Despite living in a well-resourced District of Columbia, DC residents are facing homelessness, housing instability, and crisis-level lack of affordable housing every day, so there is much work to be done to address these issues in DC in order to further housing justice. The budget process is an opportunity to do just that.
Councilmember Brianne Nadeau has announced emergency legislation that would prohibit encampment evictions and the creation of “no tent” zones while also addressing some of the health and safety concerns raised by unhoused and housed residents. The Council will vote on the bill next Tuesday, December 7, and nine votes are needed for the bill to pass.
On July 20, the DC Council took its first vote on DC’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget, and we are looking ahead to the final vote on August 3. With the end of the FY22 budget season on the horizon, here is how our housing and homelessness priorities have fared in the budget process thus far.
In 2021, there are reasons for hope. It is time to envision and pursue a path forward. We reject setting our goal posts at “back to normal” because too many people were suffering prior to the pandemic, and we know that the death toll and harm of the pandemic could have been lessened if a well-threaded safety net had been in place.
With oversight hearings over and the Mayor set to release her proposed budget to the Council by May 27, it is time to sign up for budget hearings!
With a significant infusion of federal dollars, a new understanding of the importance of housing as healthcare, and a commitment by DC Department of Human Services to undergo an analysis of the racial equity impact of its programs, now is the time to take these lessons to heart and make substantial changes to the status quo.