“Robert White urges compassion for people experiencing homelessness, and he advocates for programs that consistently meet the needs of vulnerable communities. In a time of great revenue, we must be committed to helping the less fortunate.”
On Affordable Housing: Affordable housing is one of the top issues facing our residents, particularly working families and a squeezed middle class. This is even more of a concern for the ‘working poor’, who hold down employment yet still struggle to make ends meet.
My first order of business will be to protect D.C.’s dwindling stock of affordable housing. I will then stop allowing developers to skirt our requirements for mixed income development. I will add a significant amount of new affordable housing, starting with our under-performing commercial corridors such as Georgia Avenue, Rhode Island Avenue, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. I will also make sure we keep the Housing Trust Fund healthy and well-funded, as promised.
I will make sure that what we call “affordable housing” is actually affordable for real people. The Area Median Income (AMI) in DC is so high that people at the lower end of the income scale are often not able to even find affordable housing. That isn’t right. We cannot continue to blame the high AMI for the lack of real affordable housing.
On Public Housing: I will be a fighter, protecting our existing housing and its residents. I will hold our government accountable so that it reverses the pattern of neglect and disrepair. We continue to demolish public housing with a false promise that residents will be able to return. This is unacceptable. We have a growing deficiency in maintenance and capital improvements as highlighted in a recent DC Fiscal Policy Institute report (http://www.dcfpi.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/16-01-27-Public-housing-paper-final.pdf). As we have seen with our Metro system, once serious maintenance and capital improvement projects get kicked down the road it becomes virtually impossible to recover without a stoppage or a serious accident. We have to address the affordable housing problem immediately. That will not happen without a real advocate in this At-Large Council seat.
I will ensure that D.C. government funds the Housing Production Trust Fund, permanent supportive housing, and the Rent Supplement program at levels sufficient for both the number of people in need and the high cost of housing in the District.
On LGBTQ Youth: As a result of significant discrimination and mistreatment by family members, we have far too many homeless LGBTQ youth on the streets. I will work hard to provide sufficient services and treatment across the board for LGBT homeless youth. They are some of our most vulnerable, and they deserve our full support.
On Veterans: We simply cannot allow ourselves to look past the veterans on our streets. In a country where an ever-shrinking percentage of people have served, we are losing touch with the human needs of those who have fought for us. As residents of the Nation’s Capital, we witness how the local and federal governments commonly look past each other, or worse yet, the government of the District remains a reusable pawn in the chess game between the national parties. On the issue of the homeless veterans, especially the large amount that face mental health challenges, I will work to pair local health services with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to address veteran-specific issues.