I’m a Haitian-American young woman who grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Arlington for work about six years ago when my son was one.
Because of my skin color, people thought I’d like to be in Maryland, since there were more resources out there for black and brown folks, but I hated the suburb life. I’m a city girl. Once I heard a woodpecker and crickets, that’s all it took to get the heck out of there!
I didn’t know anything about Northern Virginia when I moved here. At the time my husband and I were working with a family friend who told us about an apartment in Pentagon City. We went to a high rise, and both felt like, “this is it,” so we signed a lease. At first, I didn’t even realize we had signed a lease in Arlington.
It was a perfect landing spot for our family. We moved with no car, but we were by a metro station, an urgent care, a playground, and a supermarket. It felt like a mini New York City neighborhood to us.
Convenience has played a big part in staying in Arlington. I work in downtown D.C. a lot, and travel for work. Living in the RiverHouse apartments just off South Pentagon Row means I can get home to my family from downtown or the airport in a decent amount of time and not get stuck, or go crazy, in this ridiculous traffic.
South Arlington is super diverse and that is also an attraction for me, as are the parks and variety of options for families and kids. I grew up in New York City where everything costs an arm, leg, and your whole body to get by. There are so many good affordable programs for kids here that were never available for me growing up.
What really sold me on staying was the public-school system here in Arlington. We are lucky to have our son attend one of the best public elementary schools in the entire county, Arlington Traditional School.
Housing affordability is a personal subject for me. I love New York, but it swallows your paycheck whole. We had to leave for a better opportunity because even though I had a decent job we struggled with paying rent. In comparison, Arlington was more affordable.
Now it makes sense for me to invest in home ownership, but affordability is a real issue when you’re a first-time home buyer and don’t classify as rich. In North Arlington houses go for a million dollars. Homes less than that are sold in seconds once they’re on the market. I couldn’t match the competition since I didn’t have the “million-dollar bucks” to make an offer. Thankfully, I’m currently working on closing on a home with the help of government loans, but it wasn’t an easy process. There weren’t a lot of options to choose from, and I know I could get a home further out in Virginia, but why get pushed out of a county that would provide a better quality of life for your child?
I love Arlington and it is my home. However, if the housing prices continue to rise, my fear is that it will drive low income and middle-class families further away. I imagine the lack of affordable housing could potentially push out black and brown residents who are doing everything they can to hold on to their homes and not be driven away by developers. That’s why the Alliance for Housing Solutions caught my eye.
For Arlington to continue to be a diverse, vibrant community there needs to be consideration for all people who have called this place home.
As told by Regina (Luzincourt) Eberhart
Arlington for Everyone Campaign Principles
We support an Arlington for Everyone, in which people from all walks of life are welcomed to live and fully participate in our community.
We believe that Arlington is a greater place because of its openness to inclusivity and dedication to social and economic diversity.
We recognize that creating and maintaining a variety of housing options and a commitment to long-term affordability in Arlington is essential to this diversity.