Building Redevelopment

Below are frequently asked questions in regards to the Carpenter’s Shelter building redevelopment. 

Background and Vision

Carpenter’s Shelter (CS) supports the homeless in achieving sustainable independence through shelter, guidance, education and advocacy. Since our inception, Carpenter’s Shelter has evolved from a small group of concerned citizens providing little more than bedding on cold nights in Alexandria churches and warehouses into a leader in finding solutions that permanently end and prevent homelessness.

Rooted in the philosophy that homelessness is a lack of housing, Carpenter’s Shelter chose to move forward on a redevelopment project. After exploring a variety of options, Carpenter’s Shelter is honored to partner with the Alexandria Housing Development Corporation (AHDC) to provide more affordable housing opportunities in Alexandria. AHDC’s mission, industry experience, and interest in this community were all positive attributes that brought our organizations into partnership. A new, multi-story structure will replace the existing building and will once again be the home for Carpenter’s Shelter, as well as providing 98 affordable housing units for low-income households, including the most vulnerable and low-income in the community.


Q:  What is the timeframe for this project?

A:  Under the current tentative timeline, Carpenter’s Shelter would move out of its current facility at the end of 2017. We expect the demolition of our current building and the construction of the new building to take approximately 18-24 months. The new building would provide new quarters for Carpenter’s Shelter, and about 100 new affordable housing units, including 10 permanent supportive housing units, to the community.


Q: Will Carpenter’s Shelter remain open during construction of the new development?

A: Yes, Carpenter’s Shelter is planning for an 18 – 24 month relocation during the construction of the new building, with all current services continuing during that time.


Q: What is permanent supportive housing?

A: Permanent supportive housing combines affordable housing with services that helps people live more stable, productive lives[1].


Q: Will tenants in the 10 permanent supportive housing units have a time limit on their residency in those units?

A: No, permanent supportive housing is truly permanent. Tenants will sign a legally binding lease and need to adhere to its terms to remain a tenant. Residents in those units can remain as long as they meet the conditions of the lease.


Q: Will Carpenter’s Shelter add or subtract any services once in the new building?

A: Carpenter’s Shelter is planning to continue all of its current services to people that are homeless. In 2015, Carpenter’s Shelter began a pilot project of permanent housing in order to prepare for and adjust to the permanent supportive housing in the new building.


Q: Will the new building match the rest of the development in the area?

A: The redevelopment complies with the intent and guidelines desired for the community as expressed in the Braddock Metro Neighborhood Plan.


Q: Is there a need for affordable housing in the area?

A: Since the Braddock Metro Neighborhood Plan was approved in 2008 approximately 1,000 new market rate units have been constructed in the area, with only 10 of these being affordable units. Market rate units in this area range have a monthly rent of approximately $1,500 for a studio unit to over $2,500 for a two bedroom unit. The new affordable units within this project would rent from approximately $700 for a studio to $1,500 monthly for a three bedroom unit.


Q: Why would Carpenter’s Shelter go through all of this? Isn’t their current building sufficient?

A: The decision to redevelop was made after careful deliberation by the Board of Directors and staff of Carpenter’s Shelter. Rooted in the belief that homelessness is a lack of affordable housing, Carpenter’s Shelter works hard to help our residents return to permanent housing in the community. To have a new shelter as well as 100 more affordable units in the City of Alexandria’s housing stock will create a benefit for those served by Carpenter’s Shelter. 


[1] The State of Permanent Supportive Housing in the Commonwealth of Virginia, pg 6.