Rapid rehousing aims to help keep families out of homeless shelters

A few years ago, the Obama administration began using “rapid rehousing” to help pull families out of homelessness. The idea is to get families out of shelters and into homes quickly, supporting them in the short-term but creating a sense of urgency for them to become self-sufficient. The Post ran an in-depth look at how the program is working in the District (WaPo, 8/18):

With rapid rehousing, the city could use the $50,000 it costs to feed and house one family at D.C. General and instead help pay short-term rent for two or three families in apartments, he argued. It would free up space at the shelter for newly homeless families. And it would create a sense of urgency to compel people to change their lives.

Since 2009, District studies show that between 60 and 80 percent of about 1,000 homeless families who have tried the Rapid Re-Housing Program have not returned to a shelter. But whether the families are living on their own and still paying rent, city officials can’t say because they don’t track them.

– In order for rapid rehousing to work, participants need to be able to exit the program with affordable housing lined up. But as we know, housing in our region isn’t affordable. (WaPo, 8/18)

– And, some homeless individuals refuse to opt-in to rapid rehousing because they incorrectly believe that staying in a shelter will get them permanent help. (WaPo, 8/18)

– Baby Boomers account for 26 percent of our region’s residents – but they represent a much higher 47 percent of our region’s homeowners. This is setting up a potentially disruptive situation. If a lot of the boomers end up leaving their homes, the huge turnover could “scramble the whole housing market,” according to George Mason’s David Versel. (WaPo, 8/19)

Housing affordability falls with rising prices (USA Today, 8/20)

GIVING | A new giving model, born out of a collaboration between M.I.T. and Harvard students, makes one-time grants to individuals with no strings attached. The idea is based on economic research in developing countries. The New York Times explores the model and asks, “Is it nuts to give to the poor with no strings attached?” (NYT, 8/18)

POVERTY | This one is a bit too detailed to summarize, but it is well worth a read and the title frames the content – Workforce development can solve poverty in DC (GGW, 8/20)

SEQUESTRATION | Well, after a few months of tricking ourselves into thinking that sequestration wasn’t going to sting us too badly, economist Daraius Irani has some chilling words (imagine them in Max von Sydow’s voice): “It’s finally here.” Unemployment numbers rose in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia in July due to the budget cuts. And we can’t write about sequestration without mentioning GMU’s Stephen Fuller who says, “The sequester is like an infection.” (WaPo, 8/20)

– As the District gets ready to kick off a new school year, less than half of the students displaced by last year’s wave of school closures have re-enrolled in the system. (WAMU, 8/20)

– According to the Post, DCPS teachers in traditional schools get paid more than charter teachers. But wait! In a separate article, the Post then clarifies that the numbers are a little more confusing than they seem. (WaPo, 8/20)

– After a dramatic summer during which County Executive Rushern Baker effectively took over the school system, Prince George’s County schools have reopened. (WaPo, 8/20)

Prince George’s starts academic year with initiative to transform struggling schools (WaPo, 8/20)

HEALTH | Debt Is Making Young People Sick (Atlantic, 8/19)

Yesterday, JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot production company uploaded a very mysterious video to YouTube. It’s a teaser for something, but nobody has any clue what. I love this kind of viral marketing! People have all sorts of theories about what the tease is for, ranging from Star Wars to an upcoming novel. Abrams has an unparalleled ability to capture the public’s imagination – the video already has more than a million views.

And, keeping with the theme of mystery, the government has officially acknowledged that Area 51 exists