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HCA to build net-zero affordable home

HCA walk 2023

The following plea from Erica Schwarz, executive director of the Housing Corporation of Arlington (HCA), provided what she calls "small news -- but very exciting."

HCA plans to build an affordable accessory dwelling unit behind the two-family home the nonproifit owns on Dorothy Road.But this could represent more than just one affordable home.

In addition, the HCA continues its year-end appeal until Dec. 31, so please donate today.

The HCA is developing a net-zero, all-electric, passive-house-certified affordable home.

This 900-square foot, two-bedroom rental home will be built in a micro factory in Massachusetts and will be installed behind the HCA's existing two-family home on Dorothy Road.

Dorothy Road property

[These drawings and renderings are not final. Colors, finishes and other elements may still change.]

At first, it may seem like we are just developing one unit of affordable housing -- a fraction of a drop in the ocean compared to what's needed in this housing crisis.

But this home could serve as a model for future development. The company providing the home, Reframe Systems, is working to develop a lower cost way to create high-quality, energy-efficient modular homes.

We could use this product to create more affordable housing in the future. This model may help us create housing at a lower cost than traditional construction, while still creating beautiful, sustainable, affordable homes for Arlington families. 

We expect the Dorothy Road project to be completed in early spring 2024, when we will also identify a qualified household to lease the home. We will let you know when it's time for the ribbon cutting.


We still need your help during the year-end appeal

Nearly 40 percent of HCA's annual budget comes from grassroots donations from our local community.

To meet our 2023 budget, we still need to raise $14,000 by Dec. 31.

Please give as generously as you can today to make sure we fill this gap!


A donor has challenged HCA to raise $15,000 by Dec. 31, but only from:

Returning donors who have not given since 2021


New donors who have never given.

If that's you, please donate now to double the value of your gift. We still have $5,000 to go in order to meet the match.

Need a reminder of what your donation will do?

Existing Affordable Housing: We will continue to own and lease 150 affordable apartments throughout Arlington to low-income families and individuals. 

New Affordable Housing: We will continue advancing a 43-unit development for 10 Sunnyside Ave. In the coming year we will also seek new sites where we can create more affordable housing  via new construction or acquisition of existing buildings. 

Homelessness Prevention: HCA will continue to help families fight against possible homelessness by providing grants for back rent, security deposit, or moving expenses. This program has seen increased demand since COVID-era benefits ended earlier this year.

Social Services: HCA will continue to support HCA tenants and any other community member with services to help them remain stable and housed. This includes housing search, signing up for food benefits or social security, helping to resolve conflicts with other landlords, and referrals for many other services. 

Civic Engagement & Leadership: HCA will continue to support the Tenant Council Leadership Group in building a Tenant Council for all of HCA’s tenants. The council will create greater community, improve property management, and develop leaders who understand the housing issue. HCA will also help our tenants and others impacted by the housing crisis to raise their voice on local issues.  

May 8, 2023: ZBA weighed 10 Sunnyside Ave. project in May 


This opinion column was published Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023.

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Friday, 19 July 2024

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