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January 7, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Is D.C. really prepared for winter?

HOMELESSNESS 
As temperatures continue to plummet and a new administration takes over, advocates in the District are looking closely to see how the response to sheltering homeless individuals and families may change. An expected increase in the need for shelter at the end of the month, lower exit rates, and lengthy processes for entering the shelter system are raising concerns as to whether or not the city is truly prepared. (WaPo, 1/7)

Nonetheless, local advocates fear that those extra units might not be adequate to deal with an influx expected by month’s end. The city’s “exit rate” — it’s ability to move families out of shelters and into housing voucher program, so other families can move into shelters — has begun to slip, raising concern again that the city might run out of space.

In its final months, the Vincent C. Gray administration — after being hammered by many, including Bowser, for not doing enough to address the homeless crisis — increased its efforts. City officials focused more on prevention services and speeding up the rate at which they placed homeless families into more stable housing. The exit rate jumped from about 40 to 64 per month, inching toward the optimal rate of 100 per month.

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Meanwhile, legal advocates are concerned that the city’s attempts to keep numbers low have resulted in families unfairly being denied shelter. Case managers have been trained to exhaust all options before placing families into the shelter system, often encouraging them to seek the help of friends and relatives.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | Citing continuously lower-than-anticipated tax revenues, Montgomery County officials are finding it difficult to make good on a promise to reserve 2.5 percent of property tax revenue for affordable housing. County Executive, Isaiah Leggett, plans to submit his proposed spending plan to the Montgomery County Council in mid-March. The county is already experiencing a great need for affordable housing. (WaPo, 1/6)

Montgomery has long required developers to reserve at least 12.5 percent of units in new construction for low- and moderate-income residents. But studies show that the county, like many jurisdictions, needs far more units than are available. Montgomery will need an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 additional units of affordable and workforce housing over the next 20 years.

EQUALITY
– Opinion: The District began the year with three women in the city’s top positions – mayor, police chief, and schools chancellor. While there are a number of countries where women have occupied multiple high-profile positions for years, will the rest of the U.S. soon take note? (WaPo, 1/5)

– What would the world look like if it were made up of just 100 people? An infographic designer crunched the global data and created a visualization to help us find out. (WaPo, 1/6)

The Connection Between Successful Cities and Inequality (CityLab, 1/6)

PHILANTHROPY/NONPROFITS | Rick Cohen’s 10 Predictions for Nonprofits and Foundations in 2015 (NPQ, 1/6)

REGION | Following in the footsteps of their neighbors in Takoma Park, MD, Hyattsville has now become the second municipality to lower its voting age to 16 for city elections. (WaPo, 1/7)

CSR | Take a look at what 2015 may have in store for the world of corporate social responsibility with these five predictions. (CSRWire, 1/6)

FOOD | IRS: Nonprofit hospitals can claim nutrition access aid to avoid taxes (The Hagstrom Report, 1/6)


A writer spent three weeks trying to improve his life through apps. Check out his harrowing tale.

– Ciara 

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