Tag: Diana Meyer

Together, We Can Make a Difference

Three years ago this month, WRAG helped to start the Housing Leaders Group of Greater Washington (HLG), a collection of more than a dozen public and private sector leaders concerned about housing affordability in the Greater Washington region. Because of the enormity of the issue, everyone around the table knew we needed to do things differently, and we needed to work together.

Recently, the group kicked-off cross-sector regional impact dialogues involving elected officials, as well as leaders of business, philanthropy, advocacy, development, and financial institutions, who all agreed that we must address housing affordability as a regional challenge. One of the most powerful things to come out of that first discussion was how our regional housing affordability challenge has touched everyone – even elected officials and powerful business leaders – in some way.

Throughout the past three years, Diana Meyer, Washington Metro Marketplace Manager of Citi Community Development and WRAG Board Member, has spearheaded much of the work of the HLG. In addition, she has been supportive of and involved in WRAG’s overall housing work for many years. As she prepares to retire later this summer, she put pen to paper regarding the Greater Washington region’s urgent housing need, the work of the HLG, and how all of us need to work together on this issue to make a difference for our region.

Gretchen Greiner-Lott, Vice President of WRAG

By Diana Meyer
Washington Metro Marketplace Manager
Citi Community Development

Alarmed by new data on the shortage of housing affordable to low- and moderate-income residents of our region, over a dozen nonprofit and private sector leaders came together to form the Housing Leaders Group of Greater Washington (HLG). The group is working on how to address the shortage and its negative impact on the regional economy and quality of life of its residents. Over the past three years, the HLG has held several convenings of public and private sector leaders and practitioners to address housing affordability, including co-hosting the plenary sessions of HAND’s annual meetings, and created two reports.

Our region’s housing costs, among the most expensive in the nation, are affecting all income levels except the highest. Low, moderate and middle income wage earners – people working in jobs vital to our economy – are either paying extraordinary portions of their incomes for housing or seeking to live further away from their jobs, further exacerbating transportation challenges and their respective total housing costs.

Cross-sector collaboration is critical to the success of regional efforts to address housing affordability. The Greater Washington region and its public and private sectors are inextricably interdependent. And the housing market is complicated – we live in one jurisdiction and work or study in another. The private sector or government alone cannot overcome the housing affordability crisis we are facing. Our aim should be for all sectors to think and cooperate regionally and act locally within our respective jurisdictions and sectors.

Already, jurisdictions around the region are employing many creative and impactful initiatives, and they can do more with planning and zoning powers and underutilized public land – but other sectors need to engage at a higher level on housing affordability. Employers, financial institutions, developers and business organizations must look at how they can collaborate across sectors and what they can do themselves in reducing costs, improving design and supporting regional and local strategies.

All residents of the Greater Washington region should look at how they and their sector can pursue solutions to the housing affordability crisis. Together, we can make a difference.

2014 Annual Meeting a big success

Yesterday was WRAG’s 2014 Annual Meeting. It was a great event with memorable art, performances, and speakers. Be sure to check out some of the highlights from the day on our Facebook page. Thank you to all who helped make this year’s event a success!

Additionally, the following Board members were unanimously re-elected to WRAG’s Board of Directors. We are so pleased to have them back!

Re-elected for a second two-year term:
Diana Meyer, Citi Community Development
Mary McClymont, Public Welfare Foundation

Re-elected for a third two-year term:
Anna Bard,  Wells Fargo
Carol Thompson Cole, Venture Philanthropy Partners
K. Lynn Tadlock, Claude Moore Charitable Foundation

COMMUNITY/CSR | Congratulations to PNC and Capital One for taking home big wins at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s 2014 Corporate Citizenship Awards last night! (USCCF, 11/21)

IMMIGRATION | On the heels of President Obama’s big speech addressing immigration reform, hundreds of area immigrants gathered outside of the White House to celebrate. (DCist, 11/20 and WAMU, 11/21)

In a 15-minute speech, Obama said undocumented people who have been in the country for more than five years, have children who are citizens or legal residents, and register, pass a criminal background check and pay taxes will be allowed to stay in America at least temporarily.

HEALTH | For a number of Arlington residents the only chance at much needed medical care is through a lottery system. (WaPo, 11/20)

TRANSIT | What does nixing the long planned Arlington streetcar line potentially reveal about class divisions in the county? Some feel it is quite obvious. (WaPo, 11/19)

Lower-income, racially diverse South Arlington has been counting on the Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar projects to deliver a jolt of growth. Residents there hoped the new transit lines would lead developers to rebuild aged apartment buildings and spruce up dreary strip malls.

Instead, the county’s abandonment of the streetcar has instantly created major doubts about the area’s future and made it less competitive.

PHILANTHROPY | How the Other Half Gives: Philanthropy From High Net Worth Individuals (NPQ, 11/18)

ARTS | DCist highlights some of the best galleries and art collections in the District. (DCist, 11/20)

FOOD | Can Whole Foods Change the Way Poor People Eat? (Slate, 11/19)

REGION | The Alexandria Council of Human Services Organizations (ACHSO) is updating its 2008 Alexandria Needs Assessment.  The assessment describes the human services needs and resources in the city’s communities to provide information about issues affecting residents and recommendations for how public and private sector organizations can better address those issues. Anyone who lives and/or works in Alexandria can complete the survey here by December 5th.

Are you leaving the region for Thanksgiving next week? There’s two things to keep in mind: 1). here are the best and worst times to travel, and; 2). you can bring back a pumpkin or sweet potato pie for me…I’m not picky.