Last week, DC Council committees held budget mark-ups where they had the opportunity to make changes they deemed necessary to Mayor Bowser’s proposed budget. As you probably know, the Legal Clinic advocates each year for a just and inclusive DC budget that prioritizes housing and other basic human needs. (All of our budget asks were developed with and are supported by the Fair Budget Coalition.) We’ve got updates for you on how the DC Council has done so far in terms of meeting those needs.

The DC Council will take its first of two votes on the fiscal year 2019 budget next Tuesday, May 15. Now is the time to check in on how/whether your elected leaders are putting YOUR money where their mouths are when it comes to funding affordable housing– and to take action.


Housing for Families Experiencing Homelessness

We asked for 1195 homeless families to be housed with permanent supportive housing and targeted affordable housing.

Mayor Bowser’s proposal: increase of permanent subsidies for 150 families. That’s 12.5% of the ask/need.

DC Council: ZERO increase for families, leaving 87.5% of the need unmet.


Rightsizing Rapid Re-housing for families

After the Mayor and the Council refused to improve the program and instead re-committed to the harmful time limit policy that sets families up to fail, we, for the first time ever, are proposing a cut to this program’s funding and the money diverted to far more successful and humane housing programs.

Mayor Bowser’s proposal: the LARGEST housing enhancement of any program, an increase of $6.6 million

DC Council: We asked the Committee on Human Services to begin to right-size the family system by moving the $6.6 million increase and $3.1 million from current Rapid Re-housing funds over to permanent supportive housing and targeted affordable housing for families. The Committee declined to do so.


Housing for Chronically Homeless Individuals

We (along the Way Home Campaign) asked for 1620 homeless individuals to be housed.

Mayor Bowser’s proposal: an increase in housing for 420 homeless individuals. That’s 25% of the ask, and far less than the full need.

DC Council: The Committee on Human Services found enough money for housing for 37 chronically homeless individuals, leaving more than 1183 chronically homeless individuals in desperate need of housing this year.


Affordable housing for DC residents with the lowest incomes

We asked for 2600 units of affordable housing (1/2 built, 1/2 leased) for extremely low income DC households (0-30% Area Median Income) in order to meet the true need for this type of affordable housing in ten years.

Mayor Bowser’s proposal: no new units for the people most in need, primarily because there is no operating subsidy and no tenant vouchers to take households off the DC Housing Authority waitlist. That’s 0% of the ask/need.

DC Council: The Housing Committee committed no additional dollars to the Housing Production Trust Fund, the operating subsidy for new units, or tenant vouchers to take families off the waitlist. It did devote funds for 20 seniors to get vouchers.


Housing for Domestic Violence Survivors

The DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence asked for an additional $5.5 Million to support domestic violence-specific shelter for 37 individuals or families, transitional housing for 119 individuals or families, and a flexible funding program that can keep survivors stably and safely housed and not needing to enter the housing continuum.

Mayor Bowser’s proposal: DECREASES funding for domestic violence-specific housing by $67,000.

DC Council: The Judiciary Committee increased funding for housing for domestic violence survivors by $500,000, leaving $5 million unfunded.


Eviction prevention

We asked for an increase of $12 million in the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), an extremely effective program that keeps people in their homes and prevents evictions.

Mayor Bowser’s proposal: DECREASES ERAP by 24% from last year’s budget, which is a 43% reduction from FY 2016.

DC Council: The Committee on Human Services reversed the cut and restored ERAP to the same level as this fiscal year, which is still less than the year before, and certainly less than the full need.


What can you do? Contact your Council member and tell them this gap between rhetoric and reality is unacceptable—that they must do better by DC residents struggling with homelessness.
Use this “one-click” action or find their contact info here.