Dear Chairman Brown:

In large measure due to your leadership, over 1500 District residents struggling with homelessness have been sleeping a little easier since May 25th.  Especially in these challenging fiscal times, we at the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless want you to know how very grateful our community is that the Council was able to make significant progress in closing the funding gap for homeless services, averting a potential crisis for DC’s shelter and transitional housing programs.  We appreciate your efforts to restore some funding to IDA and TANF, as well.

But our collective work is far from done!  We need you to urge your Council colleagues to be faithful to the list of priority restorations adopted at the first vote on the Budget Support Act.  If the economy continues to improve as we all so desperately hope it will, dedicating additional revenues to these programs will enhance the quality of life for residents throughout the District.  More and more, our neighbors from every quadrant and every ward are articulating their support for vital services…and their willingness to contribute to the resources needed to ensure that every District resident has an opportunity to thrive.

Several years ago, you and your colleagues deemed the District of Columbia to be a “Human Rights City.”  That is a moniker that must continuously be earned, not simply declared.  The budget that was initially submitted to the Council strayed far from that distinction; the budget that you passed puts us back on course.  We are confident that under your leadership, starting with the final passage of the Budget Support Act as it is presently configured, DC can be faithful to the principles that a human rights city must embrace.  We look forward to partnering with you in the weeks and months ahead toward that end.

With kind regards,