A housing catastrophe


Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) is interviewed by a TV reporter outside a Cheverly motel. (Mike DeBonis/The Washington Post)

“It sounds bad, and it’s worse than it sounds.” That’s what David Berns, the District’s human services director and the top official in charge of care for the homeless, told the D.C. Council Monday. It was an acknowledgment of a staggering demand for shelter from homeless families, a demand not seen since the 1980s and one that threatens to bust the city’s shelter budget, The Post’s Brigid Schulte reports. The D.C. General family shelter is full, and even hotel rooms are scarce, leading some to sleep on cots at rec centers. Advocates have plans to keep families out of those bad situations using short- and medium-term housing assistance, but it’s not at all clear that the city has enough affordable units in which to place all of the needy families. Easy solutions are wanting, Berns says: “Right now, I don’t have any fresh ideas.”

In other news:

Marijuana decriminalization proposal is unsettled going into today’s first-reading vote (WRC-TVLoose LipsWaTimesWAMU-FM)

Eleanor Holmes Norton reiterates in news release that David Catania’s D.C. Promise scholarships — also up for vote today — could threaten federally funded TAG grants (AP)

“The council should table [the D.C. Promise] legislation and return to the drawing board for an approach that doesn’t risk a program that already — at federal expense — makes college more accessible and affordable for D.C. families” (Post editorial)

Deborah Simmons says Norton should get over it (WaTimes)

Andy Shallal tries to translate his business success into political success (PostPost TV)

Nate Bennett-Fleming tries to move up from shadow-rep seat to D.C. Council (Roll Call)

Still no word from Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe on botched heart-attack response (WTTG-TV)

David Grosso says it’s time for Ellerbe to step aside (WTTG-TV)

Franklin School will become contemporary art museum, pitched by EastBanc (Capital BusinessWBJHousing Complex)

Is this really a good idea? (GGW)

Peace in our time: JBG and MRP come to terms on Florida Avenue project (Capital BusinessHousing ComplexUrbanTurf)

New Gray campaign video features Arne Duncan saying Hizzoner “knocked the ball out of the park” (YouTube)

New Bennett-Fleming campaign video has the candidate walking and talking through Capitol Hill (YouTube)

Jack Evans gets GWU College Dems’ endorsement (Hatchet)

More on the campaign finance reports (Loose LipsWashingtonian)

What’s the point of making delinquent youth wear GPS bracelets? (Post column)

Alaska senator’s support for budget autonomy came as a pleasant surprise (WAMU-FM)

On universal pre-K, D.C. has set a national trend (NYT)

As the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer approaches, Marion Barry remembers being a “revolutionary storm trooper” (USA Today)

Richard Sarles takes your questions (Dr. Gridlock)

DCPS is assembling “parents cabinet” (WAMU-FM)

Hit-and-run driver strikes 17-year-old in Carver Langston (WTTG-TVWRC-TV)

Are these stories related? (PostWTTG-TV)

Good time to be a pothole (WRC-TV)

How to make Mall parking meters work best (GGW)

D.C. was in danger of defaulting on unemployment checks, Allen Lew tells Congress (Fierce Government)

The city’s most valuable private property is in Southwest (WBJ)

The new Northeast Library is now open (Capitol Hill CornerInformer)

Anacostia High renovation wins architecture accolade (Washingtonian)

D.C. voting rights is great, but don’t forget the territories (Post letter)

Don’t look now, but the Wizards are above .500 for the first time since the Fenty administration (Post)

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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