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Alexandria Housing Authority Resources: Growing and Shrinking
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Alexandria Housing Authority Resources: Growing and Shrinking

Trends indicated in financial and other records.

Change in Net Position: “Net position” is the reporting entity’s bottom line — the difference between all assets and deferred outflows and all liabilities and deferred inflows, including long-term debt and non-monetary capital assets (land, buildings, etc.). “Over time, increases and decreases in Net Position serve as a useful indicator of whether the financial position of the Authority is improving or deteriorating,” according to ARHA’s financial statements.

Change in Net Position: “Net position” is the reporting entity’s bottom line — the difference between all assets and deferred outflows and all liabilities and deferred inflows, including long-term debt and non-monetary capital assets (land, buildings, etc.). “Over time, increases and decreases in Net Position serve as a useful indicator of whether the financial position of the Authority is improving or deteriorating,” according to ARHA’s financial statements.

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Total Revenues and Expenses: These data derive from the Statement of Revenues, Expenses, and Changes in Fund Net Position in each of the annual audited financial statements. For comparison, inflation was 19 percent over the same time period. Asked why tenant revenues have increased 61 percent over 10 years, the administration said: “Tenant revenues are increasing because the percentage of occupied units has increased, and HUD issues an FMR [fair market rent] schedule on an annual basis. There have also been increases in the level of resident income during this period that can account for an increase in resident payments.” Asked why administrative costs have increased 71 percent over 10 years, the administration said: “ARHA operates within the funding provided by HUD and other sources within the annual budget as approved by the ARHA Board. … We cannot comment on other Housing Authority operating funding or expenses. ARHA’s overall budget is based on the available funding. Income/expense may increase or decrease annually based on the level of grant funding and tenant income being received. During the 10-year period ARHA demolished, rebuilt and acquired various properties which would have an impact on all aspects of the budget.”

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Public Housing Specific Revenues: Asked to reconcile its public narrative about declining subsidies with a 26 percent increase in total grants/subsidies over 10 years, ARHA’s administration said: “ARHA’s narrative of declining subsidies is related to the Public Housing Operating Subsidy only. … Other subsidy received is restricted to each HUD Program and cannot be commingled. For example, Public Housing operating subsidy is restricted to only the Public Housing Program and Housing Choice [“Section 8”] Voucher subsidy is restricted to only the HCV Program.”

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Anticipated Public Housing Capital Needs: “Capital needs total $55 million of the next 20 years,” said ARHA’s administration in September. That’s $2.8 million per year, on average.

These graphs illustrate certain trends relating to the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA). The data were gathered over several months, especially through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for numerous documents. This is the first in a series about information gleaned from these records.

ARHA administers federal low-income housing programs — namely, public housing and “Section 8” vouchers — locally. City Council appoints ARHA’s commissioners, who serve 4-year terms and together comprise ARHA’s governing board. But otherwise, ARHA is independently governed.

Records obtained include 10 years of audited financial statements and monthly board reports; “completed contracts and transactions” related to the redevelopments of Chatham Square and Old Town Commons, two of ARHA’s recently redeveloped Old Town properties, as required by the Code of Virginia; and certain annual reports filed with HUD. The Gazette Packet converted these documents into text-searchable electronic formats and furnished them back to ARHA, with the expressed hope that ARHA would post them, and continue to post such documents, publicly on its web site.

Requested records also included an annual report of activities to the city clerk, required by the Code of Virginia; annual operating and capital budget documents; and any “performance audit” and/or “review of ARHA operations, which would include findings and recommendations,” which, if performed, must be forwarded to the city, according to a 2008 memorandum of understanding (MOU). The ARHA administration says it hasn’t filed reports with the city clerk, but will do so going forward. It says operating and capital budget documents are not prepared separately, but are included in the monthly board reports. And it says that any performance audit that would pertain to its MOU with the city was “never performed.”

Answering a subsequent request, ARHA has also agreed to provide its employee pay scales; those documents haven’t yet been received.