Organizers at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, who expect to release results of the survey in June, said they will be studying the information for insights into the effects of the troubled housing market. Slowing construction has taken a toll on workers in service, building and landscape jobs. According to the Arlington County Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, nearly 20 percent of all home loans in the region are high-cost subprime loans.And the problem is not limited to the inner suburbs. Here in Loudoun, the second-richest County in America, the fight over what to do about shelters simmers. The managers of the County's leading service provider for those in need, the Good Shepherd Alliance, have proposed a community advisory board, to help mitigate local concerns over the impact of their shelter.
At the same time, dramatic increases in utility, gas and food costs are compounding the difficulties for residents trying to hold on to their homes.
"I am seeing more families with children," said Rose Powers, who runs Streetlight Community Outreach Ministries in Woodbridge. Many have turned to her in recent weeks for help paying for a motel room, she said, "because the shelters are full." - The Washington Post
"We felt that having a continuing dialogue on a month-to-month basis wasn't just something that was necessary to earn trust, we felt it was also good for the long term," Graham said.It is admirable that the GSA is willing and able to spend its time and energy on a community advisory board in the interests of being a good neighbor. It is truly sad that they have to. The time and energy spent on this Board is time and energy that could be spent helping our neighbors in need. A wealthy county like Loudoun has a responsibility to be compassionate to its homeless population, especially in a time of growing economic displacement. In a time of growing need, it is remarkable that Loudoun County appears to only have housing for thirteen families who are without homes.
Graham said the organization hopes the advisory council will evolve into a forum in which residents not only discuss the center's effect on the neighborhood but also focus on community volunteering — planning food and clothing drives for the homeless and recruiting volunteers for the thrift store. - LoudounExtra
We can only hope that the County will be able to bring its shelter online quickly, since some folks in Ashburn have slammed the GSA's door, leaving many of our neighbors out in the cold.
[update] The County has determined that the GSA's original plans for the drop-in center in Ashburn were within their by-right uses under County zoning. The GSA is not going to invoke those rights however.
"The only purpose for the building being renovated on-site will be to house our consolidated administrative offices and thrift store. There will be no change of course in view of this announcement," Graham said. "We urge the Ashburn community to join us in accepting closure on the zoning issue, and placing it behind us. There are far more daunting and timely issues for us to address together, and we look forward to rallying hand-in-hand with the Ashburn community to help us make the daily lives of the homeless and indigent better, safer, and more humane." - Leesburg TodayAlso, LCPS has joined with Wegmans to try to mitigate some of the effects of economic dislocation. It's good to see some local companies and institutions reaching out a helping hand.