Study shows housing crunch hits home for many

A new report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University finds that half of all renters across the country are handing over more than 30 percent of their income to cover housing costs, and around 25 percent have rental costs exceeding 50 percent of their monthly income. The study found that even moderate-income renters are struggling to cover housing costs. (Atlantic, 6/29)

It’s not just the poorest city-dwellers who are feeling the rent pressure. As prices rise, even those who make median incomes are finding that their rent eats away at a more significant portion of their pay than it once did for those in the middle class. It’s also not just the Millennial crowd: This problem is also  evident across different age groups, including Gen X and Boomers who never left the rental market, or find themselves back in it after the housing crash.

A big part of the problem is that fewer households are making the transition from renting to owning, which means more competition for limited inventory—driving rental prices up. Renters who would previously be able to qualify for mortgages are either finding that mortgage lenders are still super strict post-recession, or that there simply aren’t many homes in their price range—or both. “In normal times when homeownership was achievable you could get a starter home for between $150,000 to $250,000,” says Andrew Jakabovics, a senior director at Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit that focuses on affordable housing. “That segment of the market is basically dead.”

– Last week, at the 2015 Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND) Annual Meeting, a plenary session was convened by a number of groups, including WRAG, under the auspices of the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group – a group of nonprofit, public, philanthropic, and business leaders. Check out some of the key messages from the session in this recap.

COMMUNITY/WRAG | WRAG president Tamara Copeland delivers her second quarter report to the community, focusing in on how we’re working to promote effective philanthropy in the region. (Daily, 6/29)

– Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently announced a $5 million donation to Dream.US, a scholarship fund that helps undocumented immigrants go to college, founded  by Donald Graham, a trustee of the Philip L. Graham Fund. (WBJ, 6/26)

Opinion: Pablo Eisenberg reflects on how and whether foundations can end inequality. (Chronicle, 6/25)

Opinion: In the Wall Street Journal, Sean Parker of Napster fame, writes about an emerging brand of philanthropists who steer away from conventional philanthropy and favor radical experiments – the “hacker elite.” (WSJ, 6/26)

LGBT | Funders for LGBTQ Issues celebrates last week’s Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality and estimates that philanthropic support for civil unions and marriage equality has gone beyond $100 million since 1989. (LGBTQ Funders, 6/26)

– A new report by One DC, “Trained to Death” and Still Jobless, presents a case study of a major development in the District that received subsidies based on a commitment to hire D.C. residents, explores the program’s shortcomings, and provides recommendations for reform. (DCFPI, 6/26)

– Although D.C. is often considered one of the best cities for working women, there’s always room for further improvement. (WBJ, 6/26)

AGING | Will Baby Boomers Change the Meaning of Retirement? (Atlantic, 6/28)

Extraordinary art can be sculpted out of most anything – even butter

– Ciara