When people receive truly safe and permanent housing, there will be no need for our unhoused neighbors to seek safety and stability through encampments. Access to safe permanent housing should be the priority, not forced displacement.
These housing investments are large and potentially transformative, and we want to take a moment to talk about their potential impact on affordable housing and homelessness in DC as well as preview some next steps for advocacy.
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.
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 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.