Thousands of families in the District could be moved out of public housing for urgent repairs

HOUSING | Years of neglect in the District has led to a crisis in public housing and the DC Housing Authority has asked local government to step in and help the agency pay for repairs. In testimony before the DC Council last week, Housing Authority director Tyrone Garrett said thousands of families in the District could be moved out of public housing to allow for urgent repairs to be made. (WAMU, 4/12)

The agency said 2,610 of its “extremely urgent” units need attention before the end of this year and an additional 4,445 units of its approximately 8,000-unit portfolio are in “critical condition,” – which means the vast majority of DC’s public housing is in serious disrepair. Garrett said the Housing Authority would need $2.2 billion over the next 17 years to get all of DC’s public housing back in good shape — and $343 million is required in the next fiscal year just to address lead and environmental hazards in the city’s most unsafe units.

EDUCATION
– In honor of 15 years, PNC Financial Services Group has made an additional $150 million pledge to PNC Grow Up Great, its program to expand access to high-quality early learning for young children in 40 communities.

– They believe more students should attend neighborhood schools. But what happens when it’s their child? (WaPo, 4/13)

ARTS/CULTURE | In the New Haven, CT, neighborhood of Dixwell, a once-thriving historic African-American neighborhood, Titus Kaphar – last year’s WRAG Annual Meeting keynote speaker – found a home for himself, and he’s creating a center there to nurture emerging artists. (NYT, 4/12)

GUN VIOLENCE | What Are Maryland Schools Doing To Prevent Gun Violence? (Kojo Nnamdi Show, 4/15)

RACIAL JUSTICE 
– Nikki Highsmith Vernick, President and CEO of the Horizon Foundation, writes in a Letter to the Editor that philanthropists should tackle racial justice. (Baltimore Sun, 4/11)

– A new documentary, Segregated By Design, examines the forgotten history of how our federal, state and local governments unconstitutionally segregated every major metropolitan area in America through law and policy. The film is based on The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein (another past WRAG annual meeting speaker).

How Parole Perpetuates a Cycle of Incarceration and Instability (Truthout, 4/7)


Never give up – it’s all about the come back. Congrats, Tiger.

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back on Wednesday and Thursday!

– Buffy

Dr. Madye Henson announced as new WRAG President and CEO

WRAG | Following a highly competitive national search and vetting process, the board of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers is proud to announce the selection of Dr. Madye Henson as President and CEO. She will take the helm on April 15.

Madye steps into this role with over 20 years of cross-sector leadership and a distinguished reputation for building strong relationships. She is known as a visionary and strategic thinker with capacity-building and organizational management skills that have enhanced the teams she’s led within the business, education, and nonprofit sectors. Throughout her career, she has tackled effectively the significant and complex challenges facing the organizations she led with a blend of strategic, operational and cultural expertise admired by staff and stakeholders alike. Modeling leadership resiliency and courage, Madye has engaged in implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and developed lasting partnerships as cornerstones for mission success.

HOUSING
DC Plans To Phase Out Overflow Motels For Families Experiencing Homelessness By The End Of 2020 (dcist, 3/22)

– A new study shows that those who are poor are more likely to be overcharged on their rent. (CityLab, 3/21)

– A congregation in Ward 4 built affordable housing for their community. (GGW, 3/21)

RACIAL JUSTICE | Arlington County May Take Another Avenue To Renaming Jefferson Davis Highway (WAMU, 3/25)

DISABILITY RIGHTS | DC residents with disabilities face many barriers when looking for housing. (WaPo, 3/20)

EDUCATION
–  How College Admissions Stack the Deck against Low-Income Applicants (NPQ, 3/19)

– The Prince George’s County budget proposal that has been submitted by County Executive Angela Alsobrooks is focused on education. (Prince George’s Sentinel, 3/21)

HISTORY | African American History Museum Unveils Previously Unknown Harriet Tubman Photo (dcist, 3/25)


Yesterday, March 25th, was Maryland Day – a legal holiday in the state.

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back on Wednesday and Thursday this week!

– Buffy

Virginia racial gerrymandering case headed to the Supreme Court

RACIAL JUSTICE | Today the US Supreme Court will hear arguments in Virginia’s racial gerrymandering redistricting case, which could determine the balance of power in the state’s legislature for years. (WaPo, 3/17)

A panel of lower-court judges ruled last year that 11 Virginia House of Delegates districts were racially gerrymandered and ordered a new map to correct them. House Republicans appealed that finding and will argue against the new map before the high court. All 140 seats in the legislature are on the ballot this fall. The party that controls the General Assembly in 2021 will oversee the next statewide re­districting effort, following next year’s census — potentially cementing an advantage in future elections.

– Virginia is confronting its dark past and seeking to document as many lynching cases as possible, including three in Loudoun County that are expected to be memorialized by a historical marker in the future. (Loudoun County Times, 3/16)

HOMELESSNESS
DC Central Kitchen, which serves 10,000 meals per day to homeless shelters, is facing financial turbulence after losing a major portion of a long-standing contract. (CP, 3/14)

– The District’s new Downtown Services Center in the basement of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church is a new space that provides many services for people experiencing homelessness, from access to healthcare to a barber shop. (WTOP, 3/14)

EDUCATION | DC’s Free Preschool Program Turns 10. How It’s Changed Family Life In The District (WAMU, 3/15)

CHILD CARE | Arlington votes to adopt changes to improve child care access. (arlingtonva.us, 3/16)

MENTAL HEALTH | Mental health problems rise significantly among young Americans (WaPo, 3/16)

DISABILITY RIGHTS | Why The College Admissions Scandal Hurts Students With Disabilities (NPR, 3/14)

ENVIRONMENT | How a 7th-grader’s strike against climate change exploded into a movement (WaPo, 23/16)


Did you know this about St. Patrick’s Day? Sláinte!

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back on Wednesday and Friday this week!

– Buffy

Statues, History and Social Justice

By Tamara Lucas Copeland
President, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Last Friday, I passed by Columbus Circle in front of Union Station as journalists prepared to film their Columbus Day news segments. I was reminded of the role that statues play in setting the stage for conversations.

That has definitely been the case with statues of Confederate soldiers. Some suggest these statues represent pride for those whose ancestors were a part of the Old South. Others note that that their ancestors were also a part of that same Old South, but pride is not their emotion when viewing these statues. Anger and sorrow are. So, what should happen?

Here’s what one group of young men thought when they visited Monument Avenue, home to a number of statues to Confederate soldiers in Richmond, VA,

“Today me and my peers decided to visit the monuments to see what all the fuss was about and we came up with this.Is it more convenient to take down some statues than to improve the real problem of society? … From living in low income areas we have our own ideas about society. Everybody pointing blame at monument avenue and statues that reside there, but those statues never did anything to me or people that i care about. The only thing that ever harmed people in low income areas is the violence that reside there …In low income areas 5 kids each [the five who visited the monuments today] from a different area [different apartments] collectively knows twenty-two dead [over the past year], where the protest about that, where are the reporters, where are all the organizations that claim to be to alive to better the lives of blacks. … Instead of using money to knock down statues that most people in low income areas never even seen how about using that moving to improve schools,fix up the community that we see everyday, or why not protest in our neighborhoods where we see violence and hate the most. We all was taught about pride and loyalty, but why nobody ever taught us not to die over the neighborhood that our mother renting…Everybody wants to help but nobody is really helping are they?”

– Excerpted from a Facebook post written by Daquan (age 17), on behalf of the following RCC Youth: Cahlee (16), DaMonte (16), Tawante (17), William (16).

As someone who grew up in Richmond with these statues, I get it. They are a bit like landmark wallpaper. But, isn’t that what normalizing is all about? We may think we don’t notice, but subconsciously, we do. And, now, a variety of events have caused those statues to rise in our consciousness. They are no longer benign wallpaper. We have been forced to think about what they mean, what they represent.

Seventeen-year old Daquan faces challenges much bigger than taking down a statue of a Confederate soldier, particularly a statue that is not a part of his day-to-day environment. He wants resources invested in making his community better. I understand his perspective, but it doesn’t have to be either or.

The reporters came to stand in front of Columbus Circle because the statue created the right backdrop for their story. What backdrop do these larger-than-life statues on stately Monument Avenue create for those driving by every day? Even subliminally, vital messages about power, justice, and history are conveyed by those statues. As individuals committed to improving the lives of people in our region, we have to think both about the direct day-to-day needs of Daquan and his neighbors, but also about the long-term implications of subliminal messages that perpetuate the false narrative of racial hierarchy. Advancing racial justice requires us to work on both fronts.

The administration has decided to end the DACA program

IMMIGRATION
– This morning, the administration announced that it will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. President Obama announced the program in 2012 to protect undocumented immigrants who came as children from deportation. It also gave then the opportunity to work legally in the US. (WaPo, 9/5)

The Department of Homeland Security said it would no longer accept new applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which has provided renewable, two-year work permits to nearly 800,000 dreamers. The agency said those currently enrolled in DACA will be able to continue working until their permits expire; those whose permits expire by March 5, 2018, will be permitted to apply for two-year renewals as long as they do so by Oct. 5.

New applications and renewal requests already received by DHS before Tuesday will be reviewed and validated on a case-by-case basis, even those for permits that expire after March 5, officials said.

– How DACA Affects the Health of America’s Children (Stanford Immigration Policy Lab, 8/31)

RACIAL JUSTICE | Tamara Lucas Copeland, president of WRAG, recounts how she spent her sabbatical this summer and introduces Daughters of the Dream, a blog she is writing chronicling her life and that of her friends during the civil rights movement and beyond. (Daily, 9/5)

EQUITY | According to the Federal Reserve, the U.S. is nearing full employment. What does that mean for communities of color who still face high rates of unemployment? (Citylab, 9/4)

HOUSING
– This researcher wants to show that building more housing in the District is making the city more integrated. (GGWash, 9/1)

– Nearly 2,700 low-cost apartments in Alexandria were just sold to a new owner. What does it mean for the tenants? (WaPo, 9/4)

TRANSPORTATION
– Community members react to the closing of the Georgetown Branch Trail, in preparation for the construction of the Purple Line light rail. (WaPo, 9/4)

– District Extends Deadline For Taxicab Transition To Digital Meters (WAMU, 9/1)


Interested in a Mean Girls-themed party before the musical comes to the National Theater?

– Kendra

The real cost of segregation in the U.S.

RACE | A new report, The Cost of Segregation: National Trends and the Case of Chicago, 1990–2010, by Urban Institute, explores the economic impact of Black-White and Latino-White segregation in America’s cities. The report includes a ranking of economic segregation across the country and the District was ranked 17th, with number 1 being the most segregated. (Urban Institute, 3/28)

Policy-makers and advocates have spent decades trying to respond to the reality and consequences of racial residential segregation. Recently, there has been a growing effort to confront rising levels of economic segregation as well.

While substantial evidence exists on the harms of segregation for people with lower incomes or racial and ethnic minorities, its effect on regional outcomes has been less clear.

Urban’s report addresses these questions and concerns by analyzing the 100 most populous commuting zones (which are similar to metropolitan areas) between 1990 and 2010. We found that one pattern holds across all of our measurements: economic segregation impedes the economic progress of a region’s residents, but particularly its black residents.

RACIAL JUSTICE | Naomi Walker, assistant to the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, discusses how her organization, which has a longstanding commitment to civil rights, is deepening its understanding of the intersection between racial and economic justice. (Daily, 4/4)

PUBLIC SAFETY
– The Montgomery County police department is still adjusting to wearing body cameras but officers believe they are beneficial. (WTOP, 4/3)

– Justice Department To Review All Civil Rights Agreements On Police Conduct (NPR, 4/3)

EDUCATION | Two Northern Virginia universities want to make it easier for community college graduates to transfer credits to a four-year college. (WaPo, 4/3)

IMMIGRATION | Hyattsville, MD will soon become a sanctuary city. (NBC4, 4/3)

WORKFORCED.C. wants to train residents for jobs with Pepco and other utilities (WBJ, 4/3)

PHILANTHROPY | The giving patterns of philanthropy can inadvertently harm advocacy efforts. (Atlantic, 3/28)


Miss drive-ins? Union Market’s film series will return this Friday.

– Kendra

Where expenses for those in poverty continue to add up

POVERTY
We already know that living in poverty can lead to exorbitant costs for families, and now, researchers are looking into what has come to be known as “energy poverty” – paying more than six percent of a household’s income on energy-related expenses (Atlantic, 6/8):

The threshold beyond which experts believe energy ceases to be “affordable” is 6 percent of a household’s income. But for many lower-income households, even with declining energy prices, paying less than that benchmark is a fantasy. DeAndrea Newman Salvador, an economist and the founder of The Renewable Energy Transition Initiative, a nonprofit, studied the cost of home utilities in her native North Carolina and found that energy expenditures among low-earning households were staggeringly high.

[…]

Citing data from the Department of Health and Human Services, Salvador added that the disparity was particularly prevalent among “people who were below 50 percent of the poverty level.” She found that many in this group “were spending roughly 35 percent of their income toward home-energy bills.”

– With new research showing that, without any other social service interventions, children in poverty do better as adults when they move to low-poverty neighborhoods, DC Fiscal Policy Institute breaks down why creating more mixed-income neighborhoods in the city is so important. (DCFPI, 6/8)

– The big problem with one of the most popular assumptions about the poor (WaPo, 6/8)

COMMUNITY | Former program officer at Exponent Philanthropy Hanh Le joins the Weissberg Foundation as their new executive director. Learn more about Hanh and the foundation’s participation in the Putting Racism on the Table series! (Weissberg, 6/7)

HOMELESSNESS/YOUTH | Funders Together to End Homelessness CEO Amanda Andere shares some key action items she went home with after attending the recent White House Policy Briefing on Youth Homelessness. (Funders Together, 6/9)

WORKFORCE/RACIAL JUSTICE | On Consumer Health Foundation‘s blog, former board member Liz Ben-Ishai interviews Ron Harris of the the Twin Cities-based group Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, where they discuss the intersections of race and the fair job scheduling movement. (CHF, 6/9)

PHILANTHROPY/IMPACT INVESTING
– Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation, takes on four big myths about impact investing. (Case, 6/8)

– OpinionImpact Investing: 5 Lessons for Putting Your Money Where Your Mission Is (Chronicle, 6/9) Subscription required


Find out what everyone else has been watching on Netflix.

– Ciara