Inclusion Through Affordable Housing

Carolyn Heap and Dash take a walk through Clarendon’s snowy streets. Carolyn loves living in a walkable, dog-friendly neighborhood.

Carolyn Heap and Dash take a walk through Clarendon’s snowy streets. Carolyn loves living in a walkable, dog-friendly neighborhood.

I grew up in Carroll County, Maryland, which isn't too far away from Arlington. I moved here in 2015 shortly after getting my undergraduate degree, as I'd just been hired at my first full time job in D.C. I started out as a renter (three young professionals in a two-bedroom apartment) in the Courthouse neighborhood at a large apartment building.

I originally moved to Arlington after searching all around the DMV area. I found Arlington to be relatively affordable for the size and quality of amenities in the apartments. I was drawn to the Courthouse area because of its proximity to my office in Farragut Square, and because it's quite walkable. Transit and walkability were (and are) important to me as I don't own a car.

I've stayed in Arlington the past three years for these reasons, but also because of the community I've joined, both through friends and volunteer groups. I've been drawn to the sense of civic engagement I've found—from friends' support for recent immigrant refugee families to AFAC's Plot Against Hunger initiative to bring food to those in need in the county. I've felt a great deal of camaraderie around a desire to create a community that promotes well-being for people from all walks of life.

I love my current apartment! It's a one-bedroom condo in a building very close to the Clarendon metro. I love it firstly because of the neighborly feel—there are regular meetings for committees, but also social events and yoga classes led by one of the residents. The building management and facilities team is awesome—they know everyone and make an effort to be engaged and responsive to all the residents on issues big and small, and to be engaged in things going on in the broader Clarendon community. The location is wonderful for us as well. We're very close to Metro, buses, shopping, restaurants and bars. Plus, both the building and neighborhood are very dog friendly, so it's easy to take our dog, Dash, out for a walk in the nearby park, or in the summer take him when we drop by one of the nearby restaurants with outdoor seating.

I think ethnic, racial, and economic diversity and inclusion make cities and counties more attractive, satisfying and successful places to live. By joining the Arlington For Everyone campaign, I hope to better understand what I can do to help others from lower-income brackets, and from different backgrounds, join or stay in Arlington in the face of rising real estate prices.

I feel very lucky to have been able to move into and stay in the county and want others to have the opportunity to do so as well. Plus, I hope to help engage other young professionals like me who recently moved to the community about ways they can get involved in this issue and spread the word about why I think diversity and inclusion through affordable housing is something we should all advocate!

Written by Carolyn Heaps