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November 24, 2014 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Housing homeless families this winter

This winter, 260 homeless families will be housed in motel rooms in D.C. in response to the expected 16 percent rise in homeless families this year and lack of space at D.C. General. Officials look to amend what many saw as mismanagement of resources during last year’s winter. (DCist, 11/21)

At the third part of a roundtable on the plan, officials from the Department of Human Services said 200 families are already living at D.C. General, the city’s largest family shelter which can house up to 240 families. This week, D.C. finalized a contract to one vendor to provide 170 units at the Days Inn on New York Avenue NE for families beginning December 1. A second vendor will provide 90 units, although DHS Interim Director Deborah Carroll was unable to publicly provide details on that contract Friday. A third vendor with additional units may be contracted if the need arises.

The city will pay $90 a night per motel room at the Days Inn. Unlike last year, the city will take control of the building and operate it as a shelter. Last year’s haphazard rental of motel rooms “wasn’t a good use of resources” and “wasn’t effective in moving families” out of shelter, Carroll said.

IMMIGRATION/COMMUNITY | In a recent commentary in the Washington Business Journal, the Meyer Foundation’s Nicky Goren pointed out the significant impact that the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this year is now having on our region. Since the beginning of the year, more than 7,000 children fleeing violence in Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador have arrived in the area, creating challenges for nonprofits that serve immigrant families. Earlier this month, WRAG and Meyer co-sponsored a listening session to learn more about the conditions in Central America that are causing this migration and its impact on nonprofits in our region. To allow the funding community to work collaboratively to respond to the needs of these children and their families, the Meyer Foundation has made an initial grant of $50,000 to establish the Children Fleeing Violence Fund at the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, with a goal of raising at least $250,000 to respond to this crisis. The Meyer Foundation will provide staff support to the fund, which will make grants based on criteria developed in consultation with other contributors and representatives of the nonprofit community. (Meyer, 11/17)

REGION | In Arlington, unsettling questions about divisions between the haves and have-nots (WaPo, 11/23)

DISTRICT | On the heels of the sudden death of former Mayor Marion Barry, many residents of Ward 8 gathered to celebrate his life and look toward the future of those he championed for. (WAMU, 11/24 and WaPo, 11/24)

PHILANTHROPY | In case you missed it, last week marked the 13th annual National Capital Philanthropy Day, a celebration of Washington, D.C.’s individuals, nonprofits, volunteers, businesses and fundraising professionals whose philanthropic contributions are the foundation of our community. Awardees recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals at the celebration included WRAG member, The MARPAT Foundation, for Outstanding Foundation Partner. Learn more about National Capital Philanthropy Day by taking a look at this video.

EDUCATION | At Ketcham Elementary School in Southeast D.C., students are raising test scores through a computer-based blended-learning approach that has become a model for many other schools in the District. (WaPo, 11/23)

Many reformers and philanthropists see potential in new technologies to shake up the traditional classroom and lift achievement quickly.

“There is a sense, after a while, that people keep trying to do the same things over and over again without getting different results,” said Margaret Angell, former director of secondary school transformation for D.C. Public Schools.

Washington City Paper has released their 2nd annual “People Issue” featuring some of the District’s most interesting individuals.



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