After its candidates forum on May 19 at Bethlehem Baptist Church, VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement) issued the following policy statement demanding action on specific solutions to move Fairfax County closer to the aspirational goal of “One Fairfax.”
I. ENSURE THAT THE CHILDREN OF FAIRFAX COUNTY HAVE AN EQUITABLE STARTING POINT IN LIFE.
Thousands of VOICE leaders have said for them this means Pre-K, access to quality after-school and summer programming, investment in the sorely neglected Gum Springs Community Center that is a vital hub, and an increase in school mental health workers.
Establish quality after-school & summer programming at Title One Schools and at the Gum Springs Community Center.
Provide Pre-K for all Fairfax 4-year-olds from low-income families.
II. KEEP FAMILIES & COMMUNITIES TOGETHER.
Fairfax must raise its affordable housing fund to $60M in new monies over the next 4 years, and then to $120M in the next 10 years to ensure communities that have lived here for decades can continue to afford to do so and to allow for anticipated population growth. In order for Fairfax County to meet its own stated affordable housing goals of 15,000 new units of affordable housing, it must increase new dollars to at least $100 million a year.
Keep families together by making sure Fairfax immigrant residents have access to legal representation. Grow the current fund from $200,000 to the needed $875,000 per year. Immigrant Fairfax residents with access to legal representation are 10 times more likely to not be separated from their families.
III. ENSURE THAT THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED TIME ARE NOT PUNISHED FOR THE REST OF TIME.
Fairfax County needs to be smart and make sure Returning Citizens can get jobs to support themselves and be engaged fully in daily life.
VOICE is a multi-faith, nonpartisan citizen’s power organization representing more than 200,000 families in Northern Virginia and is affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation, a citizens’ organizing network. See www.voice-iaf.org.