It’s budget season!
It’s a big week for Hyacinth’s Place and all of our friends in the permanent supportive housing community! Two committees of the City Council will consider next year’s funding for two programs that are essential to helping our residents rebuild their lives. I’ll talk about those programs in a minute but first, a quick refresher—the budget!
Every year the mayor sends the City Council a budget proposal that outlines how he’d like to see all the services the city provides funded. Public-education programs? In the budget. First responders? Check. Traffic lights? Yep. Members of the City Council use the mayor’s proposal as a starting point and then, over a series of public hearings, put together a proposal of their own. Each city agency gets its own hearing. All of this happens over the course of a little more than two months. For more information on important programs in the Budget, check out the DC Fiscal Policy Institute’s helpful primer.
As part of the budget process, many organizations and individuals speak out for city programs that are important to them. That’s because there’s no better way to make sure the program that is important to you gets funding than to share a personal story of how it has had a positive impact in your life. They may call their councilmember, write letters to the editor of their local newspaper, Tweet (if that’s your cup of tea, use the hashtag #dcfy15), or testify at hearings in front of the City Council.
That brings me back to the two important hearings this week, which will talk about two programs that are essential to Hyacinth’s ability to give our residents the support they need:
Wednesday, April 30: Department of Department of Human Services
At this hearing, the committee members will take input from the public about funding for the Local Rent Supplement Program. This fund lets many low-income people in the District access housing by helping out with rent that they otherwise couldn’t afford. Many people who benefit from this program are homeless and need supportive services like those Hyacinth’s offers. We join our partners in the housing-rights community in asking the committee to allocate $2 million for this program.
Friday May 2: the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).
Here, the Committee members will hear citizens testify about The Housing Production Trust Fund. This fund is the main way the District builds and keeps up affordable housing units, like the ones we have at Hyacinth’s Place. We are requesting $100 million dollars this year and the years after for this fund.
As you can see, it’s a big week for us! Here are some actions you’ll be seeing from Hyacinth’s place to get the word out about these important programs:
- We’ll be tweeting what committee members have said about their commitment to ending chronic homelessness.
- We’ll be live-tweeting highlights from the committee hearings.
- We’ll be sharing what our people are saying about the budget hearing on social media.
- Most exciting – on Friday, our very own Dynise and Dana, two Hyacinth’s Place residents, will testify at the Department of Housing and Community Development hearing about how the Housing Production Trust Fund has impacted their own lives in a positive way. We’ll tweet pictures from the hearing, and we’ll be sure to post their testimony on our blog!
Here’s to an exciting week—we hope you’ll follow along with us in encouraging the City Council to support the Local Rent Supplement Program and the Housing Production Trust Fund.