A six-month update on Helping Families Home

Earlier this year, 25 organizations (including eight grantees of the Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation) gathered to release Helping Families Home: A Roadmap for the District – a community plan outlining their recommendations on what D.C. should immediately do to get to a high-quality homeless services system. Now, the DC Fiscal Policy Institute has a six-month update on the District’s progress, including a full report and report card summary. (DCFPI, 12/9)

There has been progress in some important areas: a new homelessness prevention program is set to be launched this winter, there are new investments in affordable housing for families, and the District is securing additional shelter capacity for this winter. The District has released a plan for a new system of smaller shelters to replace the DC General Family Shelter, but it is not clear if this plan will yield enough shelter capacity to meet the need.

Yet there has been a tremendous lack of progress in several key areas. Many of the problems with DC’s Rapid Re-housing program – the main tool for getting families out of shelter – have not been addressed. Little progress has been made to meet the unique needs of youth-headed households, which make up nearly half of all families seeking shelter. The DC General Family Shelter has received only some of the improved case management and services it needs. Also, the District is planning to fill the gap in the homeless services budget by using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding, and it is not clear whether this will lead to cuts in other vital programs. Finally, DC has made little progress towards the goal of providing access to shelter year-round.

– A plan by a developer to put a luxury hotel, condos, and retail in Mount Vernon Triangle, along with an affordable housing component in Anacostia, has left many residents east-of-the-river underwhelmed. In an area with an abundance of low-income housing, residents question why the location of the projects cannot be reversed. (WCP, 12/10)

– A new report from the Washington DC Economic Partnership – with support from Capital One Bank, Pepco, and Washington Gas  says that District developers will add 12,000 new residential units in next three years. (DCist, 12/9)

ARTS | On their blog, Americans for the Arts considers how starting the conversation about diversity in the arts isn’t always easy, but it must be done. This is part of a series of updates on their ongoing Greater DC Diversity Pilot Initiative (supported in part by the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation). (Artsblog, 12/9)

EDUCATIONA Battle Expected Over School Spending in Montgomery County (WAMU, 12/9)

TRANSIT | With transit costs taking up nearly a quarter of low-income commuters’ income, why are bike-share, car-share, and ride-share services that promise to save people money mostly used by those who earn more than the median wage? (GGW, 12/9)

Here’s just one way to keep thieves from stealing packages off your doorstep.

– Ciara