Budget Victory, But No Time To Rest

Budget season is over and it’s been a pretty exciting ride.  This year, the D.C. Council really stepped up and, through restorations and investments, supported many programs relied upon by low-income and no-income D.C. residents.

The Council put $4 million into the tenant-based Local Rent Supplement Program in order to provide permanent affordable housing to about 250 homeless families in the District and open up much-needed space in emergency shelters to accommodate families that are currently in crisis and not able to access shelter.  The Council also delayed TANF cuts and added new exemptions to sanctions so that families who are in crisis and cannot currently obtain employment (such as families caring for a child with a disability full-time or families experiencing severe domestic violence) will not be penalized.  While the Council did not fill the $7 million gap in homeless services, it did keep this funding as the #1 priority on the Council’s “wish-list.”  We remain hopeful that the $7 million will be restored with the next revenue forecast.  For a full list of budget wins by the Fair Budget Coalition, see here.

One thing is certain.  We would not have accomplished these wins without the hard work and commitment of our partners, our clients, and concerned community members like you who put in the effort to make the calls, send the emails, show up at the D.C. Council, and talk to friends and neighbors about the difficult choices faced by D.C. residents every day.

We want to extend the greatest thanks to the community members who bravely shared their personal stories of struggle on this blog, in testimony before the city council, and at visits with councilmembers and their staff.  Any success we’ve had in getting our city leaders to prioritize the needs of D.C. residents is a testament to their compelling advocacy. 

Budget season may be over, but there is still much work left to be done.  Over the next few months, we will be monitoring the city agencies to ensure that families are moved efficiently into housing, that the TANF redesign is working properly to serve our clients, that shelter capacity for single men and women is not reduced, and that all shelter residents are given the supports they need to return to self-sufficiency.  D.C. still has a long way to go to live up to its commitment as a Human Rights City, but if this budget season is any indication, we’re headed in the right direction.

Check this blog all summer to stay informed of ways you can help fight for a more just and inclusive D.C.

About Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless

The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless envisions a just and inclusive community for all residents of the District of Columbia, where housing is a human right and where every individual and family has equal access to the resources they need to thrive. Our mission is to use the law to make justice a reality for our neighbors who struggle with homelessness and poverty. Combining community lawyering and advocacy to achieve our clients’ goals, our expert staff and network of volunteer attorneys provide low barrier, comprehensive legal services at intake sites throughout the District of Columbia, helping our clients to access housing, shelter, and life-saving services. Rooted in the experiences of this client work, we effectively blend system reform efforts, policy advocacy, community education and client engagement to advocate for long term improvements in local and federal programs that serve the low- and no-income community.
This entry was posted in Benefits, Budget Cuts, Client Victories, Clients, DC Budget, DC Policies and Plans, Homelessness, Housing, Poverty, Shelter, TANF. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Budget Victory, But No Time To Rest

  1. Kathryn Baer says:

    The Legal Clinic, its advocacy partners, clients and other concerned community members all did a fine job. The budget we have is in important ways better than what one might have expected, given what the Gray administration proposed.

    We need to bear in mind, however, that the delay in the TANF benefits cuts is not a sure thing. Nor are the exemptions. They’re also on the “wish list,” http://bit.ly/MiHa0X

    And if past is prologue, we need to keep a watchful eye on what happens when/if those additional revenues are forecast.

  2. linda leaks says:

    …thank you for your good work!!!!

  3. Pingback: Budget Victory | Georgetown Ministry Center

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