Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (D) said Tuesday that his “number one objective” is to keep shelters open for homeless families and victims of domestic violence.
– Washington Post, Tuesday May 10, 2011

Because of YOU, people are listening. Nearly every DC Council member has expressed concern about the plight of priority 1 homeless families and we are hearing that the Council will restore at least some funding to keep emergency family shelter open year-round.

Our deepest thanks to all of our friends and allies who took the time to urge the Council to adopt a budget that is fair and just.

But our work is not done, and we still need your help.

Here’s the problem….

The Council is in final deliberations, and there remain three significant holes in the human services budget:

– Shelter for Single Individuals – According to the director of DC’s Department of Human Services, all singles shelters and transitional housing will be shut down after next hypothermia season if the current budget proposal moves forward. That would put 1500 homeless men and women out on the street.

– Interim Disability Assistance – IDA is a proven method for temporarily supporting disabled District residents with extremely low incomes and helping them transition to federally funded Supplemental Security Income. In spite of receiving reimbursement from the federal government for about 40% of the cost, the Mayor’s proposed FY2012 budget completely eliminates the IDA program in its entirety.

– TANF – The proposed budget imposes retroactive time limits on TANF recipients, cutting a family of three’s benefits from $428/month to $214/month with only 30 days notice. The benefit cut would be imposed without regard to the individual family’s compliance with TANF work requirements or barriers that they face to work such as domestic violence or physical or mental health disabilities.

Here’s what you can do:

Email the Council to urge them to “Restore funding to Homeless Services, IDA and TANF”. Your message can be simple. Tell them that you want to live in a community that values justice and supports those who are facing difficult times. Shelter for families and individuals, IDA and TANF should be top priorities during final budget deliberations.

Finally, for those of you who earn more than $100,000 a year please consider signing on to a letter urging council support of the increased income tax. You can add your name online.

Kwame Brown (Chairman) 724-8032 or
Vincent Orange (soon to be at-large) 724-8174 or
David Catania (at-large) 724-7772 or
Phil Mendelson (at-large) 724-8064 or
Michael Brown (at-large) 724-8105 or
Jim Graham (Ward 1) 724-8181 or
Jack Evans (Ward 2) 724-8058 or
Mary Cheh (Ward 3) 724-8062 or
Muriel Bowser (Ward 4) 724-8052 or
Harry Thomas, Jr. (Ward 5) 724-8028 or
Tommy Wells (Ward 6) 724-8072 or
Yvette Alexander (Ward 7) 724-8068 or
Marion Barry (Ward 8 ) 724-8045 or

As always, many thanks for your support.