The fellowship is one of the many wonderful benefits of our partnership with Georgetown University Law Center on Home Court. The opportunity to form relationships with students each year as well as share in this important work is hugely important to the Legal Clinic. We – and most importantly, our clients – benefit greatly from their invaluable support.
We ask the DC Council to demonstrate the real political will to end homelessness, to demonstrate that they see ending homelessness as a political priority that deserves more than 1.5% of DC’s ever-increasing largesse.
The Legal Clinic firmly believes that the solution to rampant family homelessness is the preservation and expansion of affordable family housing. However, DC must maintain adequate emergency shelter that is immediately available for those facing acute housing crises.
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.