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Building Homes and Rebuilding Lives with HomeAid Northern Virginia

By: Kristyn Burr, Executive Director, HomeAid Northern Virginia

HANV - Youth for Tomorrow Ribbon cutting

This month, HomeAid Northern Virginia completed our 116th project to improve and expand housing provided by homeless shelters and supportive housing facilities – helping vulnerable individuals and families in our local area rebuild their lives with a secure, stable place to call home. Our most recent project was collaboration with the Brain Foundation of Fairfax County (another Catalogue nonprofit). With the assistance of HomeAid Northern Virginia, two Brain Foundation group homes that provide affordable, stable housing for individuals suffering from brain disease/mental illness – a population that is particularly vulnerable to becoming homeless – now have new bathrooms, more storage, enhanced common space and more.

HomeAid Northern Virginia facilitates and enables construction and renovation work on shelters, provides significant cost savings and allows organizations serving the homeless to invest their budgets in people-focused programs and services rather than building expenses. We facilitate renovations to shelters and supportive housing properties by bringing together the expertise of the local homebuilder community with the needs of local nonprofits who work to house the homeless.

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By convening and mobilizing the donated expertise, labor, and resources of homebuilders and construction trade partners (suppliers, subcontractors, etc.) who work with HomeAid Northern Virginia, we have completed 116 construction and renovation projects. Together these homeless shelters and supportive housing facilities have served more than 112,000 individuals in our community. Every single project we undertake gives more and more individuals and families safe housing where they can plan their futures and rebuild their lives.

Homelessness in Northern Virginia
Nearly 2,000,000 people find themselves homeless in America each year. A lost job or unexpected illness or injury can easily disrupt a family just getting by. A veteran’s posttraumatic stress, or the courageous decision to flee domestic violence displaces others. Due to the high cost of living in Northern Virginia, even the slightest change can affect a person’s living situation.

Building What Matters Most: A Secure, Stable Home

Stable secure housing has been shown to foster stable employment for adults and greater success in school for children. Access to stable, accessible housing enables families who were separated due to homelessness or housing insecurity to be reunited. At HomeAid, we do more than build housing for the homeless – we change lives.

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From the construction of entirely new shelter buildings to renovating sleeping areas, kitchens, and bathrooms, HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 116 projects have provided $14.7 million of construction to more than 40 nonprofit housing organizations that serve homeless families and children, victims of domestic abuse, runaway teens and other at risk individuals. Importantly, our projects have saved our nonprofit service-provider partners $8.4 million in retail construction costs, while at the same time enabling them to support improvements to provide a safe place for children to do their homework, for parents to get ready for work, and for families to get back on their feet. Instead of dollars spent on construction, our partners can pour more funding into the programs and services – education, vocational training, day care, counseling, etc. – that help individuals and families rebuild their lives.
HANV kitchen transformation
Several of our projects and partners include:

  • Shelter House’s Artemis House, Fairfax County’s only 24-hour domestic violence shelter. With HomeAid’s renovation, the shelter now provides safe housing for up to 8 individuals at a time facing life-threatening crisis.
  • Youth for Tomorrow (YFT), a residential campus for at-risk youth in Bristow, Va. HomeAid completed construction of two new homes on the campus, each allowing YFT to provide shelter and support services to 36 girls who are pregnant, young mothers, homeless, runaways, or survivors of sex trafficking.
  • Loudoun Transitional Housing Program. The program’s eight apartment units that provide transitional housing for homeless families and single women were completely renovated to create a well-appointed and fully-furnished home to help residents rebuild their lives and get back on the road to self-sufficiency.
  • Northern Virginia Family Service. HomeAid expanded and updated its shelter and food distribution center, constructed space for a Head Start day care facility, and renovated housing provided for disabled veterans and homeless families.

Beyond the Brick and Mortar: Enabling a Virtuous Cycle
Beyond the individual benefits to those living in the new/renovated facilities, there is a virtuous cycle of good associated with each HANV project:

  • Upgrades to housing positively impact not only current residents, but future residents for years to come.
  • Enhanced real-estate improves the balance sheet for nonprofits, and improves neighborhoods.

In this way, our projects are not “done” when they are completed; their impact is felt across individuals and communities long-term. By strategically building what is needed most in Northern Virginia, HomeAid is able to support other nonprofits as we work together toward ending homelessness, one person and one family at a time.

brain foundation renovation image 1HomeAid Isn’t Just For Homebuilders: “Helping Hands”
While we are always recruiting new homebuilders to serve as project “builder captains” and construction trade partners to collaborate with on our projects, we have plenty of other volunteer opportunities as well. The homes and shelter facilities we build and renovate provide comfortable shelter, but that’s typically not all that incoming residents need. Many arrive with little more than the shirts on their back. We started our Helping Hands program to make sure that individuals and families who move into HomeAid-renovated housing have what they need for a fresh start:

  • Our Fill the Fridge program collects gift cards so that homeless families moving into a new home can buy milk, fruit, and other perishables for a healthy start in their new home.
  • Our Welcome Home Baskets include basic but essential items that formerly-homeless families need for their new home, including towels, sheets, pots, dishes etc.
  • Our annual backpack drive ensures that children living in homeless shelters and supportive housing properties have access to a new backpack before the start of each school year; and our annual “Night at the Ballpark” treats hundreds of families living in local shelters to a Potomac Nationals baseball game – quality family time at a sporting event that may otherwise be out of financial reach.

Scout groups, neighborhood groups, school groups, church groups and other community organizations have organized collection drives for our Helping Hands program. These drives help make a house a home and you can make a difference by organizing one for an upcoming project. Learn more at http://www.homeaidnova.org/get-involved/volunteer/.

Around Town 4/14-4/23

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Earth Day Cleanup & Celebration!

Anacostia Watershed Society
Each year, the Anacostia Watershed Society hosts thousands of volunteers at more than 20 sites throughout the watershed for the largest annual Anacostia River cleanup! After the volunteer event, a celebration with free food and drink and live performances is hosted.

When: Sat Apr 22, 2017 (09:00 AM – 2:00 PM)
Where: 4302 Baltimore Avenue, Bladensburg, MD 20710
Volunteer Info: Volunteers remove trash, plant trees, and help clean up the Anacostia River.
Contact: Emily Castelli, (301) 699-6204 ext 6996204

Earth Day Chicken Coop Raising and Organic Garden Event

Crossway Community
Join volunteers of all ages, including 40 Fulbright Scholars, to build a chicken coop, and prepare and plant an organic garden in celebration of Earth Day! A celebration of Crossway Community Montessori School, Family Leadership Academy and the Intergenerational Center summer farm-to-table programs.

No skills or tools needed, just a desire to work and learn. Age-appropriate activities for all.

When: Sat Apr 22, 2017 (09:00 AM – 11:30 AM)
Where: Crossway Community, 3015 Upton Dr, Kensington, MD 20895
Fee: None. Free. No advance registration required
Volunteer Info: Volunteers help with construction, site preparation and planting.

Contact: Hannah Sloss, 301-929-2505 hsloss@crossway-community.org

Artful Living: Resilience Volunteer Opportunity

Britepaths (formerly Our Daily Bread) will host our 3rd annual Artful Living: An Evening of Art, Wine and Strengthening Community, on Saturday, April 22 from 7-10 p.m. at the Sherwood Center in Fairfax City, in association with the Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts Festival.

The theme is “Resilience.” The evening will include a juried art show with works by local artists for sale, live music by local Latin-Jazz band Batida Diferente, a live charity auction, appetizers, wine and craft beer tastings.

The event supports Britepaths work to provide emergency and self-sufficiency services to working families in the Fairfax County area who are struggling to make ends meet. A portion of proceeds will also benefit the Spotlight on the Arts Scholarship Fund.

When: Sat Apr 22, 2017 (7:00 PM – 10:00 PM)
Where: Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center, 3740 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22030
Fee: Yes $45 by 4/21; $50 at the door
Volunteer Info: We will need many volunteers to help run this event on the afternoon and evening of April 22. A registration will be posted closer to the event on our Volunteer page at britepaths.org. Email info@britepaths.org if you would like to be notified of volunteer needs for the event.
Contact: Jennifer Rose, (703) 273-8829

Pathways to Brighter Futures

cfpdc2013org-DoorwaysforWomenandFamilies-94291-2541 Doorways for Women and Families is a local nonprofit, community service organization that creates pathways out of homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault leading to safe, stable and empowered lives. The causes of family homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault are profound and varied.

Doorways works to break the cycles of poverty and violence through every interaction we have with our clients and by advocating for systemic policy change. We are successful because we treat each person as an individual, tailoring our programs and services to help every adult and child we serve overcome trauma, build life skills and ultimately unlock their full potential. From immediate crisis intervention to counseling, housing and employment support, we offer real options and multiple pathways to build brighter futures.

Together with our community, Doorways puts thousands of adults, youth and children on paths to brighter futures by providing:

  • An immediate, safe response to our neighbors in crisis, including Arlington’s only 24-Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline (703-237-0881)
  • Safe housing options, from emergency shelter through long-term housing, including Arlington’s only Domestic Violence Safehouse, Safe Apartments and Safe Kennel
  • Comprehensive support services that help our clients achieve and maintain stability, including Children’s Services

At Doorways, we have an unofficial motto coined by one of our team members: “Do for; Do with; Cheer on.”

When clients first arrive at Doorways, they are escaping crisis; basic needs such as safety and shelter are their top priority. In the beginning, we “do for” our clients by seeing to these immediate needs for them. Next, we “do with” our clients by partnering with them to set goals for their brighter futures. Through trauma-informed counseling and other tailored services, we help clients address the underlying causes of homelessness and violence and teach them critical skills for achieving and maintaining stability. Finally, we “cheer on” our clients when they are ready to take steps on their own, celebrating their independence while continuing to support their journeys.

From our immediate response to safe shelter and housing to our Comprehensive Service Model, Doorways empowers our clients every step of the way. Learn more about Doorways unique approach at www.DoorwaysVA.org/our-approach.

Who We Serve

Doorways serves our community’s most vulnerable members: families experiencing homelessness and survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault. Experiencing any one of these in your life is traumatic, but many of Doorways clients have experienced all three. Family homelessness and domestic and sexual violence impact everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or sexual orientation. We serve women, men, youth and children; in fact, more than half of Doorways clients are kids. Meet three of our amazing clients, Christina, Erica and Khadeejah, and hear about their journeys firsthand:

 

Hope for a Brighter Future

While the issues of family homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault may seem too pervasive to solve, we know that, together, we can make a difference. Doorways envisions a community where all people live free of violence and have safe and stable housing.

Through the generosity of our partners and supporters, Doorways empowers our most vulnerable neighbors to survive crisis, rebuild their lives and achieve brighter futures. In so doing, we help break intergenerational cycles of homelessness and abuse, building the brightest possible future for those we serve and our shared community. The strength, courage and resilience of the women, men, youth and children we serve inspire us each and every day.

Sharing in our belief in their potential and hope for our clients brighter futures, Doorways dedicated and generous supporters enable us to respond to the increasing demand for safety and the growing complexity of the needs of survivors and families seeking self-sufficiency, despite the uncertain, restrictive funding climate that threatens our ability to deliver lasting change in our client’s well-being.

Court Advocacy

Everyone’s journey to a brighter future is different each individual has their own story, needs, goals and dreams; their pathways vary. We celebrate victories big and seemingly small: a baby’s homecoming or first steps; a mother’s new, better paying job; a family’s new apartment; a young man’s breakthrough in counseling; a child’s creation in art therapy. Each step forward makes for a great day at Doorways.

We also know that the challenges that arise along the way are part of the journey, and we’re here to help our clients face and overcome them. We’re humbled to be part of their life and see the transformation that is possible. Through Doorways, this support has helped our most vulnerable neighbors achieve the following in the last couple years:

  • 90% of clients experiencing intimate partner violence enhanced their safety by developing a safety plan, obtaining a legal protective order, and/or receiving accompaniment for emergency medical treatment post sexual assault.
  • 87% of households experiencing homelessness exited to safe housing.
  • 95% of children with social-emotional issues received services and treatment to address their needs.
  • 80% of adults improved or maintained employment or earning capacity, and nearly 70% built savings.

Join Our Cause

The time is now. The need for Doorways programs and services has never been greater. Over the past two years, every Doorways program serving survivors of violence has grown. Last year alone, Doorways responded to 1,347 calls to our 24-hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline impacting 2,206 adults and children a record number in the organization’s history.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Every 98 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted in America. This month offers opportunities to raise awareness about sexual violence and resources available to survivors in our community, including our 24-Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline, Hospital Accompaniment for survivors seeking medical attention, Court Advocacy, and our Revive Domestic & Sexual Violence Counseling Program, which offers individual and group counseling to survivors of all ages.

Visit www.DoorwaysVA.org/saam to learn how to participate in our awareness days and events, and how to help raise awareness during SAAM. Go to www.DoorwaysVA.org/join-our-cause for ways to stay involved all year long.

Hello My Sunshine People! Transforming Lives with Open Arms Housing

by Marilyn Kresky-Wolff, Executive Director, Open Arms Housing, Inc.

Open Arms Housing, Inc. (OAH) establishes homes for some of the most vulnerable women in Washington, D.C.
blog-march13Janet Starke waves to a passing neighbor outside of her new home in N.E. D.C. With support from Open Arms Housing, women like Janet, who were previously homeless, have moved into permanent homes with a welcoming and supportive environment.(Photo credit: Kate Patterson/For The Washington Post)

This Women’s History Month, we think of women in need of housing who have been overlooked for many years who finally have a place to call home.

Our mission is to provide permanent supportive housing for women who have a wide range of mental and physical challenges, and who have lived for prolonged periods on the streets and in shelters.

Open Arms offers individualized services in welcoming environments, using a Housing First approach. The Housing First approach does not require agreement to mental health treatment or sobriety as a criteria for obtaining housing, which is important to expedite getting women off the street and out of shelters. Our vision is to be a leader in the eradication of long-term homelessness for women in Washington, DC who have a variety of mental health and physical challenges.

During this year’s Women’s History Month, we are excited to report a growing national spotlight on the women we house. Open Arms is proud to be among agencies across the country who are engaging in a national campaign called the “One in Four Initiative”. This initiative addresses the stunning fact that 25% of the nation’s homeless population is female and seeks to identify how their needs differ, as well as highlight solutions to meet their needs; from housing alternatives that build community, to treatment modalities that recognize an almost universal experience of sexual and physical trauma, to the opportunity to reawaken needs for self-expression, creativity, and self-worth.

OAH has long recognized the need for specially designed housing services for women. Single buildings, with onsite support services and activities are critical. OAH developed two buildings with efficiency or one-bedroom units, equipped with full kitchen appliances and private bathroom, onsite support service staff, and overnight resident assistance.

A wonderful day at OAH is when one of our longest residing residents says “Hello my sunshine people!!” Or one in which a woman for the first time accepts mental health services with a caring professional…or paints a canvas in art class…or reaches out to a fellow resident who has suffered a loss in her family…or testifies before the D.C. City Council on the need for affordable housing… or tells her personal story of recovery.

Over the next few months, we look forward to finding housing in the wider community for 51 additional women, through a new contract from the D.C. Department of Human Services, which will more than triple the number we currently help. We will be able to offer greater choice in housing, with case managers providing mobile services and linkage to community resources. Each person’s case manager will help her move in, furnish the apartment, make adjustments to living in the community, coordinate the community services, and support her efforts to live independently.

At OAH, we measure outcomes such as 95% housing stabilization rate, 85% resident satisfaction, 100% resident engagement in relationship with support staff, 95% participation in program activities, 70% of participation in mental health and/or substance abuse treatment, and 95% application for all financial benefits for which client is eligible.

Help us support the new residents of our Permanent Supportive Housing Program by donating “Move-in bags” with household supplies, personal hygiene products, and linens.
Join us for An Evening of Food, Drinks and Celebration in Rockville, MD on March 30th at 6:30 – R.S.V.P. to marilyn@openarmshousing.org For more information, please contact us at info@openarsmhousing or call 202-525-3467.

7 Questions with Miriam Gandell, Executive Director of The Dwelling Place

Today we give a warm welcome to Miriam Gandell of The Dwelling Place, who will be answering 7 Questions. Miriam is a self-proclaimed generalist in a world of specialized fundraisers. She has worked as a Development Secretary, Parents Fund Coordinator, Deferred Giving Assistant and Board Liaison at Harvey Mudd and Scripps Colleges in Claremont, California followed by Special Events Coordinator and Prospect Research Director for the Olive Crest Treatment Centers for Abused Children. She then served as Executive Director for the Foothill Family Shelter in Upland, California, as well as the Director of Development for Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County and for the last 5+ years, as Director of The Dwelling Place.

1. What motivated you to begin working with this organization and what need does it fulfill?

I have worked for over 20 years with children who are victims of abuse and neglect as well as children who are affected by family homelessness. The consequences of the chaos and pain felt by these young ones is my reason for working with families in crisis. Homeless families served by The Dwelling Place are in need of more than just housing to move forward and improve their lives. They are primarily made up of young, single mothers with minimal family support, education, or training, and they need the time and structure and role modeling to move forward both for themselves and their children.

2. What was your most interesting recent development, update, project, event, or partnership?

We have found a champion in Brian Holloway, former New England Patriot, through one of our Board members. Since retiring from football, he makes his mark on the world as an inspiring motivational speaker. After learning about our program, he “adopted” our organization and in only a few short months has made the community more aware of our work. He is passionate about helping those in need and we look forward to having him as a partner for years to come.

3. What other projects are you up to?

With the changing economic climate and demographics in our community, we are focusing on education and training as a way to achieve future stability for our families, in addition to finding affordable housing. Our Education Fund can pay for tuition, fees, tutors, books, and more, and we now require our clients to works towards their GED, attend classes for career certifications, or be involved in on-the-job training. A minimum-wage job with fluctuating hours is not going to establish a future leading to upward mobility. Without education, opportunities for future “careers” are extremely limited and we want to support the efforts of our clients to have hope for change.

One of our past (and most successful) families (a mom and her son) were murdered two years ago as a consequence of re-involvement with a past abuser. Their success stands as a shining example of how lives can change. They were an amazing family who overcame so much. She had made incredible progress but still tragically allowed this person back into her life. In memory of mom and son, we started a sport scholarship fund for kids in our program to participate in football, baseball, piano, karate, ballet, and more which they would otherwise not be able to afford. Spending time together and sharing experiences is a wonderful way for mother and child to bond, and we know Mom and son would be pleased to know that they are making this possible for others.

4. Who inspires you (in the philanthropy world or otherwise)? Do you have a hero?

I had a mentor in Southern California who modeled being an Executive Director and inspired me to continue working in the philanthropic arena. Everything I have learned has been through hands-on experience, starting as a secretary and working my way up over the past 30 years; as a woman raised in the 50′s and 60′s, I struggled with being both a friend and a supervisor, and with how I could best help whatever organization I supported.?My mentor helped me with this. He was straightforward, brilliant, and successful at running both large and small nonprofits. He still inspires me today.

5. What is the single greatest challenge that your organization faces and how are you working towards combating this issue?

Our single greatest challenge is developing a sense of self-responsibility in families who have grown accustomed to government assistance and can’t envision a life of financial stability without it. We can help our families find subsidized housing but that’s not enough in the long run. Establishing new and healthy habits, like regular budgeting, saving, and paying off debt is a daunting task and one which requires a significant amount of time and energy. But without it, changing the future and giving our children a healthy, positive role model and maintaining stable housing is not possible.

6.What advice do you have for other people in your position? What’s your biggest take-away lesson you would tell others that you have gleaned from your experiences?

Although people will tell you that your work must be very rewarding, some days it just isn’t. But keep all you do in perspective and take joy in each and every positive step forward your clients take. It’s not the day-to-day progress that counts but the overall journey that tells the story. And don’t feel guilty that you aren’t always “fulfilled.”

7.What’s next for your organization, both in the short term and long term?

Maintaining financial stability is our number one goal. We are working to enhance our fundraising efforts through major gifts and increased community awareness. Long-term we would like to be able to open a facility for young mothers where they would be in a communal setting and not in a scattered-site apartment, on their own, and without supervision. There is a great need for a program like this in Montgomery County.

Investing in Ending Homelessness

It’s budget season in DC, and the nonprofit/social sector community has been rallying lately around several different budget priorities for FY2014. We’ve written before about the One City Fund and the Community Foundation of the National Capital Region circulated a petition to fully fund adult literacy programs. Today, another issue caught our eye on the DC Fair Budget Coalition’s blog about tackling homelessness in the District. Many Catalogue nonprofits currently work with individuals and families experiencing homelessness in DC (as well as Maryland and Virginia), and we’ve shared posts before from organizations like Washington Legal Counsel for the Homeless and FACETS. In this article, Danielle Rothman from the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project shares her experience working at DC General and urges the DC City Council to fully fund the Housing First and Local Rent Supplement Programs tenant-based voucher programs in 2014.

A key theme in this piece is the fact that falling on hard times and into homelessness can happen to anyone. The profile of a struggling single mother who kept fighting for herself and her daughter, only to face an onslaught of new challenges, inspires compassion even for those most removed from poverty in the Greater Washington area:

Nicole is a 30-year-old woman with a knock-out smile. She exudes warmth and joy, and when she greets you with one of her signature hugs, you can’t help but feel a little happier. Nicole’s 7-year-old daughter, Taylor, is a bubbly little girl, with a flair for drama and a mischievous sparkle in her eye. If you saw Nicole and Taylor walking down the street, you might notice their close relationship, or maybe the energy they radiate. Perhaps you wouldn’t notice them at all, because they seem so much like any other mother-daughter pair. You would probably never guess that Nicole and Taylor are residents of the DC General Emergency Family Shelter, DC’s largest shelter for homeless families. You would certainly not be able to imagine the countless ordeals that they have been through…

Nicole’s ordeals included drug-addicted and absent parents, sexual assault, raising a daughter alone, and the financial pressures of students loans and family illness, and then her daughter’s own experience with sexual abuse. Each one of those challenges is more than most of us probably experience in a decade. And, Rothman notes, Nicole is not alone:

In my two years of working at DC General with the Playtime project, I have met a college educated mother of two who lost everything when she escaped domestic violence, a family where both parents lost jobs they’d had for years, a father who had to leave his job after his wife left because he could not find evening day care for his two little girls, and even a mother who used to volunteer at a homeless shelter. Much like Nicole, she never thought she would end up living in a shelter herself. These stories are common, and they are powerful reminders that homelessness can happen to anyone. We as a community must pull together to support these families and help them find solid ground again.

The DC City Council has the opportunity to help address the challenges faced by Nicole, and others staying at DC General and homeless shelters around town, by funding the programs mentioned above. However, the responsibility to help and make a difference goes beyond our local government, and lies with each member of the Greater Washington community. Consider getting involved with a Catalogue nonprofit that works with those experiencing hunger or homeless as a donor, volunteer, or advocate – more information online here.

Hot and Cold on Homelessness

By Amanda Andere, Executive Director of FACETS

Originally published in the Huffington Post; reposted in full with permission from the author.

Summer’s scorching days keep families throughout the D.C. metro area planning ways to avoid the heat, such as swimming, vacations and evening cookouts. At FACETS, these dog days mean it’s time to plan for the cold.

In fact, we recently held a planning meeting for our Hypothermia Prevention and Response Program, so that we’re ready to help the homeless in our community survive the winter weather. It requires a lot of planning and coordination among partners to help homeless individuals and families weather the cold.

Every year, FACETS offers safe places to sleep and nutritious meals to men and women who are homeless through our Hypothermia Prevention and Response Program. This program is one of five operated across Fairfax and Falls Church in partnership with the Fairfax County government and approximately 40 faith communities.

The purpose of the hypothermia prevention program is just that: to prevent weather-induced illness and death. However, it’s now more than that. For the third year in a row, FACETS offered personalized case management services and life improvement seminars to all guests who wanted to participate. Last season, nearly 40 percent of all hypothermia program guests chose to take advantage of these services, resulting in many adults moving off the streets and into permanent housing.

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In The News …

Public land deals give hot neighborhoods affordable housing (Greater Greater Washington): “While demand to live in DC rises, its stock of low-priced homes is shrinking. Projects on city-owned land have created many mixed-income housing opportunities throughout the city [...] but the future direction for public land redevelopment is unclear [...] While the District has completed many successful projects, many more opportunities remain to realize public benefits from public land.” Cheryl Cort, Policy Director for (Catalogue nonprofit) the Coalition for Smarter Growth, discusses the Coalition’s new paper on DC’s use of “public land to provide affordable housing and other community benefits.”

Nonprofit’s turnaround has brought it lots of attention (Washington Post: Business): “When David Snider inherited Young Playwrights’ Theater seven years ago, he knew he had to shake up an arts education organization that at the time was struggling [...] By the end of his first year as executive director, Young Playwrights’ had turned its deficit into a $34,000 surplus and it has been operating in the black ever since.” YPT also became a Catalogue nonprofit the following year and was re-featured in 2009/2010. Learn more about their awesome residency and workshop programs right here.

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Housing Rising

From the DC Fiscal Policy Institute‘s May 7th report, “Disappearing Act: Affordable Housing in DC is Vanishing Amid Sharply Rising Housing Costs,” via Washington Grantmakers Daily:

Over the last decade, DC has experienced a rapid rise in housing costs that has contributed to a substantial loss of low-cost housing stock. Since 2000, the number of low-cost rental units in the city has fallen by half, due primarily to rising prices, and the number of lower-value homes fell by nearly three quarters [...]

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Rental Rankings

Reporting on the National Low Income Housing Coalition‘s 2012 rankings, Elahe Izadi of DCentric writes that “the DC-metro area is an expensive place to live, but it isn’t the priciest of places.” San Francisco tops the list, followed by the Stamford-Norwalk metro area in Connecticut and Honolulu, Hawaii; the greater Washington area is in the 10th spot.

In order to afford a “a fair market, two-bedroom apartment in DC” ($1,506/month), and thus spend only 30% of his or her income on rent, the renter would need to earn $60,240 annually or $28.96 per hour for a 40-hour week. But as Izadi points out, the median income for DC renters is less than two-thirds of that.

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