During the whirlwind budget season, we were hard at work fighting for programs that are important to Hyacinth’s Place. As part of our advocacy, we provided testimony in front of City Council’s Economic Development Committee.
Dana, a Hyacinth’s Place resident, and Urla, our executive director, testified in favor of the Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF). Here are both of their remarks:
Dana Taylor, a Hyacinth’s Place resident, talks about how the HPTF has impacted her life in a positive way:
My name is Dana Taylor. I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak on behalf of Hyacinth’s Place, for the Housing Production Trust Fund.
I moved to DC in 2000. I have been on my own since the age of 18. My family was very abusive to me. I have since forgiven them, but unfortunately, it has left me with some serious scars.
I was diagnosed in 2009 with PTSD and borderline personality disorder. My journey to Hyacinth’s Place started in 2012. I was evicted from Woodley House because they could no longer afford the apartment.
Green Door, my Core Service Agency did a fantastic job, finding me an opening at Hyacinth’s Place….God is good…..otherwise, I would have been homeless and in a shelter.
Although I still have many struggles and challenges, Hyacinth’s Place makes it a lot easier to go through because they offer a number of services, such as substance abuse counseling, spiritual support, one-on-one counseling, and the list goes on.
Because of Hyacinth’s Place, I have been afforded the opportunity to go back to college and get a degree in Business Management. I will now be able to afford my own apartment, get a good paying job and most of all, I now have a new hope and a new beginning.
So because of this, there will be room for someone else to have the same opportunity to succeed.
So if you put this $100 million in the Housing Production Trust Fund this makes room for another person to become a functional member of the community.
I want to close by saying this, homelessness and mental illness can happen to anyone. Remember this can be your Mother, your father, your brother, your sister or your neighbor.
Thank you for your time and your consideration.
And here is Executive Director Urla Barrow’s testimony:
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I represent Hyacinth’s Place. My name is Urla Barrow and I am the Executive Director. Hyacinth’s Place is a home for women who have a mental health diagnoses and who are homeless. We are located on Bladensburg Rd NE in ward 5. This building which offers our women a secure place to live was constructed with $3.5 million from the District Government and private foundations. $!.8 million of this money came from the Housing Production Trust Fund.
I want to let you know why I am here today. It is critical that the $M100 allocated to this line item, receives your support and this money is allowed to remain in the budget. Without that $M1.8 that we received from the Housing Production Trust Fund, we would not have a Hyacinth’s Place , we would not be able to allow women who are traumatized by events in their lives,……….by their illness………. by living in shelters ………and on the streets, ….we would not have this safe haven for them to call home.
By developing Hyacinth’s Place from the money of the Housing Production Trust Fund, we offer women permanent housing with supportive services. ……….With the issue of permanent supportive housing off the table, our women can concentrate on their emotional stability.
I am glad this money was available to us because now we have created a unique model that impacts the issue of homelessness and can affect the cycle of recidivism.
If we are serious about helping the homeless, we cannot only provide housing and turn our backs. We have to recognize the underlying issues and ensure the supportive services are not just available, but that residents have the ability to take full advantage of these resources.
With money for affordable housing, we have provided independent efficiency units for women and we have identified the barriers to their inability to manage their lives. So not only are we taking ladies out of the Shelters, the streets and off the couches of friends and families we are providing them the tools through supportive services for that step to positively impact the quality of their lives.
I ask that you support this line item in the budget and so place your stamp on changing the lives of so many low income and homeless persons.