Efforts to shed light on housing affordability in the region and beyond

HOUSING
Over the past six months, Leadership Greater Washington, in partnership with WRAG, has hosted a thought-leadership series on housing affordability. Last week’s session on regional solutions featured the Roadmap for Our Region’s Economic Future, the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group, and WRAG’s Our Region, Your Investment initiative – all efforts in which WRAG is very involved. The Washington Post published a story on the importance of housing affordability to our region and focused specifically on the work of the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group. (WaPo, 5/28)

[…] a group of local leaders representing government, business and the philanthropic sector is studying whether to propose a “regional compact” in which the Washington area as a whole would commit to addressing runaway housing costs.

If nothing is done, they warn, the problem of overpriced housing will fester until it eventually explodes into a widely recognized crisis — much as the Metro transit system’s problems were ignored for years until they recently triggered a burst of attention.

Gretchen Greiner-Lott, who leads these efforts for WRAG, had this to say of the coverage:

Solving big issues takes collaboration. The Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group is just that – a regional, cross-sector collaboration of committed folks working on the issue. I am so pleased to see our work highlighted in the media.

– A new report released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, along with an interactive website supported by JPMorgan Chase, provide a close look at the disparity between rental housing costs and renter income in every jurisdiction in the U.S. In order to be able to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment in D.C., one would need to earn $31.21 an hour; $26.53 an hour in Maryland; and $22.44 an hour in Virginia. (NLIHC, 5/25)

– A new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities examines a decline in federal support for housing aid for families with children. Despite the damaging effects of the Great Recession to many families with children, the share of federal housing assistance that went to those families declined over the last several years. (City Lab, 5/26)

COMMUNITY 
– The Council on Foundations recently named Floyd Mills as its Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This role is a new position “intended to advance the Council’s work to promote inclusiveness as a fundamental operating principal in philanthropic organizations.” (COF, 5/23)

– Trustee, member of the board of directors, and Veterans Liaison for the PwC Charitable Foundation, Frank Guadio, recently sat with The Huffington Post to discuss best practices for collaboration on issues related to veterans. (HuffPo, 5/25)

REGION
– An annual ranking by the Trust for the Public Land places D.C. at number three and Arlington at number four on its list of the best U.S. cities for parks. Factors to determine the ranking included: accessibility; amenities; size; and the amount of money spent per resident on parks. (WaPo, 5/26)

– Loudoun County Reportedly the “Happiest” County in America (Washingtonian, 5/31)


A new art exhibit appeals to the procrastinator and/or perfectionist in all of us. 

– Ciara

Few transit options for the region’s lower-income riders

TRANSIT
With a year’s worth of maintenance slated to take place throughout the Metrorail system, the impact is expected to be felt by most in the region. Those earning less than $30,000 annually, however, may be hit the hardest with fewer options for teleworking or affordable commutes to work. (City Lab, 5/19)

Among the 11 percent of Metrorail customers who earn less than $30,000 per year, many work low-wage, hourly shifts that don’t offer the option to telework. These riders can’t necessarily afford the convenience of a cab, an Uber, or even a smartphone to hail one. These riders still need to be able to get to their jobs, and for 29 hours in March, it was a lot harder for some.

EDUCATION
– Natalie Wexler – education blogger/editor of Greater Greater Education and DC Eduphile, and trustee of the Omega Foundation  discusses the challenges in achieving reading success for low-income students. On June 2, Dr. Willingham, psychology professor at the University of Virginia, will dive further into the role of background knowledge in reading comprehension and the persistent achievement gap among affluent and low-income students. (Daily, 5/23)

– Does Mindfulness Actually Work in Schools? (Atlantic, 5/20)

COMMUNITY
 The Citi Foundation announced the 40 social profit organizations selected as inaugural recipients of their Community Progress Makers Fund – a $20 million grant initiative supporting community organizations leading urban transformation efforts that create economic opportunities for low-income households and communities. D.C. is one of six U.S. cities with organizations that were selected, such as: Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing; Capital Area Asset Builders; Enterprise Community Partners Mid-Atlantic; Latino Economic Development Center; and LIFT

– The Center for Nonprofit Advancement has announced Higher Achievement as the winner of their 2016 AIM (Advancement in Management) Award, along with A-SPAN and National Children’s Alliance receiving honorable mentions. Pepco, Capital One Bank, and the Rotary Club of Washington, DC were sponsors of the award. Award recipients will also host an informative best practices session on May 24 at 10:00 am.

IMMIGRATION/POVERTY | Many of the young, recent Central American immigrants to the Washington region find that post-traumatic stress and poverty, along with attending high school, can result in a difficult cycle. (WAMU, 5/19)

HEALTH/CHILDREN
– With a growing number of students showing signs of mental health problems at school, educators are struggling to meet their needs. WAMU and nprED have presented a series on the challenges and possible solutions to approaching mental health issues in children. (WAMU, 5/23)

Due to a several challenges, the federal Summer Food Service Program – aimed at providing meals to children from low-income families during school break – only ends up reaching around 15 percent of those eligible. In places like Silver Spring, MD, for example, some children may have a hard time qualifying for such benefits when low-income housing is often in close proximity to affluent neighborhoods. (City Lab, 5/20)

–  Should Pediatricians Ask Parents If They’re Poor? (NPR, 5/18)

DISTRICT | The Washington Post explores the surge in homicides in D.C.’s ward 7. (WaPo, 5/21)


We all need to get adequate sleep, and trees are (possibly) no different.

– Ciara

A look at America’s housing divide

HOUSING
A new analysis by The Washington Post examines America’s housing recovery and finds that it has been greatly uneven, creating deep disparities based on factors like income, geography, and race. The analysis also hones in on four cities: Stockton, California, Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Washington, D.C. (WaPo, 4/28):

In the heart of the District, where home values are up more than 90 percent, a modest rowhouse in gentrifying Trinidad is now worth about as much as a newer, spacious suburban home in Loudoun County, where values have barely budged. Around Washington, the housing market’s winners and losers are divided by the Beltway. Inner-ring suburbs have outperformed outer-ring ones. That gives the best returns to short-commute neighborhoods once avoided for their schools, crime and poverty.

– According to data, D.C. and its surrounding suburbs have one of the widest housing affordability gaps in the country. (WaPo, 4/28)

Washington City Paper takes a look at a handful of the thousands of low-rent units in the District that have been very poorly maintained by their landlords. (WCP, 4/29)

– Report: Low-Income Residents Moving Out of Silver Spring at Highest Rate in the Country (Bethesda, 4/29)

OpinionThe Racist Roots of a Way to Sell Homes (NYT, 4/29)

CSR | Congratulations to WRAG members BB&T, Booz Allen Hamilton, Deloitte, JPMorgan Chase, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Wells Fargo for being nominees for the 2016 Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Awards by the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Check out what they were nominated for here. (NVCC, 4/29)

VIRGINIAWhat’s Missing From Loudoun County? (BisNow, 4/26)

WORKFORCE/EQUITYIf There’s Only One Woman in Your Candidate Pool, There’s Statistically No Chance She’ll Be Hired (HBR, 4/28)


Sometimes, it’s okay to brag, right? Here’s how to be the best at tooting your own horn.

– Ciara

Housing tops list of worries for low-income D.C. residents

POVERTY/HOUSING
In a new report, researchers surveyed more than 600 low-income District residents to examine their most persistent stressors. Survey results revealed that, by far, most poor residents found issues surrounding housing to be their biggest source of anxiety. (WaPo, 4/4)

The main takeaway: Finding and keeping affordable housing is by far the dominant stress among low-income residents — more so than concerns about food, education or domestic violence.

[…]

Sixty percent of respondents said they worried about not having any housing in the future.

– How the Federal Government Plans to Stop the ‘Worst-Case’ Housing Crisis (City Lab, 4/4)

COMMUNITY
– Jeanné Isler of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) shares a recent conversation with WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland on WRAG’s Putting Racism on the Table series, and NCRP’s enthusiasm about what lies ahead beyond the series. (NCRP, 4/5)

– Congratulations to Amy Owen of the Community Foundation for Loudoun & Northern Fauquier Counties on being one of the Loudoun Times-Mirror’s 16 Women To Watch in 2016!

ARTS
– Brookland in northeast D.C. will soon have its own Arts Park, with support from corporations and donors, including  the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities. (WCP, 4/4)

– Following a big revival in 2012, the Howard Theater continues to face struggles with financial woes. (WaPo, 4/4)

– With Studio Space Scarce In D.C., Fillmore School Building To Offer Reprieve (WAMU, 4/5)

SOCIAL PROFITS | Exponent Philanthropy makes the case for funders to invest in social profit sector talent in order to yield greater results on performance and impact. (Philanthrofiles, 4/5)

VIRGINIA | Though Fairfax County remains one of the nation’s wealthiest counties, it has been unable to avoid the pitfalls of a stagnant local economy amid an influx of new, often lower-income, residents. (WaPo, 4/2)

HEALTH/RACISMThe disturbing reason some African American patients may be undertreated for pain (WaPo, 4/4)

JOBS | The Council on Foundations is hiring for the position of Director, Corporate Philanthropy. Find out more here!


Oopsie!

– Ciara

Friday roundup – March 28 through April 1, 2016

THIS WEEK IN HOUSING
– This week, NPR plunged into issues surrounding affordable housing (or lack thereof), in cities like Washington, D.C., with stories about tenants facing eviction and facing off in court with their landlords, and low-income renters in the District struggling to get by. NPR‘s local housing stories from this week can be found here, here, here, and here.

Finding an affordable anchor in D.C.’s wave of gentrification (WaPo, 3/29)

THIS WEEK IN EDUCATION
– The Loudoun County School Board compromised on a controversial proposal that would have concentrated mostly low-income, Hispanic students into two schools, reminding many of separate-but-equal policies of the past. (Loudoun Times,  3/29)

– A new study was released, examining how race plays a role in influencing a teacher’s expectations for their students’ potential for academic success. (WaPo, 3/31)

THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL PROFITS
Audio: CECP Chief Executive Officer Daryl Brewster shares advice on ways the social profit sector and corporations can partner more effectively and offers his vision for the future of corporate social responsibility. (Chronicle, 3/25)

– 7 Pitfalls to Avoid When Building a Diverse Nonprofit Staff (Chronicle, 3/30) Subscription required


WRAG’S COMMUNITY CALENDAR
Click the image below to access WRAG’S Community Calendar. To have your event included, please send basic information including event title, date/time, location, a brief description of the event, and a link for further details to: myers@washingtongrantmakers.org.


Calendar won’t display? Click here.


It’s April Fool’s Day, so here’s your guide for navigating the next several hours.

– Ciara

Loudoun School Board votes on attendance zones

EDUCATION/YOUTH
The Loudoun County School Board voted this week on a controversial proposal that would have concentrated mostly low-income, Hispanic students into just two schools – a plan that some criticized as being a form of segregation. Instead, the Board voted to adopt an amended version of the plan in hopes of relieving overcrowding. (Loudoun Times,  3/29)

In the spirit of compromise, the Loudoun School Board voted tonight to adopt a central Loudoun attendance zone based both on proximity and socioeconomic balance.

After weeks of debate, attention from national media, hearing the opinions of hundreds of parents and a rally in front of the School Administration Office, the board adopted an amended version of Plan 8, which will only move one planning zone in the low-income Leesburg neighborhood near Plaza Street. The plan will not create any new Title 1 schools in Leesburg, as other plans proposed to do.

– According to data, D.C. has seen the rate of child population growth outpace that of the adult population since 2011, also increasing enrollment in District public schools. Most of the growth is concentrated in neighborhoods east of Rock Creek Park and in the Brightwood Park, Crestwood and Petworth areas.  (WaPo, 3/30)

HOUSING
– For many D.C. residents, a lack of affordable housing has left them choosing between rental units they must struggle to pay for, and living in rental units in terrible condition. For those who have chosen the latter, a vicious cycle often continues when frustration leaves them unwilling to pay rent, and landlords saying  they are unable to afford repairs. (WAMU, 3/30)

Finding an affordable anchor in D.C.’s wave of gentrification (WaPo, 3/29)

ARTS | The Reva and David Logan Foundation has awarded D.C.’s Mosaic Theater Company $1 million over four years from 2016 through 2020. (CC News, 3/26)

ENVIRONMENTReport: Potomac River Gets A ‘B-‘ For Overall Health, On Its Way To Recovery (DCist, 3/30)

PHILANTHROPY/WOMENHeft or Hype: How Much Do Women Leaders in Philanthropy Really Matter? (Inside Philanthropy, 3/25)

JOBS | The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation seeks a Community Development Program Officer. Click here to find out more about this opportunity.


Be prepared to smile at these dogs who love peanut butter more than anything.

– Ciara

Visualizing the affordable housing deficit across the U.S.

HOUSING
A new report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC ) finds that each county in the U.S. is lacking in affordable housing, and there is no state where someone earning a minimum wage salary could afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment at market rate. NLIHC also created a map to visualize the number of affordable units available to low-income renters by each state. (City Lab, 3/28)

Using 2014 American Community Survey data, the report’s authors calculated the number of units families earning below 30 percent of the median income in their areas could rent comfortably, without devoting more than 30 percent of their income towards housing.

[…]

Overall, the report found that only 31 such units existed for every set of 100 poor families in the U.S. And this deficit increased as families got poorer (only 17 affordable units were available per 100 families in the bottom 15 percent, for example)—and turned into a surplus for those at the higher end of the income ladder.

– At a recent affordable housing forum, vice president and Mid-Atlantic Market Leader of Enterprise Community Partners and WRAG Board member David Bowers, discussed challenges and strategies surrounding affordable housing and community development in the region. (Bisnow, 3/28)

– DC Fiscal Policy Institute examines Mayor Bowser’s proposed fiscal year 2017 budget and what it could mean for affordable housing and rental assistance for District residents. (DCFPI, 3/28)

– Living From Rent To Rent: Tenants On The Edge Of Eviction (NPR, 3/29)

FOOD 
– Meal delivery services are a great convenience, but only when you live in the right zip code. Many of these services don’t extend their offerings to communities that could truly benefit from broader meal options – communities considered food deserts. (DCist, 3/24)

– Organic Foods Still Aren’t As Mass Market As You Might Think (NPR, 3/28)

WOMEN/WORKFORCE | A new report finds that 24 of the 25 largest U.S. cities saw the average rate of growth for women-owned businesses surpass the national average. Further, the report found a funding gap between women and men-owned firms that, if decreased, would strengthen the economy significantly. Citi Community Development is named as a partner in helping female business owners reach their goals. (City Lab, 3/24)


Check out some great photos of the cherry blossoms in full bloom.

– Ciara