So far this budget season, through testimony, social-media campaigns, a rally and a briefing, meetings with Council staff, and more, we’ve called on policymakers to put resources behind housing-rights and anti-poverty initiatives. Examples include the Local Rent Supplement Program, the Housing Production Trust Fund, and the cost-effectiveness of permanent supportive housing investments. We also urged the Council not to repeal the modest sales tax increase—25 cents for every $100—that Mayor Bowser proposed as a means to fund anti-homelessness initiatives in her budget.
In fact, on Friday we joined dozens in the Council’s hearing in a symbolic collection of quarters to show how small a cost the sales tax adds compared to the impact on D.C.’s most vulnerable individuals and families if we don’t act. Here’s the video!
— Fair Budget DC (@FairBudgetDC) May 8, 2015
Now we enter the next phase—the Council’s turn. Starting today, Councilmembers will build on the input they got during oversight hearings to craft their own budget proposal. First, each committee will give its recommendations, which then go to the full Council for consideration. The time for the public to testify at hearings is over, but there is plenty we can still to do to influence Councilmembers through this next stage!
So here is your round-up of some of the ways we’ll be involved during the last stretch of budget season—we invite you to join us for any and all!
Tuesday, May 12: Judiciary Committee mark-up. Services for domestic-violence survivors and operations for the Office of Human Rights will be under consideration.
Wednesday May 13: Housing and Community Development mark-up. This committee oversees, among many important programs, two of the funding streams that are critical for Hyacinth’s Place: the Local Rent Supplement Program (LRSP), which helps low-income residents with their rents, and the Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF), which the District uses to build and keep up affordable housing units.
Thursday, May 14: Health and Human Services mark-up. This committee’s marked-up budget could take big steps toward ending chronic homelessness by investing in permanent supportive housing services.
Friday, May 15: Hearing on the Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH) Strategic Plan. Whether you observe or testify, your presence will show support for the ICH’s strategic plan to end homelessness. This isn’t directly related to the budget process, but it’s a good opportunity for witnesses to point out gaps in funding for the ICH plan. If you want more information about testifying, email Vanessa@hyacinths.org
Tuesday, May 19: Fair Budget Coalition’s first call-in day. Can’t make it to the Wilson Building? Here’s a chance to make a huge difference in 60 seconds or less! The FBC is organizing two call-in days. Because a lot of the power over what’s in the final version of the budget lies in Chairman Mendelson’s hands, we need to flood his office with calls for programs that address poverty and meet human needs. Sign up for Tuesday, May 19th and Tuesday, May 26th.
Wednesday, May 20: The Way Home Campaign call-in day. The Way Home Campaign advocates for programs to end chronic homelessness. Call the Chairman to speak specifically about these priorities! RAISE YOUR VOICE! Click here to sign up for a time to call the Chairman on Wednesday, 5/20.
Thursday, May 21: CNHED’s Advocacy Day. At 9AM, advocates will meet with Councilmembers to show the widespread support for The Coalition for Non-Profit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED)’s budget recommendations. CNHED’s funding priorities will secure affordable housing for low-income Washingtonians, support the Interagency Council on Homelessness’ strategic plan, and promote affordable homeownership.
Tuesday, May 26: Fair Budget Coalition’s second call-in day. Let’s remind Chairman Mendelson how many calls he got the week before and ring in again! Sign up here
Wednesday, May 27: The Council takes its first vote on the budget!
Can’t make it to the Wilson Building?
You can still make your voice heard! In addition to the FBC’s and Way Home Campaign’s call-in days, we’ll be updating this post with ways to stay connected remotely. For example:
Stream all the mark-ups and hearings live at dccouncil.us!
Sign CNHED’s letter to the Council urging them to commit $100 million into the Housing Production Trust Fund
Get updates on social media:
To get a bigger picture, keep an eye out for these hashtags: #weareALLdc, #takeourquarters, and #housingforall