Boston wants to extend its "housing first" approach to ending chronic homelessness in the city through the pilot of its "Landlord Guarantee" program. Under the program, property owners who rent to an individual or a family that has been homeless will receive a "landlord partner" from the city's Office of Housing Stability to help them navigate the program and resolve issues that might arise between the two parties. The city will also compensate landlords for up to $10,000 for any unpaid rent, property damage, and certain court costs. The goal of the two-year pilot is to help 30 families and 30 individuals transition into permanent housing.
Police departments across California are finding creative ways to bolster the public’s confidence and trust in the communities they serve — as well as improve officer morale. The Los Angeles Police Department launched LAPD Read Along last year, partnering with the Los Angeles Public Library to bring a police officer-led story time to library branches each week. The San Bernardino Police Department launched its first at-risk youth adventure camp this past summer, allowing young people to join officers for a three-day camping trip filled with activities that allowed the participants and officers to see each other in new ways. The Emeryville Police Department organized an art contest with eight- to nine-year-olds where the winning team had lunch with the police chief and her officers to talk about neighborhood issues important to them. While the financial and workforce investments for these initiatives are small for police forces, the impacts on the communities and individuals they serve can be significant.
The state of New York is encouraging its municipalities to share more services to reduce expenses and pass the savings on to constituents. Suffolk County, for example, is creating a “virtual store” where municipalities can rent equipment and services from each other, such as graffiti-removal machines, and recycling and youth programs. Montgomery County will make changes to the way records are retained and Nassau County has submitted ideas for sharing services, from pothole repair to code enforcement. The moves by the counties are in response to a new statute enacted in the state, which will also match any savings achieved during the first full year of implementation. Around 400 shared services initiatives were included in the plans approved by New York counties this year.
Recently, Somaliland, a semi-autonomous region of Somalia, became one of the first governmental authorities to use iris recognition in a presidential election. The shift to this technology was due in part to logistical issues and integrity fears stemming from previous elections, including duplicate names in the voter register. For the past several years, Somaliland has worked to improve its electoral track record to strengthen its standing on the international stage.
To encourage drivers to slow down in Ísafjörður, Iceland, the city has installed a new pedestrian crosswalk that appears to be levitating a few inches from the pavement. The visual road safety trick was unveiled as an alternative to speed bumps, which can damage vehicle suspensions, injure car passengers, and even contribute to air pollution. Officials note that drivers are now traveling differently over the crossing even as they are getting used to it. The town is currently experimenting with adding paints to make the 3-D effect visible at night, and more "floating crosswalks" are planned.