The Washington Post profiled a family that struggled to afford housing in D.C. after their temporary government subsidy ended, illustrating the problems with D.C.’s go-to strategy to end homelessness.
There’s a D.C. program that provides short-term rental vouchers to qualifying residents experiencing homelessness; it’s called rapid re-housing. The Johnson family is one of more than 2,300 residents with a rapid re-housing voucher—a lot more than previously reported.
Supporters of the program say it’s done a good job of providing unsheltered people with housing. But what’s not often discussed is what happens to a person after their short-term voucher expires. The Post did so by spending time with the Johnson family, who no longer qualified for rapid re-housing after a year in their Southeast apartment.
“Here was the kitchen where her mom had made spaghetti for her birthday; the bedroom where she had posed for first day of school photos; the living room where she had Cardi B dance parties. Here was her home, the place her family had moved to after more than two months of homelessness,” writes the Post’s Jessica Contrera of the Johnson family. “Now [11-year-old] Kamiyah was about to move again for the sixth time in three years.”
The family was forced to move to Maryland for an apartment they could afford without a government voucher. The Johnsons’ situation prompted a lot of insightful discussions on social media, with many questioning the effectiveness of rapid re-housing.
“Is a program successful if it results in further displacement of Black families out of DC? This wasn’t their ‘choice’—they could not find housing in DC that they could afford when their subsidy ended,” tweetedAmber Harding of Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless.
“Rapid re-housing, as a time limited housing program in a high rent jurisdiction, has a math problem in cannot solve without a major shift. Policymakers know how much rent is in DC and they know families don’t make enough money to afford it on their own,” Harding added.
City Paper wants to know: Have you used a rapid re-housing voucher in D.C.? What was your experience with the Permanent Supportive Housing Program? Please let me know by replying to this newsletter or emailing me directly. —Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? Email email@example.com)
CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez:
Washington Met students who visited encamped residents living in NoMa bonded over the fact that the city is displacing both of them. [WUSA9]
GIF shows how D.C.’s demographics have changed over time. [DCist]
Mopeds get to stay another year. [Twitter]
LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
Metro is proposing reductions in service, hikes in fares. [WTOP]
We don’t know if there’s discrimination in D.C.’s contracting because the data is so shitty. [Twitter]
In which councilmembers argue with developers over parking spaces. [WBJ]
There are too many statues of white men on horses. A bill seeks to rectify that. [WAMU]
The Post editorial board backs tax on sugary drinks. [Post]
Gov. Ralph Northamwants to temporarily ban all weapons from the capitol grounds ahead of a gun rights rally next week. [WTOP]
Is an Amazon store coming to 14th Street? [WBJ]
YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes(tips? email@example.com)
The Well at Oxon Run coming to Ward 8 occupies 50,000 square feet with an urban farm, a classroom, a performance space, and a memory forest. [WCP]
Emilie’sgets two-and-a-half stars from critic Ann Limpert. [Washingtonian]
Navy Yard’s next ramen shop has a creative name. [PoPville]
ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall(tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
When you’re a Nationals closer but you get mistaken for an employee at Capitol Hill Books. [DCist]
Miss Virginia ushers in a new era of Miss America in 2020. [Kojo Nnamdi Show]
The bobcats are out at the C&O Canal. [Post]
SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? email@example.com)
The WNBA has a new collective bargaining agreement that includes higher salaries and improved travel accommodation, a development that athletes throughout the league have been celebrating. “A historic day. Relentless dedication and hardwork by the@TheWNBPA and@WNBA to get this done.#BetOnWomen,” tweeted Mystics star Elena Delle Donne. [SBNation]
Wizards radio play-by-play announcer Dave Johnson has been named the D.C. sportscaster of the year by the National Sports Media Association. [WCP]
Josh Donaldson will not be playing for the Nats. The third baseman has chosen the Minnesota Twins instead, and now the Nats will be looking for Plan B to fill in the spot vacated by Anthony Rendon. [NBC Sports Washington]
Today, Jan. 15: The Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Women’s Media Foundation bring together Katya Cengel, author of From Chernobyl with Love, and Shilpa Jindia, a freelance journalist, for a talk about reporting abroad. 7 p.m. at Loyalty Bookstore, 827 Upshur St. NW. Free–$31.75.
Thursday, Jan. 16:Hello, winter: Goodbye July and Jackie & the Treehorns will help warm you up. 8 p.m. at Pie Shop DC, 1339 H St. NE. $10.
Friday, Jan. 17: Julia Ioffe chats with Joshua Yaffa about his new book Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin’s Russia. 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free.