Sen. Kaine Tours Woodbridge CRC

Since 2021, VOICE and our key allies have fought hard to bring a Crisis Receiving Center (CRC) to Prince William County to fruition.  It is exciting to see this vital project build such momentum. On March 20, Sen. Tim Kaine, local elected officials, and healthcare professionals toured the new, soon-to-be-established mental health CRC in Prince William County.  

Read more about Monday’s visit here.

Earlier this month the disturbing and tragic law enforcement-involved death of Irvo Otieno at Virginia’s Central State Hospital is yet another reminder of the need to reform the Commonwealth’s mental health system and why law enforcement’s involvement in mental health crises should be limited. This tragedy only highlights the imperative that we move away from a system that relies on jail and emergency rooms toward one of humane treatment and care.

Missing Middle Victory

On March 22, the Arlington County Board unanimously passed one of the most progressive zoning reforms in the nation.  Currently, three-quarters of residential neighborhoods in Arlington are zoned only for the most expensive type of housing—detached single family homes. This historic decision by the Board will legalize “Missing Middle” homes across the county, such as duplexes, townhomes, quads, and sixplexes.

According to Board Chair Christian Dorsey, “By allowing natural increases in the housing supply, we will lower the barriers of entry into all neighborhoods and, in doing so, address the housing crisis and our history of exclusionary zoning head-on.”

VOICE was a major part of the effort to pass Missing Middle and do away with a 90-year exclusionary zoning law that was intended to segregate Black families in Arlington.  We thank our amazing coalition partners, the NAACP of Arlington, YIMBY’s of Northern Virginia, Sierra Club, League of Women Voters, Alliance for Housing Solutions, and several others, for their tireless work over the past year.   

Read VOICE’s full press statement here and check out some the extensive news coverage of the vote: DCist,  The Washington Post,  Business InsiderBlue Virginia News, and The County’s Bulletin

Launching in Alexandria

Twenty leaders from  nine organizations met on March 8 to commit to areas of focus for VOICE-Alexandria in the coming year:  Mental Health, Housing, and  Building Power.  Research/Action teams and a Strategy/CoordinatingTeam were formed and are getting to work to continue research, find allies, and plan  actions.