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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The Washington, D.C. metro area doesn't have enough affordable housing to meet the needs of its current workforce, and urban leaders fear 25,000 more workers flooding into the area to work at Amazon's new Arlington headquarters will exacerbate the problem.

Why it matters: This was the top concern raised at a recent Axios Expert Voices event on economic issues in D.C. It's already one of the most expensive cities in the country, with high housing prices and a tight labor market. Property rates are expected to rise as demand increases with the influx of new workers, which could push lower-income residents out and worsen the existing economic disparities.

The big picture: The response to Amazon's new headquarters, to be located just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., was mixed. While some locals are excited about the promise of new jobs, others dread the strain those jobs will put on local schools, transportation systems and housing supply.

By the numbers:

  • Washington, D.C. is the fifth most expensive U.S. city, according to an Inc. ranking. It takes an annual income of about $90,000 to live comfortably, and residents' median income is nearly $73,000.
  • The average monthly housing cost for a family of 4 in the metro area is $1,693, according to USA Today. In Washington, D.C. itself, typical rents run about $2,170 a month, per Inc.
  • Last year, Washington D.C. attracted an average of 800 new residents each month, according to the mayor's office.

What they're saying:

  • Local businesses should pitch in. "If it's not a community-wide and business responsibility, then it's no one's responsibility," said Sunia Zaterman, executive director of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities.
  • Amazon should invest in affordable housing. "Affordable housing is a crisis here in the D.C. metro area," said Deborah Snyder, president and CEO of Operation Renewed Hope Foundation, which helps homeless veterans. She said she's "concerned people are going to jack up the prices just because Amazon is coming in."
  • The region needs a strategy to increase the overall housing supply. Polly Donaldson, director of the Washington, D.C., Department of Housing and Community Development, said "the focus on housing and economic development" has never been higher for Mayor Muriel Bowser and efforts are underway to "stop the bleeding of affordable housing."
  • The rich areas are a problem, too. The wealthiest areas of D.C., Virginia and Maryland suburbs aren't building their fair share of housing, let alone affordable housing, said Catherine Brown, vice president of education policy at the Center for American Progress.

A big component of affordable housing is how much people earn, said Melissa Boteach, senior vice president of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress.

"If you're working at or around the minimum wage, you'd need three full-time jobs to afford housing in this city. That puts it out of reach for a wide swath of the population, who we all rely on for services in this city. That gap is widening and with Amazon coming in, it's set to widen even more."
— Brian Carome, Executive Director of Street Sense Media

The other side: Economic growth is necessary to fund affordable housing, and Amazon is bringing that growth while also diversifying the local economy that remains overly dependent on federal spending, said Mark Vitner, managing director and senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities.

"Amazon is a big win," he said, noting that those jobs will come to the area gradually, not immediately.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
21 mins ago - Health

Most Americans are still vulnerable to the coronavirus

Adapted from Bajema, et al., 2020, "Estimated SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence in the US as of September 2020"; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

As of September, the vast majority of Americans did not have coronavirus antibodies, according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Why it matters: As the coronavirus spreads rapidly throughout most of the country, most people remain vulnerable to it.

Trump set to appear at Pennsylvania GOP hearing on voter fraud claims

President Trumpat the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump is due to join his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Wednesday at a Republican-led state Senate Majority Policy Committee hearing to discuss alleged election irregularities.

Why it matters: This would be his first trip outside of the DMV since Election Day and comes shortly after GSA ascertained the results, formally signing off on a transition to President-elect Biden.

Scoop: Trump tells confidants he plans to pardon Michael Flynn

Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

President Trump has told confidants he plans to pardon his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts, two sources with direct knowledge of the discussions tell Axios.

Behind the scenes: Sources with direct knowledge of the discussions said Flynn will be part of a series of pardons that Trump issues between now and when he leaves office.