I’m excited to share with you that yesterday the Council passed the $14.5 billion fiscal year 2019 budget. I t is no secret that I’ve been very active fighting for affordable housing, education, workforce preparation, and returning citizens. While the budget funds many new and existing programs, I want to highlight a few that I have championed in order to help District residents share in the prosperity our city is experiencing.
- $234,163 to create a new team at the Office of the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute elder abuse and financial exploitation of seniors
- $100,000 Salary Scale Study for child development center employees, which was a component of my BEGIn and the Birth-to-Three for All Act that creates stability, and fairness for childcare workers by bringing their salaries closer to those at District charter and public schools
- $500,000 to fund literacy programs for adults
- $1 million to save the New Heights program, which supports students who are new or expecting parents in DC public and charter schools
- $276,000 to fund my Returning Citizens Opportunity to Succeed Act, which:
- Ensures that the Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizens Affairs begins contacting returning citizens six months before they return from federal prisons to connect them to housing and jobs
- Gives them free access to identification using their Federal Bureau of Prisons identification
- Provides a three month transportation stipend after they return home
- $16.6 million dedicated to affordable housing and homeless services, including creating 752 units of Permanent Supporting Housing, Targeted Affordable Housing, Transitional Housing Programs, and funding for the Local Rent Supplement Program
- $624,029 for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program that provides assistance to prevent eviction for District residents with children, the elderly, and those with disabilities
- $43,000 to fund my Office to Affordable Housing Task Force legislation, which will help us begin to transition some of our aging office buildings into affordable housing both downtown and in neighborhoods throughout the city
I identified our budget priorities in a letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser in February as she was preparing her budget proposal. I was proud to work with the Mayor as well as several members of the Council to get our priorities funded for District residents!
I have been on the Council for a year and eight months and I promised to collaborate when possible and work hard for our city’s residents. In that time, and with the help of my colleagues, I have been able to almost double the size of the Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizen Affairs and fund key housing, education, and senior citizen programs. I am thankful for the leadership of Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, and the Council committee Chairpersons who funded these priorities, including: Mary Cheh, Kenyan McDuffie, Anita Bonds, David Grosso, Elissa Silverman, Breanne Nadeau, and Charles Allen.