History & Awards

Culpepper Garden is located on five acres of landscaped and wooded grounds in Arlington County, VA. We are the successful result of an extraordinary partnership between the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington; volunteers; community leaders; financial contributors; and the county, state and federal governments.


1926 —  Dr. Charles Culpepper, a botanist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, bought five acres of land in then-rural Arlington to breed daffodils and daylilies and provide a playground for his children. Dr. Culpepper lived on the property for 45 years before selling it to the independent nonprofit housing corporation, established by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (UUCA), that later became Arlington Retirement Housing Corporation (ARHC). He sold his land at a reduced cost to demonstrate his support for the UUCA's effort and ARHC's mission to provide affordable housing for low-income seniors.

1975 — Culpepper Garden I, an eight-story, 210-unit apartment building opened as Arlington County’s first independent living apartments for low-income people over age 62.

1991 —Responding to a growing need for additional affordable housing for low-income seniors, Culpepper Garden secured a federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) loan of $4.3 million to build a new wing with 63 additional apartments. Culpepper Garden II opened the following year.

2000 — Culpepper Garden III was added and became the first community in the U.S. to combine affordable housing with assisted living services using a new HUD program (Section 202/PRAC), which combined $5.2 million in construction financing and ongoing rental subsidy for residents. Culpepper Garden III has 73 apartments. In addition to reduced rent, residents are responsible for paying for meals and assisted living services. Culpepper Garden III has been recognized for innovation and best practices in providing assisted-living housing for lower-income seniors. 

2004 — ARHC hired Coordinated Services Management (CSM), experienced in affordable senior housing and assisted living services, to manage the increased financial, regulatory and operational requirements of Culpepper Garden's independent- and assisted-living community. Arlington County also provided one-time, then ongoing, financial support which, together with ARHC's fundraising, has helped to assure that no resident of Culpepper Garden Assisted Living will have to leave because they can no longer afford the cost of care.

2015 — ARHC hired its first full-time executive director to strengthen fundraising, volunteer programming and community outreach. The ARHC Board adopted a new strategic plan in 2017.

2018 — With development partner Wesley Housing Development Corporation, Culpepper Garden I will begin a renovation that will include roof replacement, repair of the building exterior, replacement of major systems and windows, and apartment renovations that include new kitchens and bathrooms.  


1995 -- HUD awards Culpepper Garden the “Best Practices” award for providing housing and supportive services for elderly persons
2000 -- High Performing Multi-Family Property, Department of Housing and Urban Development
2000 -- Housing Achievement Award, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development
2000 -- Innovative and Exemplary Activity Award, National Association of County Community and Economic Development
2000 -- Meritorious Service Award, American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
2011 -- Commonwealth Council on Aging Best Practices Award, Virginia Department of Aging
2015 -- Best Nonprofit Business of the Year, Arlington Chamber of Commerce
2016 -- Creating Excellence -- Region 4 Business and Industry Partnership Award, Virginia Department of Education

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