Making Justice RealThe Official Blog of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia
Advocating for the Restoration of Funding to Critical Safety Net Programs
Lucy Newton, Supervising Attorney
Last month, DC finance officials identified a $140 million budget surplus. Meanwhile, vital safety-net programs that provide critical assistance to the poorest of District residents lack sufficient funding, including:
- Homeless services;
- Employment, supportive services and temporary cash assistance for families in the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families Program; and
- The Housing Production Trust Fund, which helps produce and preserve affordable housing.
The Mayor and the DC Council have already prioritized these programs as needing additional funding – funding which, if not restored, will have real and potentially life-threatening consequences for DC residents. For instance:
- Half of all shelter beds in the District may close this spring, forcing nearly 1,200 homeless men and women to sleep on the street.
- DC families struggling to get back to work will not receive employment assistance and other essential services and their already meager cash benefits will be further cut, making it nearly impossible for them to meet their families’ most basic daily needs.
- The production of affordable housing – the only real solution to homelessness – will never keep up with the alarming number of affordable housing units DC continues to lose each year.
We join the Fair Budget Coalition in urging you to email the Mayor and DC Council now, or call the Mayor at 202-727-6263. Tell them to use some of this surplus to keep folks off the streets, get parents back to work, and build much-needed affordable housing.