DC City Council Approves FY16 Budget

Today the DC City Council approved the District’s FY16 budget, which includes:

$100 million for the Housing Production Trust Fund for the development of affordable housing throughout DC.

$9 million to close the gap in funding for the DC Interagency Council on Homelessness’s Strategic Plan.

$5 million to delay cuts to the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program that would have impacted 13,000 children.

$500,000 to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which allows low-income families and individuals to receive short-term rental assistance.

$200,000 to restore lost funding for meals for vulnerable seniors.

$500,000 to support the Workforce Investment Council and the Career Pathways Taskforce.

We thank the City Council for their leadership and responsiveness to the needs of poor and homeless Washingtonians.

Help us thank the Council

SOME staff, residents, friends and clients advocated strongly on these issues. On May 19th, nearly 225 gathered at the DC City Council and shared their concerns and testimonies. Roland, an advocate for the homeless and a resident of SOME’s affordable housing, shared his powerful story. His success is a testament to his hard work and to effective programs, and his struggles highlight issues underlying the cycle of poverty and homelessness.

Roland’s Testimony

“I was going to school for culinary arts at the Art Institute of Washington, trying to get my Associate’s Degree. I was taking care of my two younger kids in a housing unit run by a slumlord. The mold built up and my youngest daughter had a massive asthma attack and died within hours. I had a nervous breakdown and I didn’t know which way to go.

Ranika (my daughter) was my son’s best friend. My son decided that he wanted to go into Job Corps. With that, I was comfortable, because he had a place to stay. Without Job Corps he would not have had a place to stay.

So I went from to shelter to shelter until I went to Isaiah House (SOME’s day program for individuals experiencing homelessness and mental illness). As soon as I walked in the door of Isaiah House, I felt love that I hadn’t experienced in a long time. They were willing to help me, they talked to me one-on-one and I ended up in Jordan House (crisis placement).

And I told my son, and he said he wanted to see the people that were helping me out. So he came there and said “thank you for helping my father out,” and of course some of the staff started off to tears.

With that, he saw people were helping people, being a service to the community at SOME. He decided he wanted to do something like that. AmeriCorps, they actually came to recruit my son because of what he achieved at Job Corps. Now my son is in Sacramento, California in AmeriCorps. He’s been there ever since last year. He’s serving the community, helping the homeless just like he saw the staff was doing with me. And with that long story short – my main man, he graduated from Job Corps and he’s planning on going to college.

Right now, I live at SOME’s Anna Cooper House. I care about people who are homeless because there is no affordable housing for them to move into. Affordable housing is very important for so many people who are homeless to get some stability in their lives.”

SOME thanks Roland and the other courageous individuals who shared their stories, and all of those who raised their voices on behalf of low-income and homeless DC residents.

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