Experimenting toward a solution to end homelessness

A large-scale study on homelessness by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Vanderbilt University is examining different methods of helping homeless families to determine which method has been most effective. The study is currently at the halfway mark and is finding that one method is particularly successful (Atlantic, 7/11):

The research is following families who were given different types of housing assistance. The first group received a Housing Choice Voucher (commonly known as Section 8), which provided them with a subsidy for permanent housing. The second group was given temporary rental assistance for housing in the private market, an option known in the housing world as rapid rehousing. The third group received time-limited housing in a setting that included services like medical assistance and counseling. The fourth group received the usual type of interventions that a homeless family would be given, such as some time in emergency shelters and whatever housing assistance they can find on their own.

After 18 months, families using the Housing Choice Vouchers are doing much better than those who received traditional interventions. Children in the families that were given vouchers moved schools much less frequently than they otherwise would have. These families spent less time in shelters, parents had fewer health problems and lower incidences of domestic violence, and they were mentally more stable than those who received typical interventions.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING/TRANSPORTATION | Affordability in the Washington DC Region: The Growing Burden of Housing Plus Transportation Costs (Helping Hands Blog, 7/8)

Related: In 2013, WRAG published What Funders Need to Know: Housing, that focused on how transportation costs factor into affordable housing for our region’s residents.

ECONOMY/MARYLAND | In Frederick, MD, thousands of residents commute each day to jobs outside of the city. As low-wage jobs abound within Frederick, a student group has researched ways to grow the city’s employment opportunities and improve commuting into nearby areas. (GGW, 7/9)

VETERANS | Recently, The Kojo Nnamdi Show took a look at some of the many challenges facing military families and veterans in the Washington region. Click here to listen to the audio from the show. (WAMU, 7/9)

Related: Last year, WRAG published What Funders Need to Know: Veterans, about the unique characteristics and circumstances for post-9/11 veterans.

YOUTH/WORKFORCE | Starbucks and a number of other corporations have announced the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative aimed at finding jobs for 100,000 unemployed young people over the next three years. The program is in response to the rapid decline in employment opportunities among American youth. (NYT, 7/13)

AGING | The AARP Foundation, the Calvert Foundation, and Capital Impact Partners have recently launched the Age Strong Initiative that seeks to invest more than $70 million into organizations providing solutions for older, low income Americans. You can read more about the new initiative here.

– New data on student progress at Montgomery County public schools points to persistently wide achievement gaps in math and reading. (WaPo,7/12)

The Need to Better Manage DCPS School Modernization (DCFPI, 7/13)

Happy 30th birthday, .org!

– Ciara