ARHA headquarters to be named after local housing and civil rights activist

an image of the main office

Article originally posted here on ALEXNOW.com, written by Vernon Miles

The Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) announced that later this year, the headquarters will be renamed in honor of activist and former ARHA Chairman A. Melvin Miller.

Miller, who died in 2015, was a civil rights activist and affordable housing advocate in Alexandria who, among his many positions in city and state leadership, served as chairman of ARHA from 1970 to 1977 and from 2001 to 2012.

“This is a deeply deserved honor for Melvin Miller,” ARHA CEO Keith Pettigrew said in a press release. “Mr. Miller made it part of his life’s work to help those who were not as fortunate as he was, particularly when it came to housing.”

One of Miller’s accomplishments was pushing for city policy that required every affordable housing unit demolished to be replaced one-for-one.

Pettigrew thanked ARHA Commissioner and School Board member Willie Bailey and Living Legend John Porter their help in getting the building named after Miller.

“We felt this was an appropriate way to honor Melvin’s legacy in Alexandria,” Porter said. “Melvin was very involved in education and civil rights issues, but his main focus was on equity in housing. And we thought naming the administrative building for him would be an ideal way to remember his contribution, so we made that recommendation to ARHA. Then, the pandemic struck and slowed down the process.”

In addition to his work with ARHA and the Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Miller served for seven years on the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia and on the Alexandria Board of Education.

“We felt this was an appropriate way to honor Melvin’s legacy in Alexandria,” Porter said. “Melvin was very involved in education and civil rights issues, but his main focus was on equity in housing. And we thought naming the administrative building for him would be an ideal way to remember his contribution, so we made that recommendation to ARHA. Then, the pandemic struck and slowed down the process.”

The ceremony to rename the building is currently scheduled for September.

Image via Google Maps

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