Another year of decline in domestic migration

REGION/ECONOMY
A new report from George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis looks at the migration trends of the region’s population. According to the report, the region experienced its second straight year of decline in domestic migration. (WBJ, 3/28)

Domestic migration was responsible for a loss of 25,200 people from 2013 to 2014, according to the report. The last time the region had positive domestic migration was from 2013 to 2014, when 25,200 moved here.

[…]

People are leaving the region for a combination of factors that also includes overall affordability — child care and housing are the biggest — and the growth and opportunities in other areas of the country. Some U.S. regions had sluggish economies themselves right after the Great Recession but have recently seen stronger growth.

Center director Terry Clower also cites research from The Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy for its recommendations on ways the economy can improve.

Related: Last year, the 2030 Group’s Bob Buchanan and the Center for Regional Analysis’s Stephen Fuller undertook an extensive research project called, The Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy, to recommend ways the region can reposition itself to remain competitive in the global economy. WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland also shared how philanthropy in the region might respond and collaborate with other sectors to meet challenges facing our communities. (Daily 1/15)

– Both D.C. and Montgomery County are eyeing a minimum wage increase to $15. (WAMU, 3/25)

HOUSING
– In their latest blog post, the D.C. Office of Revenue Analysis explores how rents in the city are so high despite many residences being subject to rent control. (District, Measured, 3/23)

NPR takes a glimpse into the courtrooms of D.C.’s Landlord and Tenant Branch where mostly low-income renters and their landlords squabble over issues of rent payments and substandard living conditions. (NPR, 3/28)

ARTS
– In Reston, officials are revisiting the allocation of funds for public art. (Reston Now, 3/25)

– D.C.’s Fillmore Arts Center will be saved for another year (WaPo, 3/25)

PHILANTHROPY
A recent survey looks at the philanthropic activity predictions of 400 leading private bankers and wealth advisors who manage around $500 billion in assets for ultra-high net worth individuals. (NPQ, 3/24)

– Have a look at Fortune‘s 2016 list of the World’s Greatest Leaders in philanthropy, arts, business, government and more. (Fortune, 3/2016)

CSR/SOCIAL PROFITS | Audio: How Nonprofits and Corporations Can Join Forces (Chronicle, 3/25)

EDUCATIONHow to Graduate More Black Students (Atlantic, 3/23)


Do you live in a paper napkin, cloth napkin, or paper towel household?

– Ciara

Has the American Dream become an affordable apartment?

by Tamara Copeland
President
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

For several years now, the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG) has been discussing affordable housing. With an anticipated influx of residents into our area in the next decade, George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis predicts we will need 150,000 new units and that a large number of those units need to be for those in lower-income brackets.

For those lower-income individuals in the Greater Washington region, what constitutes an affordable home? I have been asking that question of many people over the last year. Folks shake their heads and say it depends. They talk about the high cost of land, the lack of government subsidies, and the need for transportation to areas on the edges of the region where the cost of land is less. But, I keep pushing. What is an affordable home in this region? That’s when the conversation turns to rental units, not houses.

It appears that there is no such thing in our region as an affordable house. According to 2013 census data,  the average household income in metropolitan Washington, D.C. was $90,149, and depending on differing information in multiple sources, the average cost to purchase a house in the region seems to be somewhere around $450,000. When you do the math, that makes the average household in our region unable to purchase the average house in the region without being fiscally imprudent.

There is something fundamentally wrong with that.

My father, uncle, and aunt were all real estate brokers. I grew up in a family that reinforced the value of home ownership. My father used to say, “You can live in it, rent it, or borrow against it.” He, like many in our country, viewed owning a home not only as the symbol of achieving the American dream, but also as one of the key elements toward financial stability.

In our region, that reality doesn’t seem to be an option for thousands of people. Don’t get me wrong, I do agree with WRAG’s current work to promote and enable the production and preservation of affordable rental units. What is the solution to homelessness? A home! We want to do everything that we can to get people into a place that they know as home. Research supports the value of having a home, not just financially, but emotionally, psychologically, and practically.

But let’s not forget that we still need to find a solution to help low-income people purchase homes. Why? Because for most people a home – whether that is a traditional house or a condominium – is the largest asset that they will ever have. That asset is often a major part of what enables a family to move into the middle class.

I continue to believe what I learned from my family years ago – owning a home is fundamental for financial security. Financially accessible home ownership. Who will work with WRAG to make that happen?

New reports on the critical need for affordable housing in the Greater Washington Region

AFFORDABLE HOUSING/REGION
In response to alarming data surrounding housing affordability in the region, the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group (GWHLG) presents a new report by Nonprofit Quarterly columnist Rick Cohen. The report – supported by Enterprise Community Partners, Citi Foundation, and WRAG – highlights the need for collaboration to invest in solving the region’s affordable housing crisis. Click here to access the full report, Call the Question: Will the Greater Washington Region Collaborate and Invest to Solve its Affordable Housing Shortage? 

Since June 2014, the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group – a collection of more than a dozen public and private sector leaders concerned about housing affordability – has been meeting to examine: 1) the nature of the affordable housing shortage in the greater Washington area; 2) the relationship of housing affordability to economic growth; and 3) strategies to increase affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households in the region.

In July 2014, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region released new research, Housing Security in the Washington Region, prepared by the Urban Institute and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments based on 2011 data, the most recent available. A key finding of the study concludes that, currently, 250,000 households (including 147,000 renter households) making less than 80 percent of the area median income are paying more than half of their gross income on housing costs.

The full extent of the affordable housing shortage required an analysis of future economic growth and accompanying populations. Research from the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis (CRA) shows that future growth industries for our region will be in the retail, hospitality, healthcare, and construction sectors – jobs which pay lower wages. Thousands of critical jobs in today’s workforce also fall in the lowerto moderate-income range, including teachers, health care professionals, entry level office workers, and local government employees. In 2015, CRA developed affordable housing need projections based on their latest regional economic outlook projections showing a need for the region to provide 149,000 new low-income housing units between 2011 and 2023 to accommodate projected job growth in the region.

 

– Another newly-released report (mentioned above) by Jeannette Chapman of the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis – commissioned by Enterprise Community Partners, and supported by GWHLG – focuses on regional solutions for Greater Washington’s affordable housing needs by the year 2023. The report titled, The Greater Washington Region’s Future Housing Needs: 2023, can be found here.

– The Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND) has released a public service announcement campaign to raise awareness about the great need for affordable housing using statistics about the average take-home pay for the professionals who are often very important in our daily lives. Have you seen this PSA around yet?

What’s ‘new’ in affordable housing? Not a lot — yet (Elevation DC, 6/19)

EDUCATION/DISTRICT | After a recent independent evaluation on the state of D.C. schools by the National Research Council, education leaders agree that although the system has come a long way, it still needs a lot of work to get to where it needs to be. (WaPo, 6/22)

POVERTY | A quarter of Americans are one emergency away from financial ruin (WaPo, 6/23)


How’s this for a real Metro map? What do you think?

– Ciara

Business and Philanthropy: A partnership whose time has come

by Tamara Copeland
President
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Last week, Bob Buchanan, principal of Buchanan Partners, a real estate development company, and president of the 2030 Group, an association of business leaders focused on regional issues and solutions, came to speak to WRAG member CEOs as part of our CEO Coffee and Conversation series. He was invited after he and Dr. Stephen Fuller (of the Center for Regional Analysis, George Mason University) called for a regional economic summit.  They suggested that, because the backbone of our region’s economy has been the federal government and that given the changes in our region’s relationship to this hometown employer, we must create a new regional economic reality.  They also underscored the fact that this isn’t a situation to be addressed solely by the District of Columbia or Fairfax, VA, or any other jurisdiction in our region, but a regional problem that should be examined as a whole and addressed by regional leaders using a broad lens and a long-range view.

I invited Bob to speak because, surprisingly, they hadn’t viewed philanthropy as one of the sectors to call to the planning table until I reached out. When asked why philanthropy wasn’t included, Bob responded, “business leaders go to those who can move the needle.”

What a wake up call!  Clearly, philanthropy wasn’t viewed as a change agent.

For years, I have thought that philanthropy doesn’t do enough to highlight the role that it plays in social change. That’s why we produced Beyond Dollars in 2009, featured Philanthropy Factoids in the Daily WRAG throughout 2011, and updated Beyond Dollars with a progress report in 2013. We wanted to showcase all that philanthropy does to improve people’s lives.  Unfortunately, that message hasn’t reached the business community, and part of that responsibility lies with us.  When I look back over the speakers that WRAG has presented over the last decade, I can’t find one business leader who isn’t also a philanthropist.  Until the conversation with Bob Buchanan, WRAG had not invited a business leader to present his or her ideas to philanthropy. We had not explored with business shared views and values toward possible shared action. In retrospect, wow.

So, WRAG is working to change that.  Bob Buchanan underscored the altruistic role that funders can play. He noted that when he speaks up for a particular need, he is often lumped in the category of “greedy developer” just trying to make his project work. Often, yes, he is trying to make a project happen, but it is a project that can improve the lives of many who live in a specific community.  His business identity often obscures the fact that he wants to turn a profit and improve the community.  He challenged the funding community to:

  • Consider how they are perceived as only helping the “un-” and “under-” members of the community. He acknowledged that funders are trying to improve the lives of all who live in a community and that when the “un”served or “under”served are helped, all community members are helped. He feels that the business community doesn’t see the role of philanthropy as helping everybody;
  • Look at how they might support start-up businesses that can improve the viability of communities just as they support start up/innovative, new social profit organizations; and
  • Make financial investments with their assets, not just grants.

He believes that elected officials charged with serving their discrete constituencies and limited by a relatively brief time in office can’t be the sole partners of business, particularly in pursuit of a new regional economic dynamic. He wants philanthropy to play a role.  Now we must determine what that role should be.