TWU's Executive Director, Evelin Urrutia, spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony for Sansè Naja, the new apartment and condo building that will be built across the street from TWU's office in Chirilagua/Arlandria. The building will include deeply affordable apartments for families at and below 60% and 40% of the area median income (AMI), something that our community had to fight for. The speech she shared at the event is as follows:
Good Afternoon Mayor Wilson, Housing Alexandria Staff, and everyone present this afternoon.
First, I’d like to thank Housing Alexandria for giving me an opportunity to speak on this historic day.
My name is Evelin Urrutia, and I am the Executive Director of Tenants and Workers United. For those who may not know, our organization has been in the City of Alexandria and in Arlandria/Chirilagua for almost 40 years. Our organization works with immigrants, working class families, youth, and women in order to improve our communities.
We say that today is a historic day because this project will truly benefit the Arlandria community, those families that we work with, those families that have been marginalized and barred from accessing safe, dignified and deeply committed affordable housing for decades.
This project not only reflects a lot of work from the Mayor, City Council, City Staff, and Housing Alexandria staff, but this project also reflects the hard work of our community members who have participated in public hearings, meetings with city officials and staff, and have shared their life experiences and their needs for housing.
This project is an example of the type of housing that needs to be created throughout the City, to improve the quality of life for all families. When we talk about equity, equality, embracing diversity, and stopping discriminatory policies and practices in the city, this is a step forward because this project is not only creating new housing but many of these units are going to be reserved for families that earn less than 60% of the area median income and many of those families are already living here in this community.
We congratulate Housing Alexandria and the City for putting this project together and we hope other developers, including nonprofit developers, can start following this example.
Thank you so much.