Yesterday, the DC Council, in its final legislative meeting of this session, passed several bills that will make it easier for low-income residents to obtain and maintain employment and housing. While much of the attention on the Council and in the press was, deservedly, on a game-changing paid family and medical leave act, a bill passed unanimously that could be a game changer for many DC residents seeking housing: the Fair Criminal Record Screening Act for Housing (FCRSAH).
Since 1990, people experiencing homelessness, advocates, activists, and other community members have used the Winter Solstice – the darkest day of the year – to celebrate the lives and mourn the passing of those who died homeless during the year. This year 51 people were mourned.
The Bowser Administration has proposed amendments to the Homeless Services Reform Act that would impose upon homeless families in DC stricter standards for proving their residency and eligibility for live-saving shelter. We are concerned that the proposal will impose barriers that could prevent DC’s most vulnerable families from accessing desperately needed shelter. Set out below is a letter to the DC Council from the Legal Clinic and a number of our colleagues in the provider and advocacy community, urging the Council to provide an adequate opportunity for community input about what the impact of these changes will be. We hope you’ll join us in calling on the Council not to move the legislation forward on an emergency basis.
The Legal Clinic seeks to hire an attorney to join our efforts to bring justice to DC residents who are homeless or at risk or becoming so. Please see the announcement here and circulate to excellent candidates. Many thanks!
Yesterday, DC Council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Committee on Transportation and the Environment held a joint hearing on Bill B21-0736, “Improving Access to Identity Documents Amendment Act of 2016.” The Bill was introduced by Councilmembers Grosso and Alexander in an effort to tackle one of the many obstacles that low-income DC residents face when trying to obtain necessary government IDs. If enacted, the bill would waive fees associated with obtaining vital records, IDs, and driver’s licenses for DC residents whose income falls under 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.