Dramatic increase in demand for affordable housing in Arlington — A 122-unit affordable housing complex, still under construction, received over 3,600 applications in less than two weeks from hopeful residents. With maximum income limits that vary between just over $30,000 for one person to up to $74,000 for six people living in one unit, this surge of applications highlights a larger affordable housing crunch in the county.
Food stamp benefits will see decline in November and face an additional 5 percent cut in House vote next week — Additional SNAP benefits launched by the 2009 stimulus are set to expire in November. With the current divide in Congress, their impending expiration will cut the monthly food stamp allowance for a family of four by $36. A vote in the House next week could mean an additional cut of nearly 5 percent to the SNAP program. There are over 50 million Americans who are hungry, nearly 17 million of whom are children. September is Hunger Awareness Month and these decisions could mean increased challenges for low-income Americans locally, and across the country.
Errors by DC tax officials have put over 1,900 DC homeowners at risk for foreclosure — A Washington Post investigation into a program at the DC Department of Tax and Revenue has led Mayor Gray to halt the sale of all tax liens, after reports that residents, including elderly homeowners, were forced into foreclosure. One in five liens was sold by mistake. An excerpt from the Post’s series is below — read the series here.
For decades, the District placed liens on properties when homeowners failed to pay their bills, then sold those liens at public auctions to mom-and-pop investors who drew a profit by charging owners interest on top of the tax debt until the money was repaid. But under the watch of local leaders, the program has morphed into a predatory system of debt collection for well-financed, out-of-town companies that turned $500 delinquencies into $5,000 debts then foreclosed on homes when families couldn’t pay, a Washington Post investigation found.
Kids suffer as gap grows between families of different races, classes and educational achievements — A new report by the Ohio State University’s Department of Sociology found “a widening gap in recent years between families that are white, educated or economically secure and minority families, those headed by someone with a high school degree or less, and poor families.” The report noted that living arrangement was a “strong indicator of poverty,” showing that “four percent of U.S.-born children living in dual-income families were poor in 2010, followed by 14 percent in traditional families, while nearly 60 percent of the children living with single, never-married mothers were.” This is significant as white U.S.-born kids were nearly twice as likely as their African-American counterparts to grow up in a dual-income household with married parents. Find the report here.
DC’s new superintendent for education: Mayor Gray announced yesterday that Jesus Aguirre, director of the District’s Parks Department, will become the city’s new state superintendent of education. With a background in education, Aguirre first joined the District government in 2007 as part of the transition team leading up to Michelle Rhee’s term. Since 2009, he has directed the Parks Department at the request of Mayor Fenty, and begins his new post on October 1st.