Last Thursday, March 12, Legal Aid and the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI) delivered joint testimony before the D.C. Council’s Committee on Health and Human Services concerning the systemic errors plaguing service delivery by the Economic Security Administration (ESA) of the D.C. Department of Human Services.
ESA is responsible for administering crucial safety net benefits on which District residents depend, including food stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and public health insurance programs like Medicaid and D.C. Healthcare Alliance. To access these benefits, District residents must come to Service Centers administered by ESA. Our clients have long reported that conducting business at these Service Centers is untenable due to exceedingly long lines, incorrect information from staff, and poor document processing, among other issues.
Our testimony summarized findings from interviews that Legal Aid and several other organizations—Whitman-Walker Health, Legal Counsel for the Elderly, Bread for the City, and Terris, Pravlik & Millian, LLP—conducted with individuals standing in line at three ESA Service Centers—those at Taylor Street NW, H Street NE, and Anacostia—at least one morning per week throughout February 2015. Over our twelve visits, we observed over 550 people waiting in line before these service centers opened and interviewed 309 of these individuals. Read more →