Council considers the Mayor’s  FY 2018 Proposed Budget
–  The Proposed Budget invests $100M in the Housing Production Trust Fund. The Trust Fund helps build and preserve affordable housing.  A new fund has been added ($10M) to preserve existing affordable housing.  The challenge on how to create sustainable housing for families living in deep poverty – 0-30% of the Adjusted Median Income ($32,600 and below for a household of 4) remains.  117 new, long-term  housing vouchers for families who require both rental assistance and professional services to sustain housing (permanent supportive housing) were added to the budget, but only 85 vouchers for families who just need rental assistance.  The need outstrips the number of new vouchers – 41K families waiting on the Housing Authority list for rental assistance; more than 800 families homeless in shelter….

–   Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a mix of local and federal funds, is the only cash assistance program for DC needy families.  The benefit includes some services such as subsidized child care, transportation, and training for employment, but doesn’t include housing assistance. More than 70% of families in shelter receive TANF benefits, for many their only income source. At present, the District has a rigid 60-month, lifetime limit on participation.  A restructured TANF program is included in the Mayor’s FY2018 proposed budget. The goal is to create a flexible safety net that gives priority to children’s needs:  Full income assistance continues as long as families experience economic hardship. 60-month limit eliminated.  Children’s portion of the benefit would not be reduced even if the parents are sanctioned for not complying with TANF rules. The intent is to protect the well-being of children. Benefits would increase to $644 per month in FY2019 for a family of 3. This benefit is in-line with benefits in other high-cost jurisdictions. $8.1M is included to support the new TANF.  The Council is considering its own, slightly different, TANF Restructuring Legislation.

–   Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) for the chronically homeless (housing assistance with services) has proven to be a successful program in the last few years.  A large number of single adults in DC are chronically homeless meaning they have been homeless for a long time and suffer from life-threatening health conditions and/or severe mental illness.  The proposed budget adds $2.7 for 162 PSH vouchers for the chronically homeless.  This funding provides only 30% of what is needed to end chronic homelessness, a goal the Mayor has promised to achieve.

Mayor’s FY 2018 Budget introduced – Proposed funding of Good Faith Priorities.

Reading list for those confronting a world out of focus.

Shelter Census, April 1, 2017: 812 families with 1650 children resided in shelter or transitional housing on this date.  1038 single men and women also resided in shelters.

New hypothermia hotline:  202-399-7093 OR 311.
                                                                    IN THE NEWS
Homeward DC, 2015-2020. Inter-agency Council on Homelessness Strategic Plan, 2015-2020.  Read Executive Summary.
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, 2016 Point in Time survey of regional homelessness.
  Read report.
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)