We are delighted to report that yesterday the Council unanimously passed a revised budget that prioritized affordable housing, healthcare and support for DC’s homeless families! And we have you to thank for it!
In our final push these last couple of weeks you have helped us turn up the pressure. We interrupted a budget hearing with gospel music and 60 family members from the DC General shelter. We inundated Council members with tweets during their Mark-Up sessions. We sent nearly 600 emails to Council talking about the need to fund homeless services and to move families out of shelter and into housing. And we showed up with 200 people at the Wilson Building for our huge “Day In the Strife” action, challenging the Council to support safety net services. Our members and partners have been doing amazing work beyond that as well, and our combined efforts have made the difference.
Chairman Kwame Brown even gave Fair Budget a shout-out in his opening remarks as he introduced the budget yesterday, referencing our “Day in the Strife” action to demonstrate why the Council needed to prioritize affordable housing. (We talked about more than affordable housing during that action, but we’ll take the compliment!)
Please take a moment to thank Councilmembers for their support with this easy one-click action.
Here’s what we won in the budget:
(See DCFPI for more complete info)
AFFORDABLE HOUSING: $18 MILLION RESTORED TO THE HOUSING PRODUCTION TRUST FUND The Council restored $18 million of the $20 million cut from the trust fund in Gray’s proposed budget by redirecting money from the sale of DC-owned property into the fund.
HOMELESS SERVICES: $4 MILLION ADDED TO LOCAL RENT SUPPLEMENT PROGRAM This will allow between 200 and 300 homeless families to be moved out of shelter into stable housing and given housing subsidies, helping to alleviate the overcrowding at the DC General family shelter and hopefully allowing the shelter to accept new families in need of emergency shelter. It does not restore the $7 million gap in homeless services, but keeps it as number 1 on the Council’s “wish list” for future surplus revenue. The budget also puts as number 5 on the wish list the $1.7 million to add beds for homeless youth.
HEALTHCARE: $23 MILLION FOR THE DC HEALTHCARE ALLIANCE The Council restored $23 million to the DC HealthCare Alliance, the city’s public health insurance program, ensuring that hospital coverage will continue to be available to residents using the program.
VICTIM’S SERVICES: $1.1 MILLION FOR THE OFFICE OF VICTIM’S SERVICES This restoration will help provide shelter, counseling, legal services and support to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes. An additional $2.5M was put as number 8 on the Council’s wish list.
THE WISH LIST: We don’t love the idea of trying to cover budget costs with money that doesn’t exist yet, but we do appreciate how most of the top ten items on the Council’s wish list for how to spend future surplus revenue are safety net priorities: 1) $7M for homeless services; 2) $14.7M for TANF; 3) $9.5M to implement the South Capitol St Memorial Act; 4) $18M for NoMa park (or to prevent park being sold for HPTF money); 5) $1.7M to add beds for homeless youth; 6) $1.6M for various family services; 7) $2.9M for Home Purchase Assistance Program; 8) $2.5M to Ofc of Victim Svcs to offset various cuts; 9) $8.5M for infant/toddler progs; 10) $5M for special ed improvement.
Our fight is not quite over. There is one more budget vote on June 5th and we think we might be able to get a couple more of our priorities addressed (like delaying the cut to TANF). It’s important in these moments that we make sure the Council knows that we appreciate their support of the safety net. Please remember to take our one-click action to thank the Council for their support and ask them to incorporate our few remaining priorities:
Please click here to thank Councilmembers!
Thank you for all of your support this budget season! We will update you with new developments as budget negotiations continue and as we plan a fun event to celebrate our budget victories!