We deeply thank Chair McKay for his leadership, as well as the entire Fairfax Board of County Supervisors!