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Master's Research Project (Professional Report)

Analysis of Current Affordable Housing Strategies within Fairfax County and Perceived Barriers to Creating Affordable Options

Students: Pamela Pineros
Chair: Dr. Azza Kamal, LEED AP ND
Co-Chair: Thomas Hawkins, JD
Research: Analysis of Current Affordable Housing Strategies within Fairfax County and Perceived Barriers to Creating Affordable Options

Semester/Year: Fall 2022

Due to the prolonged housing crisis and lack of affordable solutions, households across the country are experiencing financial challenges. While housing costs continue to rise, salaries fail to keep pace. Affordability is a big worry for low- and middle-income renters who are unable to locate cheap alternatives in locations with vibrant labor markets, and the options they can afford have substantial repercussions. The demand for additional affordable housing alternatives affects not only small or disadvantaged cities, but even counties like Fairfax. Currently, Fairfax County has high average incomes, high median gross rents, and a rising population. As rents continue to climb, there are insufficient affordable housing alternatives for the approximately 6% of its residents who live in poverty, and those with moderate incomes struggle to find something affordable.


This research aims to perform a deeper analysis of the housing affordability problem in Fairfax County by addressing the following questions: What plans does Fairfax County have to incorporate more affordable housing for the future and what possible issues could have led to the ongoing need? In addition, how can Fairfax County look to other cities to assist in their affordable housing plan for more affordable housing options?


The study will be undertaken with the aid of a comprehensive literature review and case studies of comparable cities in order to gain a better understanding of potential barriers to affordable housing and how other cities have developed innovative affordable housing policies to address them. The results demonstrate Fairfax County's present collaboration with numerous county-level key actors to develop four new affordable housing programs. By assessing the present housing plans, doing research, and reviewing case studies, the recommendations for Fairfax County have demonstrated a great deal of success for other cities in comparable circumstances, and might be implemented there as well.

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