A Message from the Executive Director
It Takes a Community to Restore a Community
Happy 2021! This past year wasn’t easy, but it was inspiring. While we still have a lot of work to do, I am so humbled by what I’ve seen so far. This community has redefined resilience and what it means to support healthy, thriving communities. As we move forward, I am hopeful we come through this stronger than before. We are resolved to help the families of Community Lodgings and all residents of Chirilagua thrive.
Community Lodgings recently attended an important virtual meeting with The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia (“the Community Foundation”) that addressed the “unequal burden” that low-income immigrant families experience in Northern Virginia as they struggle to meet their basic needs. “This is a problem,” the Community Foundation notes, “that requires a community response, and the first step is to build community knowledge.” To this end, we share some of their key findings with you in our feature article. Their solution to NOVA’s critical burden? All of us must come together to achieve both short and long-term solutions.
Thanks to you, the families we serve in Chirilagua are pulling through these challenging times and moving towards a healthy, thriving community with renewed hope. Your gifts are enabling the kids in CLI’s Youth Education Program to advance academically and emotionally; helping families in our Affordable Housing Program to keep food on the table and get back to work; and assisting families in our Transitional Housing Program as they learn the principles of self-sufficiency and move into permanent housing. With your continuing support, the Chirilagua community will come out of the COVID-19 pandemic stronger and more able to meet their “unequal burden” in the future.
Seeing Hope Everywhere You Look!
Did You Know?
With help from the City of Alexandria Department of Community and Human Services, ACT for Alexandria, and our wonderful donors and supporters from the community, Community Lodgings has distributed over $250,000 worth of gift cards to families in need since March, 2020.
Community Lodgings maintains 45 affordable apartments for low-income families, of which 5 are set aside for families who come to us directly from shelters and housing instability. Most of our resident families of 4+ live on $25,000 a year.
We recently attended a conference where the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia presented their report on the severe housing cost burden. We want to share a selection of their key findings with you.
Low-Income Northern Virginians Face the Country’s Most Severe Housing Cost Burden
Compared to other large metro areas, Northern Virginia has the highest rate of severe housing cost burden among households earning less than 200 percent of federal poverty (about $50,000 for a family of four) in the country…. In the short-term, families experiencing severe housing burden will likely need to “cut corners” elsewhere—eating less, asking a relative for help watching their children, delaying medical care, or skipping a payment—and many will be pushed into needing public or informal assistance.
Racial and ethnic minorities and immigrant communities experience severe housing burden at higher rates nationally and in Northern Virginia…over half (57 percent) of severely housing burdened households were headed by an individual who was not white. Larger gaps than the national average [are] observed for Hispanic and immigrant households in Northern Virginia.
These individuals and families are experiencing shelter poverty, a condition where the high cost of housing makes it difficult to pay for other essentials without cutting corners, relying on informal or public assistance, and falling deeper into debt.
Coming Together Around Short-Term and Long-Term Solutions
The most immediate, ongoing need in the community is for poverty relief and emergency assistance to individuals and families who just cannot make ends meet—making sure all residents of Northern Virginia have the food, medicine, internet access, child care, and dependent care to survive, along with a roof over their heads.
We also need solutions that support long-term economic mobility and wealth creation through education, training, and employment, helping residents move out of poverty, save money, and achieve complete economic mobility.