Progress, YES but the GAP between Need and Investment is DAUNTING.

The Mayor’s proposed budget makes important investments in human services and capital projects that address the needs of the poor and marginalized:

$10 million for vulnerable families living in extreme poverty.
$9.5 million for individuals who are chronically homeless.
$3.1 million for youth who are alone in the city.
$16.7 million to fully fund increased benefits and eligibility for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
$66 million in capital expenses for upgrading the low barrier shelters for individuals, rehabilitation of the NY Ave. Men’s Shelter and replacement of the 801 East men’s shelterRead more   

The City Council in its final vote on the FY2019 budget added an additional $15.6M for affordable housing and homeless services above what the Mayor proposed. Read the details.

These investments are positive steps for which the Mayor and Council should be commended. However, a new report from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute details the true investment in construction and subsidies needed to address the severe rent burden of DC’s 27,000 extremely low income households,  earning $33,000 or less annually for a family of four:

The full subsidy cost to the District would be $2.6 billion in construction subsidies over ten years, with $732 million per year for ongoing operating assistance once all affordable units have been created and occupied.”

Progress in this budget, YES! But the gap is DAUNTING! The city is moving in the right direction, but only slowly and incrementally. The magnitude of the problem demands:

  • serious conversation in the community on resource allocation with a commitment to meeting the needs of our neighbors living in extreme poverty. 
  •  rigorous management of city resources – seek operating efficiencies, evaluate programs for effectiveness, build internal capacity, preserve public land for public needs and implement innovative programs such as the Flexible Rent Subsidy pilot and the Landlord Partnership Initiative                                                    _______________________________________________
    –    On a single night in January 2018, more than 6,000 persons in the city were counted as homeless, at least 600 were unsheltered and living on the streets.  Point in Time Count.

–    On June 18, 2018 more than 500 families with with close to 1200 children lived in DC shelters. More than 1000 single adults slept in shelter.
We pray for those in positions of civic authority, servants of all the people. May their compassion, understanding and just actions lead to a city that measures its greatness by the care it provides for its people in need. Rev. John Graham, Grace Episcopal Church, Georgetown
Newsletter current and previous.
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).