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January 9, 2014 / Christian Clansky

Announced in 2005, District’s New Communities Initiative hasn’t progressed

As gentrification rolls through the District, city officials are faced with the challenge of finding affordable housing solutions for low-income residents. In 2005, the city announced the New Communities Initiative. Like other major affordable housing strategies, however, this one is failing (WaPo, 1/9):

The New Communities Initiative was intended to solve a problem that has perplexed cities nationwide — how to make room for affluent newcomers in poor, mostly black communities without displacing the families already there. Four District housing projects and their surrounding neighborhoods were chosen to participate: Lincoln Heights in Deanwood, Park Morton in Park View, Barry Farm in Anacostia and Temple Courts, near NoMa.

All four projects are riddled with problems and years behind schedule, prompting some housing officials to suggest scrapping the initiative and starting from scratch. In internal memos, city officials have almost doubled the timeline for its completion, from 2015 to 2023.

Related: Last year, we published a brief on the connection between housing and transportation costs in our region. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a similar report at the national level with some eye-opening visuals created by Greater Greater Washington. (GGW, 1/9)

POVERTY
– How was the government’s poverty line originally defined? By assuming that any given American family has a housewife who is “a careful shopper, a skillful cook, and a good manager.” (Atlantic, 1/9) Clearly the government never watched Mrs. Doubtfire, Three Men and a Baby, or Mr. Mom.

– On the subject of gender, Maria Shriver writes in The Atlantic that millions of American women continue to face poverty. Shriver plugs a new report, very subtly named The Shriver Report, that suggests solutions to many problems facing low-income women. (Atlantic, 1/8)

COMMUNITY | The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s Future Fund has announced $40,000 in grants to support veterans. WRAG’s own membership director, Katy Moore, is a member of the Future Fund. Read more about the awards here.

CRIME | In a classic example of a crime being committed sometime in August and then not being reported until January, elephant tusks given to the District by Ethiopian Emperor Halie Selassie have disappeared from the Wilson Building. Obviously there’s only one man for this job. (WaPo, 1/9)

LOCAL | The Redskins have a new coach. I would be excited to write this if I didn’t think I’d be writing it again in two years. (WaPo, 1/9)


I think I’ve finally found a way to fully divorce myself from Metro – the Onewheel! As far as I can tell, this is the greatest invention of the new millennium, and perhaps of all time.

Another invention, IBM’s Jeopardy-winning computer Watson, has experienced significant weight loss in recent years. Technology really does move fast.

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