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January 8, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Recommendations for expanding inclusionary zoning

AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Years after legislation requiring affordable components in new residential buildings took effect, the inclusionary zoning (IZ) programs have yet to yield very many truly affordable options to low-income renters. A number of housing advocates submitted a letter to the Zoning Commission yesterday with recommendations for how the District can work to strengthen IZ programming. (WCP, 1/7)

Under the IZ program, developers of new buildings containing at least 10 units must set aside between 8 and 10 percent of those units for people making under certain income thresholds. The trouble is that for most of those IZ units, the threshold is 80 percent of area median income, a measure that includes the wealthy suburbs. For a family of four, 80 percent of AMI comes out to about $86,000 a year; for a two-person household, it’s nearly $70,000, more than the District’s median household income of $64,000. That’s the category for which nearly all of the IZ units built through 2013 were set aside. The remaining two were reserved for households making less than half of AMI.

The signatories on today’s letter want to change that formula. The 80 percent threshold, they say, should be reduced to 70 percent for ownership housing and 50 percent for rental housing. The IZ set-aside should increase slightly, from 8 to 10 percent of units up to 10 to 12 percent, depending on the building type. And the units should be priced slightly lower—pegged to 25 percent of the household’s income rather than 30 percent—to ensure that they’re actually affordable to families or individuals who qualify to occupy them.

– D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute has broken down the list of recommendations to Mayor Bowser and the D.C. Council on how to preserve and expand affordable housing. (DCFPI, 1/8)

EDUCATION/REGION
– Class sizes, teacher salaries and per-student spending: How D.C.-area schools stack up (WaPo, 1/7)

– According to a new list by Business Insider, Chevy Chase, MD is the most educated suburb in the nation, with 93 percent of its residents holding a Bachelors degree or higher. McLean,VA came in at #19 on the list with 81 percent of residents holding at least a Bachelors degree. (WTOP, 1/7)

HEALTH | Health Care Costs Are a Barrier to Care for Many Women (Urban Institute, 1/7)

IMPACT INVESTING | Arabella Advisors looks ahead to the future of the field of impact investing with a forecast of what this year and beyond may hold in store. (Arabella Advisors, 1/8)

HOMELESSNESS
District brings homeless in from the cold (WaPo, 1/8)

– New Orleans is the first city to end veteran homelessness as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s challenge to end veteran homelessness across U.S. cities by the end of 2015. D.C. has also been taking steps to house veterans in order to reach the goal. (Think Progress, 1/8)

POVERTY | How is D.C. progressing on the Half in Ten campaign that seeks to cut poverty in half in ten years beginning from 2011? Take a look at a breakdown of where the city stands here. (Poverty & Policy, 1/5)


Memes have all but taken over the Internet and social media. But have you ever wondered who are the real people behind some of the most popular ones, like “Bad Luck Brian?”

-Ciara

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