While I don’t think, At-Large D.C. Council Member Robert White ran a particularly good campaign, one thing that appealed to me (and why I voted for him) is that he understands that the failures of governance typically aren’t due to the Council’s legislation; some are, but most aren’t–it’s a matter of execution. From an interview with Council Member White (boldface mine):
Q: You alluded to a huge lack of trust between people who are experiencing homelessness and service providers and the government. How do we address that?
A: I had a lacrosse coach who said, “Nothing succeeds like success.” The perception of the homelessness system is based on experiences. And what they are experiencing now and what they are hearing from other people is that it’s not working. We need them to see that it is working.
When people see “Hey, I got approved for a housing voucher and now I am in a home,” other people are going to want a housing voucher. But if you know a lot of people who have not been approved for housing for years, you are in no hurry to get one yourself. We have done too much patting ourselves on the back for funding things and creating programs. We’ve got to start making these programs work better.
The executive branch–which is to say, the mayor–needs to start executing better. There’s only so much that oversight can do: it’s not the Council’s job to run and staff agencies, it’s the mayor’s. Maybe the next mayoral election will actually focus on making things work. Because people have to like this crap.
Anyway, there are some good ideas for tackling homelessness and the overall housing crisis. Worth a read.