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.
Tomorrow, the DC Council will vote on an emergency bill that will begin phasing in evictions again in DC. Since March of 2020, an eviction moratorium has been in place that is tied to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Mayor Bowser has told the DC Council that she does not intend to extend the Public Health Emergency past July 25. The bill before the Council has some good parts, and some parts that could stand to be improved.
Welcome to our first assessment of the proposed FY22 budget! We will try to explain how much money Mayor Bowser has committed to meet our demands for ending and preventing homelessness and creating deeply affordable housing. It is up to the Council now to shift this budget into one that does more to shake up the status quo, and more to provide housing justice to District residents.
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.