7/6 Council Budget Vote: Increases to PSH and homeless services, much more needs to be done

2020-07-13 | , Miriam's Kitchen

Increases to PSH and homeless services but much more needs to be done

Council Budget Update

On July 7th, the DC Council took its first of two votes on DC’s Fiscal Year 2021 Budget. The Council’s budget adds 118 units of PSH for singles and 53 units of PSH for families. Combined with the Mayor’s budget, the Council’s current FY 21 budget will end chronic homelessness for 319 households. Additionally, the Council restored funding for homeless street outreach and homeless prevention and expanded the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). With data showing that COVID-19 may increase homelessness by 40%, this funding is critical to ensuring our neighbors stay housed whenever possible and get the support they need.  Other bright spots include historic investments for public housing repairs and important, yet insufficient, additions to low-income housing programs such as the Local Rent Subsidy Program (LRSP) and the Housing Production Trust Fund.

Current DC FY 2021 Budget for Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)

Successful scale back of the wasteful Qualified High-Tech Tax Credit

Thanks to your strong advocacy, the DC Council made the moral choice to scale back this the Qualified High-Tech Tax Credit, which was found ineffective by DC’s own Chief Financial Officer, and to reinvest that funding in communities. In just a few hours, over 150 advocates sent 700 emails to influence the vote on this amendment, proving that, when we organize together, we can win. We thank Councilmember Nadeau (Ward 1) for leading this effort and thank the following Councilmembers for prioritizing communities over corporations: Councilmembers Pinto (Ward 2), Cheh (Ward 3), Allen (Ward 6), Gray (Ward 7), Trayon White (At-Large), Robert White (At-Large), Silverman (At-Large), Bonds and Grosso. Click here to thank them for making the moral choice.  This money will:

  • End homelessness for an additional 180 households
  • Increase funding for school-based mental health services
  • Reduce healthcare barriers for our undocumented neighbors
  • Provide grants for early childhood providers; and,
  • Add funding for workers excluded from federal COVID-19 relief.

More must be done

Tinkering around the edges will not end homelessness or address 401 years of racialized oppression and poverty. The continued disinvestment from Black and Brown communities is in stark contrast with the Council’s recent rhetoric about racial justice.  Yesterday, a majority of the Council broke with the wishes of four out of five voters by declining to pass a small increase on our highest income neighbors to fund basic human needs and by prioritizing funding for the Streetcar over funding for urgent public housing concerns. Unfortunately, for many Councilmembers, their celebration of Black Lives Matter painted on the street does not match the ink in their budget.

Over the next two weeks, we need your help to keep the pressure on the DC Council to find additional funding for housing justice. Stay tuned for action alerts and updates!

Next Steps

The Council votes again on July 21s, at which point the budget will becoming final. This means that July 21st is truly our last chance to push for a moral Fiscal Year 2021 budget.  Stay tuned for action alerts to push the Council to do the right thing!