Temporary Neighborhood Family Housing
The Council’s Committee of the Whole held a public hearing on March 17 on the legislation submitted by the Mayor that would allow all neighborhood temporary housing in the 8 Wards to go forward as a package. With this approval, the city could move forward with final contracts and apply for zoning changes immediately.
Good Faith with 90 other organizations and “public witnesses” testified at a hearing on the legislative package. Good Faith has consistently supported the temporary housing plan in all 8 wards. However, the site proposed for Ward 5 housing has raised serious environmental and community concerns in the ward and across the advocacy community. Good Faith’s testimony reflected these concerns and suggested a compromise. (read testimony)
After 8 hours of hearings in the Wilson building, most testifiers supported the closing of DC General as soon as possible. One Council member summed it up: “This action reflects the moral values of the city.” Overall concerns expressed in testimony were: the costs and financing (Are we paying too much? Why the difference in costs from one ward to the next?), the location of the Ward 5 site, lack of community involvement in the process, shelter operations and security, and once again the lack of private bathrooms. Lack of community involvement was an across the board concern.
According to the Chairman, the Council will vote on the proposed legislation package in mid-April. More information in April newsletter.
Mayor’s Proposed Budget for FY2017 – to the Council March 24
TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families) is facing a crisis this year as more than 6,000 families with 13,000 children will reach the end of their eligibility for benefits (60 months). TANF is the only cash benefit program for poor families in the District. (read TANF fact sheet)
Legislation is currently before the Council to create exemptions to the TANF rigid time limit of 60 months. Advocates including Good Faith met with the Mayor about TANF benefits and exemptions on March 11 urging her to support the legislation and to include the dollars needed to fund the exemptions (around $30M) in her FY17 Budget proposal. The amount to extend TANF benefits for another year in the Mayor’s Proposed Budget for 2017 as submitted to the Council is $10M – $20M short of what is needed. Council action on the budget will take place in late May. The Mayor proposed no exemptions to the 60 month time limit.
Shelter Census – March 9, 2016: 1160 families with 2083 children lived in shelter and transitional housing. 1370 men and women were housed in low barrier shelters.
Put the homeless hotline number in your phone: 800-535-7252. In hypothermia season (temperature below 32 degrees – Nov. 1 – March 31), the DC Department of Human Services provides shelter or blankets to individuals living on the street. If you see someone who needs help, alert DHS through the hotline. You may save someone’s life!
IN THE NEWS
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments published the results of the 2015 Point in Time survey of regional homelessness. Read summary.
Biblical Roots of Justice – Foundation of the Journey for Justice: an interfaith conversation on homelessness and the Journey for Justice for our neighbors who are without homes (10 minutes)