April 14, 2015
Yesterday, Mayor Bowser presented her budget to the DC Council in a hearing where she and the Councilmembers were able to highlight achievements and raise concerns. CNHED was there to support investments made in affordable housing and to address homelessness in the District. In opening statements, nearly all members of the DC Council applauded the $100 million investment in the Housing Production Trust Fund by name. Many also shared appreciation that Mayor Bowser increased investments to improve services to DC’s homeless families and individuals.
Housing and Community Development Committee Chair Anita Bonds expressed her appreciation to the Mayor starting off “specifically thanking you for commitment that Housing Production Trust Fund is fully funded at $100 million.” Committee member Silverman added, “I was happy to see in the budget a fully-funded Housing Production Trust Fund. We’ve lost more than 20,000 affordable housing units in the past decade, which is astounding. We’re doing a good job of attracting new residents and creating jobs, but it’s difficult for our workers to afford to live here.”
Mayor Bowser reiterated her commitments to addressing DC’s housing and homelessness issues. Many investments in this year’s budget are towards the Interagency Council on Homelessness’ goals of making homelessness rare, brief, and non-reoccurring. She specifically talked about the $100 million for the Housing Production Trust Fund saying that it is more than a tag-line, rather it is “a promise to do everything we can to preserve and create affordable housing.”
Mayor Bowser also previewed that she will be announcing the creation of a preservation strike force to help ensure that DC does not lose some of the most affordable homes we already have.
Some questions arose about the use of the Housing Production Trust Fund. CNHED will continue to work with the DC Council to build their appreciation of the good work the Housing Production Trust Fund does – including the 2,300 homes that are currently in the process of being built or renovated thanks to the Trust Fund. All of the Housing Production Trust Fund investments made in the last two years have gone into those projects, so the $100 million announced this year will be used to create new housing opportunities.
“We encourage the Council to stand with the Mayor and the Council’s unanimous legislation and ensure $100 million remains in the Housing Production Trust Fund and to make investments across the Continuum of Housing in this year’s budget,” said CNHED Executive Director Steve Glaude.
April 14, 2015
Congratulations to our first place adult winner, Dynise Coogler! Ms. Coogler gives an account of her battle with homelessness with the burden of mental illness. She also expresses the importance of having a helping heart in the homeless community. Congrats again Dynise Coogler on being this year’s first place winner!
A House Is Where the Heart Is
The shadows of the house were awash with the eerie glow of the street lights as they filtered through the window. There was no cacophony of street sounds. No metro bus rumbling through the streets, no trucks, no plethora of cars riding past the house. All was dead quiet. And all of it reminded me that I was to be here only a short time. My next move was to be Jordan House; a crisis facility. I was a homeless mental health patient signed onto a crisis facility. A two-fold purpose; get back my mental health and also provide proper housing. Proper housing for the homeless. Homeless…a word that has many meanings. Without a home of your own is what the majority think of when thinking of the word homeless. But to think of the homeless is to think of the corporate body of people walking the streets without a place to go. I was fortunate to have Jordan House. But what of the person asking for spare change. Spare change can help you purchase a single cup of coffee, a hot sandwich or a bus ride to a shelter. A shelter can be a God-sent thing …a place to stay.
In Washington, DC we could use more gifts like a place to stay. It is traditionally called “affordable housing”. This housing is a gift private foundations, corporations, private citizens try to spearhead the move to procure for the homeless. These myriad people work tirelessly to find housing for the homeless. They wrap their collective arms around the homeless and try to help.
The look of quiet desperation is evident on the faces of the homeless, but people can help them to be brave. I used to be homeless. People helped me to develop courage by prayer and just trying to get proper housing. I now stay at Hyacinth’s Place: a place of help and healing that provides for low-income women that are trying to better develop themselves and ready themselves for the future. I made it. Let’s hope that all the homeless of Washington, DC make it. Let’s hope that all are treated with the love and compassion that fosters the belief that home is where your heart is. Let our hearts be with the homeless.
April 7, 2015
Our second place winner, Swan Gray, magnifies the essence of home and hearth. In this thought provoking account, she writes about the feelings that she had in each house she’s ever lived in- stressing the all time idiom “A house does not make a home, people do”.
Home Is an Adjective
Home is not a structure made out of bricks and wood or stone or stucco.
It isn’t made up of plaster walls with posters and paintings, or with carpeted rooms and marble counter tops. It doesn’t have an address or an area code.
To a nomad home is an adjective,
a word that describes a feeling or state of being.
I moved a lot as a child, a different house, with a different room and nothing was normal, nothing was ever just mine.
These houses are faded in my memory now,
like well-worn jeans and only glimpses remain.
A darkened attic with slanted walls and where the heat never visited.
A room where the rising sun, streaming through bay windows would wake me and tempted peeping toms.
A studio with a mermaid bathtub and a view of a garden
where my cat chased raccoons away.
A simple wooden shack with holes for windows,
laid where the jungle meets the sea.
These glimpses fill my heart with nostalgia because it reminds me of the words of wisdom my father gave me, or the time I held my sisters little baby body, or the pillow I cried into when I realized that my mother wouldn’t be there to guide me into womanhood.
These glimpses carry with them the moments I discovered my talents, or when I dreamt, both waking and sleeping, and devised plans
for the life I hoped to have.
Home is the hearts of people that you love and that love you, it is the arms of your grandmother, the laughter of your siblings,
the adventures with your friends.
It’s in those moments love creates, when you can just free to be who you are and celebrated. I take home with me wherever I go.
Swan Gray (middle), receiving her award for 2nd place winner in adult writing competition. Congratulations!!!
March 31, 2015
Our third place winner, Valerie Person, gives a detailed and emotional account of her dynamic definition of home. As a daughter, mother, and grandmother she has experienced different experiencse in her life that have shaped her descriptive meaning of what home is to her.
Home is Where the Heart Is
A home is a special place to have, because there is love. I feel so peaceful and loved just to sit in my home and read a book, watch TV, and sit at my computer enjoying the quietness…. My life has not been all that good. I lost my way, my children, grandchildren, family and my home. I was addicted to drugs for years and had nowhere to live. I thank God for delivering me.
While living with my sons we had good times when I was not doing drugs. They did not have everything they wanted, but they did not go without on the holidays either. I still cooked during those times and the love was still there, but in their eyes and heart, they were hurting. Sometimes I did not know how to feel. I knew that we love each other, but to them I had a different way of showing mine. Today I know that there is nothing like having family. Now I have a roof over my head, a warm bed and my family support. I feel safe and comfortable, protected, peaceful and loved. I do not have to worry about where I would sleep anymore. My family comes and celebrates my birthdays and Thanksgiving with me. I feel the love and peace in my heart knowing that I have a second chance to be with them. God’s presence flows through my home. It is a blessing knowing that he will never leave me.
I love when my grandchildren come over on weekends. We pray, sing, read our bibles and let God’s presence come down. We are always doing something together. I just love the smiles on their faces when they walk in and just light up the house. They are as happy to be with me as I am with them. We are always glorifying God. My youngest granddaughter she gets on her knees every time she hears the song “Pray”. In church that is the song that we sing, during prayer time. They love going to church with me. They sing and they love playing the games on TV. The aroma of the food I cook is a wonderful smell in the air all over the house. I teach them how to bake cakes, doughnuts and cupcakes. We have a ball. Sometimes I cannot wait for them to go sleep. They can be a handful but I love them all.
The joy that I have in my home is a glorious feeling. I thank God for all he is doing in my life. My home is where the heart is. It is the love we all share when we come together under one roof. Our love is from the heart and it is unconditional. We have our difficulties, but we still love each other. Having a home is a blessing.
March 24, 2015
Our first place youth winner, Aniya Ward, gives a symbolic definition of what home means to her. She is well aware of the disadvantages of those without homes to call their own, but explains the importance of happiness in everything that she does. Congrats on being this year’s first place winner!
1st Place | Youth Category
“Home”, home is a place where I feel free. Home, home is the place where I can be anyone I want to be. My home to me is music. When I sing I feel peace, I feel calm, and I feel that absolutely nobody can get to me. They say home is where you live, but I think otherwise. To me, home can be anywhere, as long as you feel like you can be yourself. Where I was raised, I was taught to respect others, and to treat other people how I wanted to be treated. I take everything that I have ever learned, and I use it towards music. Every note I hit when I sing is magic. Even if I mess up I know that it’s ok. Usually, when I mess up anything at school, I put a lot of pressure on myself because I want everything that I do, to be done perfectly. But at home I feel serenity. As a youth, I’m grateful to even have a place to call home. I’m grateful to have a place to rest my head, and dance all day until my feet hurt because not everyone has that. Where I live is a place where I can learn from my mistakes, perfect my crafts, and strive to be the best. Unfortunately people don’t have the open doors to work on their life goals no matter how talented they are. To the people who are associated with the homeless environment, I truly believe that they deserve to have a place to call home. They deserve to know that they deserve the best, and they deserve to have a chance to succeed and be the best. My home is my open door to success, but most importantly “Home Is Where the Heart Is”.
A very proud and gleeful Aniya, as she accepts her 1st place award for her talented entry.
March 17, 2015
Our second place youth writing winner, Charles Barley, accounts his transition from his old home into his new home. Here, in this subtle yet sentimentally driven entry, Charles magnifies the little things that he thinks make his home a very special one.
Home Sweet Home
My home is a sweet home. As a kid growing up, I used to hang outside with my friends. I didn’t spend much time at home. I loved the streets more than coming home. Then, we moved to my new home. It wasn’t brand new, but new to me. We were the first ones to move from the old neighborhood. I liked staying inside playing games and wrestling with my dad. This made my house a home. This is a home sweet home. When I think of home, it brings back memories of a place where I play games, dance, and go outside with family and friends. My memories of home are fun. Home is more than a place that I live. It is more than a place that I lay my head. It is a safe place where I wake up in the mornings. My home is home sweet home.
March 10, 2015
Our third place youth winner, Alex Merino (left), has high hopes to be a professional soccer player one day. He and his family found a comfortable place to call their home with the help of Jubilee Housing. Alex Merino expresses his aspirations and satisfaction with this detailed entry.
3rd Place Youth Entry: Alex Merino
Home is a special place for me because it is a place I can be secure in and I am always happy with my family. Everything is joyful in my apartment with my mom and my family. It is joyful because everybody makes me happy in my home and my home is so blessed because Jubilee Housing gave it to us. My heart feels good there. It is so fun in my house because there are games to play and I have space to play with my brother. If I wasn’t in Jubilee Housing in my apartment learning with the youth programs, I would be failing my grades. I would have an F in each class I went to. Even if I tried my hardest nothing would be better than a place that is quiet so I could hear myself think. My favorite place about my home is that everything there is mine. If my family didn’t own it, I wouldn’t be so happy and joyful. Without my house I would be starving to death because we would have no place to put our food. Even if I had five dollars or so, I wouldn’t have any food because in the streets all the rats would touch it. When I grow up I want my home to be a place where I could live and offer my space to other homeless people and kids so they could live in and that they won’t get sick outside or die from thunder if it is thundering or lightening. I want to be a famous soccer player when I grow up and I would want a mansion so everyone who is special could fit inside. Even if there were 100 homeless people I could fit them all in my house. That is why housing is so special to me because Jubilee Housing is teaching me how to have a home and be a good soccer player. They teach me to reach out to others, like homeless people, so they could be okay and succeed through the rest of their lives. Home is special to me because I know nothing will stop me reaching my sweet dreams!
February 13, 2015
January 16, 2015
We will be reaching out to our community to let them know about the Housing For All Rally! With your help we will be able call all our supporters to let them know and encourage them to join us!
November 18, 2014
Today, DC Council voted unanimously to support at least $100 million in appropriations for the Housing Production Trust Fund annually. Bill 20-708, the Housing Production Trust Fund Baseline Funding Amendment Act of 2014, was introduced by Councilmember (now Mayor-elect) Bowser in recognition of this critical tool for producing and preserving affordable housing. Since the legislation is subject to appropriation, it will require further action by the Mayor and Council in the DC budget.
“CNHED applauds the DC Council for their commitment to ensure that every District resident can live in housing that is affordable to them,” says Stephen Glaude, Executive Director of CNHED. “This legislation is a major step forward in creating a predictable source of funds for preserving and developing affordable housing.”
In introducing the legislation, Mayor-elect Bowser acknowledged the important efforts of CNHED’s Housing For All Campaign. CNHED has advocated for significant and stable funding for the Housing Production Trust Fund for over a decade. “It is through the dedicated work of Housing For All Campaign supporters and CNHED members that this legislation has passed,” says Campaign Organizer Elizabeth Falcon. “Through Council visits, town hall meetings, and direct advocacy, we have educated legislators about the value of the Trust Fund.”
What the Trust Fund has done for DC
- The Trust Fund is crucial to meeting DC’s affordable housing goals of ending chronic homelessness, supporting first-time home buyers, and creating and preserving high quality rental housing.
- It has produced and preserved over 8,500 affordable homes across every ward in the District. There are 2,300 more affordable homes in the pipeline with Trust Fund commitments.
- Estimated conservatively, more than 18,000 DC residents currently live in units funded by the Trust Fund.
- For every dollar invested from the Trust Fund, $2.50 was invested from other sources.
- It has created an estimated 10,000 short-term and permanent jobs.
- It has strong guidelines that prescribe levels and lengths of affordability to serve District residents with the greatest housing need.
- When used with DC’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, it provides tenants with the opportunity to stay in their homes and preserve affordable housing for themselves and their neighbors.