Arlington group asks to use free land for housing

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - An interfaith group is calling for Arlington County to use publicly owned land to develop more affordable housing.

The group Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement tells The Washington Post that Arlington in particular needs 1,000 to 1,500 new affordable housing units in the next five years.

Kathleen O'Toole, an organizer with the group, says the only way to significantly reduce the cost of housing is to use free land.

The group says the county needs more housing for families with incomes that fall below 60 percent of the average median income. That's about $63,000 for a family of four. Those income levels often include beginning teachers, public employees and retail and restaurant employees.

In the past decade, northern Virginia has lost tens of thousands of affordable apartments.