Tag: recession

Six policy recommendations to preserve affordable housing in the District

HOUSING
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s “Housing Preservation Strike Force” has released six new recommendations for preserving affordable housing units in the city to keep them accessible for lower-income residents (WCP, 6/13):

According to the mayor’s office, the strike force’s six recommendations are:

  • Establishing a preservation unit within a D.C. agency to identify specific affordable-housing opportunities, and to create a database of affordable-housing units
  • Funding a “public-private preservation fund” to “facilitate early investments in preservation deals”
  • Launching a program to renovate affordable housing in “small properties” of between five and 50 units
  • Drafting additional regulations for the District Opportunity to Purchase Act, which allows D.C. to purchase properties that risk losing their affordable-housing subsidies
  • Incentivizing residents and developers to take advantage of the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act through “predevelopment activities, legal services, third-party reports, acquisition bridge financing,” and data-collection
  • Creating programs designed to benefit seniors, such as “tenant-based vouchers or other rental assistance”

– The D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development has launched a new pilot program to preserve affordable housing in ward 8, as neighborhoods east-of-the river expect economic development over the next several years. (WCP, 6/10)

PUTTING RACISM ON THE TABLE | While the Putting Racism on the Table learning series has drawn to a close, the lessons learned will linger on in the minds of the attendees. In this blog post, WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland asks Julie Wagner of CareFirst and Terri Copeland of PNC to share their deepest insights and major takeaways from the full series. (Daily, 6/13)

EQUITY
– DC Fiscal Policy Institute discusses the importance of approving the Improving Access to Identity Documents Act that would allow District residents with incomes below 200 percent of poverty to obtain birth certificates, driver’s licenses, or ID cards at no charge. (DCFPI, 6/10)

– The Hell of Applying for Government Benefits (Atlantic, 6/12)

LGBT/DISCRIMINATION | In light of Sunday morning’s mass shooting in Orlando, The Atlantic takes a look at how, despite the advances in LGBT rights throughout the years, many still find themselves subject to violence at alarming rates. (Atlantic, 6/13)

PHILANTHROPY 
– Nonprofit Quarterly presents a two-part series authored by president of the F.B. Heron Foundation, Clara Miller, in which she discusses how they’ve worked to build a foundation that continues to evolve and engage with the larger economy. Check out part 1 and part 2. (NPQ, 6/8 and 6/9)

– Funding Infrastructure: A Smart Investment for All (SSIR, 6/10)

ECONOMYWhich U.S. Cities Suffer the Most During a Recession? (City Lab, 6/9)


Tonight is Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Which team are you rooting for? Can it be the Cavs? Please!?

– Ciara

Efforts to shed light on housing affordability in the region and beyond

HOUSING
Over the past six months, Leadership Greater Washington, in partnership with WRAG, has hosted a thought-leadership series on housing affordability. Last week’s session on regional solutions featured the Roadmap for Our Region’s Economic Future, the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group, and WRAG’s Our Region, Your Investment initiative – all efforts in which WRAG is very involved. The Washington Post published a story on the importance of housing affordability to our region and focused specifically on the work of the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group. (WaPo, 5/28)

[…] a group of local leaders representing government, business and the philanthropic sector is studying whether to propose a “regional compact” in which the Washington area as a whole would commit to addressing runaway housing costs.

If nothing is done, they warn, the problem of overpriced housing will fester until it eventually explodes into a widely recognized crisis — much as the Metro transit system’s problems were ignored for years until they recently triggered a burst of attention.

Gretchen Greiner-Lott, who leads these efforts for WRAG, had this to say of the coverage:

Solving big issues takes collaboration. The Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group is just that – a regional, cross-sector collaboration of committed folks working on the issue. I am so pleased to see our work highlighted in the media.

– A new report released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, along with an interactive website supported by JPMorgan Chase, provide a close look at the disparity between rental housing costs and renter income in every jurisdiction in the U.S. In order to be able to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment in D.C., one would need to earn $31.21 an hour; $26.53 an hour in Maryland; and $22.44 an hour in Virginia. (NLIHC, 5/25)

– A new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities examines a decline in federal support for housing aid for families with children. Despite the damaging effects of the Great Recession to many families with children, the share of federal housing assistance that went to those families declined over the last several years. (City Lab, 5/26)

COMMUNITY 
– The Council on Foundations recently named Floyd Mills as its Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This role is a new position “intended to advance the Council’s work to promote inclusiveness as a fundamental operating principal in philanthropic organizations.” (COF, 5/23)

– Trustee, member of the board of directors, and Veterans Liaison for the PwC Charitable Foundation, Frank Guadio, recently sat with The Huffington Post to discuss best practices for collaboration on issues related to veterans. (HuffPo, 5/25)

REGION
– An annual ranking by the Trust for the Public Land places D.C. at number three and Arlington at number four on its list of the best U.S. cities for parks. Factors to determine the ranking included: accessibility; amenities; size; and the amount of money spent per resident on parks. (WaPo, 5/26)

– Loudoun County Reportedly the “Happiest” County in America (Washingtonian, 5/31)


A new art exhibit appeals to the procrastinator and/or perfectionist in all of us. 

– Ciara

Reported HIV cases decrease for seventh year in a row

HIV/AIDS
According to a new report released by the D.C. Department of Health, the number of reported annual new HIV cases is down for the seventh consecutive year. (DCist, 2/2)

The report shows preliminary data for 2014, which includes 396 new HIV cases – a 29 percent decrease from the 553 cases reported in 2013. The highest number of HIV cases was reported in 2007 with 1,333 cases. Since then, numbers are down by 70 percent.

Executive director of the Washington AIDS Partnership, Channing Wickham, had this to say of the news:

I’m very pleased to see the hard work of the nonprofit community, the D.C. Department of Health, and the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration (HAHSTA) reflected in the latest data for new HIV cases.  At the same time, it’s imperative to remember the thousands of District residents who are living with HIV and the need to continue and expand HIV prevention efforts.

REGION/ECONOMY | A new study by the Brookings Institution ranks the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area against 99 other metro regions in the U.S. in terms of recovery from the Great Recession. The study rates the D.C. area’s performance as: 71st in “growth;” 91st in “prosperity;” 72nd in “inclusion;” and 77th in “inclusion by race.” (DCist, 2/2)

HOUSING/DISTRICT | Some 7,300 households rely on public housing in the District. With a number of public housing properties slated for overdue rehabilitation or replacement, DC Fiscal Policy Institute shares some of the risks this could cause for families who may be displaced, and offers recommendations for their protection. (DCFPI, 1/27)

WORKFORCE/SOCIAL PROFITS | Hiring Keeps Rising at Nonprofits in N.Y and D.C., Study Says (Chronicle, 2/2)  Subscription required

YOUTH/EDUCATION
– The District and the D.C. Public Library have announced a new program, Books from Birth, that will send enrolled children a book every month until the age of five. The program is a partnership between the city and the Dollywood Foundation. (WCP, 2/2)

How Rich Parents Can Exacerbate School Inequality (Atlantic, 1/28)

ARTS/RACIAL EQUITY | Opinion: A writer shares his experiences witnessing slotting, tokenism, and dehumanization in the nonprofit theater sector. (NPQ, 1/29)

POVERTY | OpinionWhat Data Can Do To Fight Poverty (NYT, 1/29)


The Washingtonian presents a guide to successfully living in Washington, D.C.

– Ciara