Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Subsidized Housing Tenants Live Large On Public Dime...

by Mark Weaver

FAIRFAX, Va. -- Resort-style swimming pools with fountains and heated spas, billiards rooms, granite counter tops, ceramic tile, indoor basketball courts, stainless steel appliances -- many Fairfax County taxpayers cannot afford such luxuries.  But they are paying for these amenities for use by low-income residents who live in subsidized housing in affluent neighborhoods.

"They're a part of our rental program where we subsidize the rents for the individuals in the units, and we end up having to pick up the condo fees," supervisor Pat Herrity told 630 WMAL News.

Herrity does not advocate putting low-income residents in "ghetto-style" housing but he takes issue with taxpayers who cannot afford such luxuries being forced to pick up the tab for people who qualify for subsidized housing.

"These are resort-style amenities that the majority of the taxpayers that are subsidizing it don't have on their own," said Herrity, adding that "luxury has no place in subsidized housing."

"If the occupants of these homes improve their lives financially, they will be forced to move out.  And the housing they could afford without the taxpayer subsidy is well below the quality of these homes," he said.

Herrity said Fairfax County should sell subsidized housing units located in affluent neighborhoods and stop paying the condo fees.

"Why would we have taxpayers who are trying to work their way into these neighborhoods pay for somebody else to be put into these neighborhoods," said Herrity.

Examples of Homes and Amenities Provided at Taxpayers' Expense in the County's Rental Program