For affordable housing, a gap between desire and action

HOUSING | In a feature piece, The Washington Post looks at the affordable housing crisis in our region and how it is playing out in various jurisdictions. A big takeaway from the article is that there is a massive gap between desire and action (WaPo, 7/3):

“It seems everyone wants affordable housing,” says Jonathan Hill, president of data firm RealEstate Business Intelligence, a subsidiary of MRIS. “But not enough are taking demonstrative steps.”

For example, Arlington County had 17,000 market-affordable apartments in 2000. In 2012, there were 5,000, [Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers head Nina] Janopaul says. The situation has been repeated in Montgomery and Fairfax counties….

On the same subject, we recently featured an article about how much Americans spend on rent. It highlighted a few findings from a report out of Harvard – and it omitted some other key findings. As WRAG’s vice president, Gretchen Greiner-Lott, says:

What the article didn’t point out is what happens when you spend so much on housing. According to the Harvard report, these households spend 33 percent less on food, 50 percent less on clothing, and 75 percent less on healthcare than households that are not cost burdened. Basically, when people live in housing that is affordable to them, they are better able to afford food, clothing, healthcare, and many other things that help to generate positive outcomes for their families.

Related: What Funders Need to Know – Housing (April 2013)

POVERTY/AGING | Here’s a perspective that you don’t hear too often: Social Security is the country’s most important anti-poverty tool. According to the AARP, the program lifts about 21.4 million people out poverty. Social Security is especially important for older women (AARP, 7/1):

Older women in particular benefit from Social Security’s monthly benefits. Without it, about 48% of women would fall below the poverty line. But when Social Security benefits are included in family income, the percent in poverty falls to about 11%. Older women are more at risk of poverty than men because women often have lower earnings, lower pensions, and are more likely to have interrupted their careers to care for family members.

COMMUNITY | The Consumer Health Foundation has released its latest annual report, profiling the work of its grantees and community partners. Check it out here.

– The employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act has been delayed by a full year for businesses with more than 50 employees. The reasons are murky. The Treasury Department cites problems with reporting requirements. Political opponents of the bill say that it has to do with the fact that 2014 is an election year. (Time, 7/3)

The politics of delaying Obamacare (WaPo, 7/3)

Opinion: Obamacare’s employer mandate shouldn’t be delayed. It should be repealed. by Ezra Klein (WaPo, 7/2)

– How did Ward 5 become D.C.’s pot growing district?” (Atlantic, 7/3)

HIV/AIDS | Two HIV-positive men in Boston were given bone marrow transplants to treat cancer of the blood. In both cases, the transplants seems to have, at least temporarily, suppressed the HIV. Doctors aren’t calling it a cure since long-term tests will be required, but the cases are gaining international attention. (Guardian, 7/3)

Related: The Startling Common Prevalence of HIV in American Cities (Atlantic, 7/3)

GIVING | What’s the better way to give? Based on data or from your heart? (NYT, 6/28)

PHILANTHROPY | WRAG Summer Intern Nathan Bemis recently attended a panel on the Giving USA 2013 report. He recaps some of the panel’s identified trends and innovative ideas in today’s Daily WRAG. (Daily, 7/3)

– More on Montgomery County’s demographic schools divide: Integration will keep MoCo public schools competitive (GGE, 7/2)

Gray officials object to major elements of Catania’s education plan (WaPo, 7/3)

Nathan Saunders, D.C. teachers union president, defeated in runoff election (WaPo, 7/3)

LOCAL | You might remember that a gun rights march was scheduled for tomorrow, with advocates planning to carry real weapons. That could have erupted into a really big problem. Fortunately, the group has revised their march to feature toy guns instead. (NBC, 7/3)

Lord Dorothy! I thought today was going to be a quiet news day.

An early Happy Fourth of July to all of you! Here are some things that might get you in the mood: Neil Diamond’s America, John Williams’ rousing theme from The Patriot (wait til 3:00), and the triumphant score from that time we defeated alien invaders on Independence Day.

We’ll be back on Monday! See you then.

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