Tag: earned income tax credit

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments releases new annual report on homelessness in the region

Though there were a number of reports over the last few months that pointed toward disappointing numbers, newly-released results from the annual point-in-time homelessness count found that the Greater Washington region saw a 2.7 percent decrease in homelessness from last year. Despite the slight drop, there is still much room for improvement. (WaPo, 5/13)

The tally, released Wednesday, confirmed a continued crisis of homelessness in the Washington region evident to almost anyone who lives, works or visits the city’s downtown core during winter, when homeless men and women amass in entrances to Metro stops and many other spots where they can stay warm. It also may have understated the challenge still faced by D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), who has vowed to end chronic homelessness in the city.

Much of the overall dip resulted from a 300-person drop in homeless parents and children in D.C. shelters on the night of the count.

But unlike last year, when the number of homeless families peaked near the date of the 2014 federal count, this year several hundred entered shelter or were placed in overflow motel rooms in the District throughout February, March and even early April.


Beyond the District, numbers of homeless families also surged this winter in the city of Alexandria and in Fairfax, Frederick and Montgomery counties. Given that trend, few on Wednesday celebrated the slight decrease in the total from last year’s count.

The data comes from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments new annual report, Homelessness in Metropolitan Washington.

–  D.C. Department of Human Services Director Laura Zeilinger spoke on the District’s own six percent decrease in homeless residents, stating that a celebration of the results would be too premature, “because there are still far too many people [who are homeless.] (City Paper, 5/13) 

Southeast D.C. facility for homeless veterans gets a boost (WaPo, 5/13)

WRAG/PHILANTHROPY | Interested in following the conversation from WRAG’s first-ever Loudoun County Philanthropy Conference? Check out the hashtag #FundLoudoun on Twitter to see what panelists and participants are saying.

NONPROFITS | Next month, the Center for Nonprofit Advancement, in partnership with the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, will hold a new, four-part communications series/training for leaders of nonprofits based in or serving residents of wards 7 or 8. The multi-day training seeks to help organizations strengthen their voices and raise awareness about issues affecting residents east of the river. For more information on how to register, click here.

Opinion: A number of emerging new studies are examining the long-term effects of government programs like the earned-income tax credit, Medicaid, SNAP, and more, on families. Though data can only go back so far, there is evidence that children whose families received benefits have better outcomes as they enter their 20s and 30s than those whose families were denied benefits. (NYT, 5/11)

Obama Urges Liberals and Conservatives to Unite on Poverty (NYT, 5/12)

How well can you read the emotions of others? Sometimes it’s all in the eyes! Take this quiz to see if you can tell what these people are thinking.

– Ciara

A “favored quarter” for jobs in the region

A new report by the Brookings Institution looks at the concentration of jobs within proximity to residents across the country and in the region. Job opportunities were found to be much more concentrated in a particular area, leaving those outside of it with far fewer options and potentially long-lasting consequences because of it (GGW, 4/14):

Jobs in the DC region are heavily concentrated in a “favored quarter” that starts downtown and stretches west-northwest. Residents in the ten-mile-wide circle that covers the northwest quadrant of DC, Arlington, and neighboring parts of Montgomery and Fairfax counties, can easily commute to about a million jobs.

For people in that area, chances are pretty good that one of those jobs will suit them.


Outside of the Beltway, the lack of job opportunity in Prince George’s and eastern Montgomery counties has depressed property values and ruined many families’ finances.

All of this leads to what social scientists call a “spatial mismatch” between jobs and affordable housing. Over time, a spatial mismatch can widen into what sociologist Robert Putnam calls an opportunity equality gap, disadvantaging families for multiple generations.

Related: A while back, WRAG published What Funders Need to Know: Does Housing + Transportation Costs = Affordable Living?, which looks at some of these issues in our region.

BUDGETS/DISTRICT | This week, we’re bringing you commentary from fiscal policy experts on the recently-released FY 2016 federal and state budgets for D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. This time we have Ed Lazere, executive director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, discussing Mayor Bowser’s budget for 2016. (Daily, 4/14)

WORKFORCE |  Campaign to begin for a $15 minimum wage in D.C. (WaPo, 4/15)

– The New Communities Initiative, aimed at reviving distressed subsidized housing into mixed-income housing, has met a number of hurdles over the years. One of the projects appears to be gaining some traction with a proposal to build more low-income units, but many residents are concerned that the development would completely miss the mark on creating a more economically diverse community. (WCP, 4/14)

– The D.C. Council recently introduced a resolution to strengthen the city’s Inclusionary Zoning program in order to increase the stock of long-term affordable housing. (Coalition for Smarter Growth, 4/14)

– In a new study, the Urban Institute examines the growing economic divide among District residents in the city’s 179 neighborhoods. Since 1990, “challenged” neighborhoods – those where the unemployment rate, share of residents without a high school degree, and share of households headed by a single mother exceed the citywide average by at least 20 percent – were increasingly found to be clustered east of the river. (WCP, 4/14)

– It’s Tax Day! The Atlantic takes a look at the Earned Income Tax Credit’s (EITC) emotional and psychological benefits for many low-income Americans who get a rare opportunity to have extra money to spend around this time. (Atlantic, 4/14)

[…] the EITC can also lead to something more significant than money this tax season—a feeling of social inclusion and citizenship that might otherwise elude them. According to a new study, people who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit, which provides bigger refunds to low-income workers with children, are, for a time, privy to the optimism of the American dream, a sharp contrast to the feelings of stigmatization associated with receiving government benefits.

Where the poor and rich really spend their money (WaPo, 4/14)

EDUCATION | What Drives Public School Demand? Location, Location, Location. (WCP, 4/15)

Can you solve this math problem

– Ciara

Will a new medical center reduce health disparities in Prince George’s County?

HEALTH/EQUITY | Prince George’s County officials are reaching out to community members to determine how best to position the proposed regional medical center at Largo Town Center in a way that will address the significant health disparities in the county (WaPo, 3/2)

At a community meeting Saturday, residents said they want a medical center that will provide specialty care to people with disabilities, greater access for medical research and will fill the existing gap in health care in the county.

“There are not enough facilities in the county. There are not enough doctors for the general population and even fewer for those with special needs,” said Grace Williams, 56, a Bowie resident with autistic twin daughters. “I have to drive to Baltimore or the District to get the care I need.”

WRAG | This week is Foundations on the Hill, an annual event that brings foundation leaders from across the country to meet with their representatives in Congress to educate them about the critical role that tax incentives play in facilitating philanthropy back home in their districts. Today, Tamara sent an open letter to our region’s elected officials echoing that sentiment. (Daily, 3/4)

HOUSING | Despite the 70,000 person-long (now suspended) waiting list for public housing subsidies, despite the fact that for every 100 extremely low-income households in D.C. there are only 45 affordable rental units available, despite the fact that affordable housing is generally seen to be a crisis issue in this region… we’re actually doing pretty well compared to other metropolitan areas. (CP, 3/3)

MENTAL HEALTH | Advocates say that Virginia’s failure to expand Medicaid is limiting access to mental health services for many residents. (WAMU, 3/3)

– There are two different exams that states will begin implementing next year to measure students’ progress against the Common Core State Standards. DCPS is committed to one of those exams, but a number of advocates and school officials are urging the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education to switch to the other exam, saying that it will give a more “precise reading” of students’ abilities. (WaPo, 3/2)

D.C. Sees Another Bump In Public School Enrollment (WAMU, 2/27)

– Prince George’s County is undertaking an effort to recruit male teachers, who currently only make up about 21 percent of the teaching staff for the entire county. The organizers of the effort believe increasing the number of male teachers will help improve student achievement. (WaPo, 3/1)

Alternative education gets a remake in Montgomery schools (WaPo, 2/26)

POVERTY | President Obama’s proposed FY 2015 budget, released today, includes an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit to increase the benefit to childless workers. (WaPo, 3/3)

NONPROFITS | As the nonprofit sector continues to embrace private sector practices, a few large organizations, such as GuideStar, have started holding “earnings calls,” focused on highlighting the organizations’ impact for donors. (WaPo, 3/2)

DISTRICT | D.C. set to loosen marijuana laws (WaPo, 3/3)

ARTS | The Post profiles the women leaders of 13 high profile cultural organizations in the region. (WaPo, 2/28)

I’ve always felt bad for the unlucky folks whose birthdays fall on February 29. In honor of those who sadly did not get to have a real birthday on Saturday, here is something (sort of) related – the leap second. Unfortunately, there seems to be no immediate explanation for the unusual item sitting in front of the scientist in this video.

– Rebekah

The Women’s Foundation raises awareness of the Earned Income Tax Credit [News, 1.27.12]

Today is Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day. On the Huffington Post, Nicky Goren of the Washington Area Women’s Foundation’s writes about why the EITC is a critical anti-poverty tool for low- to moderate-income families. (Huffington Post, 1/27)

– Next week the National Mall’s lighting will be replaced with more efficient LED bulbs (thanks to Pepco, which installed the bulbs pro bono). (Huff Post DC, 1/26)

– Opinion: Charities suffer from wealth gap, too (Chronicle, 1/26).  “As a general rule, nonprofit organizations at the top of the financial heap are less likely to provide the kind of assistance needed by those suffering from economic inequity. The wealthiest charities tend to cater to the wealthiest Americans—and both mutually reinforce inequality in the society and in the nonprofit world.” Definitely worth a read.

– College Students Get $100,000 To Give Away To Charity (Huffington Post, 1/25) The article discusses philanthropy courses at several universities – but (ahem) misses UMD’s Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership (and its Philanthropy Fellows partnership with WRAG).

HIV/AIDS | The Health Resources and Services Administration has announced a funding opportunity for organizations that provide family-centered primary medical care to women and children living with HIV/AIDS. (AIDS.gov, 1/25)

BUDGETS | Prince George’s Co. $126M in the red (WTOP, 1/27)

– The redevelopment plan for the former site of Walter Reed, which contains 115 units of affordable housing, is moving forward. (City Paper, 1/26)

4 years after fire, ex-tenants and Mount Pleasant area face frustration (WaPo, 1/26)

HOMELESSNESS | D.C. conducted its annual headcount of its homeless population this week. The numbers will be released in the spring. (WaPo, 1/26)

– The fight over sprawl, commercial growth, and sustainable planning continues in Frederick County. (WAMU, 1/20)

– Greenbelt Ponders A Suburban Experiment, 75 Years On (WAMU, 1/20)

I think this is the only reason I would ever want to go some place as cold as northern Norway.