June 6, 2017 Comments are off

DC Council Approves 2018 Budget

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 31, 2017

DC Council Approves 2018 Budget

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, I joined my colleagues of the Council of the District of Columbia to give unanimous approval to the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget, which goes into effect October 1, 2017. This was the first of two votes on the $13.8 billion budget.

The budget makes substantial investments in affordable housing, education, public safety, human services, and workforce development. The budget supports our families, elderly, disabled, businesses, returning citizens, the homeless, residents of all incomes, and our government employees. It is built through the increased revenues of a growing economy of the District that welcomes 1,000 new residents monthly as well as new and thriving businesses, and sound government management of our financial resources. The budget will be reconsidered at a final vote on June 13.

Highlights of the budget enhancements include:

  • Universal Per Student Funding Formula (UPSFF) will increase by 3% District-wide.
  • $4.5 million to OSSE to increase the value of child care vouchers for low-income District families.
  • Fully funds the implementation of the DC Universal Paid Leave program.
  • Directs an additional $8.77 million towards rental subsidies for homeless families, youth, and vulnerable individuals.
  • Lowers the deed and recordation tax for first time home-buyers.
  • $2.9 million increase in funding to behavioral health and substance abuse rehabilitative services.
  • Provides transportation for adult learners.
  • Increases the Arts and Humanities budget by S8.3 million.

The Committee on Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization, chaired by At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds, approved the largest budget in DC’s history for affordable housing initiatives on May 18.

The Committee improved upon Mayor Muriel Bowser’s record-setting Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal with increased funding for the DC Office on Aging, the Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizen Affairs, and the Office of the Tenant Advocate, among other enhancement provisions. More dollars were allocated for the Department of Housing and Community Development, the District’s primary source of local budget funding for affordable housing programs. Additionally, Council action taken on the Mayor’s budget proposal gives The DC Housing Authority, which is responsible for developing and maintaining the District’s public housing properties and assuring safe, sanitary housing for more than 30,000 of the District’s lower-income residents, the authority to conduct its own process or solicitation Notice of Funding Availability for the Local Rent Supplement Program (LRSP) beginning in FY 18. Moreover, the Council’s budget adjustments include funding a study of family unit size to identify the size and number of larger family housing units the District must develop and maintain to truly be a community for all residents that seek to live here.
The District of Columbia is facing the worst affordable housing crisis in history. We are on a precipice, and this budget reflects our commitment to ensuring the District will remain a home for all socioeconomic backgrounds and that greater resources are available to move our lower-income residents out of poverty,” stated Councilmember Bonds. Adding, “While we cannot do all that is needed at once, my Housing Committee members and I will continue to allocate as many resources as reasonably possible to eradicate poverty and make housing affordable to the city’s most vulnerable and residents of need.”

The housing budget was approved unanimously by Committee members, Chairperson Anita Bonds, and Councilmembers Elissa Silverman, Robert C. White, Jr., Brianne K. Nadeau, and Trayon White, Sr.

Highlights of the Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization Committee Budget include:

MILLIONS MORE FOR HOUSING

  • $182,237,000 for the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Highlights of the DHCD budget include:
  • $100 Million for the Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF)
  • $10 Million for a new Housing Preservation Fund (HPF)
  • $1.7 Million to revive the District’s Employer Assisted Housing Program (EAHP), which provides matching down payment funds for DC Teachers, Police, Fire & EMS, and government workers to purchase a home.
  • $12,320,000 for the Housing Finance Agency (HFA)
  • $76,312,250 in local funds for the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA)
  • $4,008,227 for the DC Office of the Tenant Advocate (OTA)

Highlights of the OTA budget include:

  • Transfers to the OTA the Rent Control Clearinghouse to provide residents with a user-friendly searchable database for the review of documents and data the Rental Housing Act requires.
  • Hiring two additional Attorney Advisors to provide legal assistance to residents.
  • Hiring one Program Analyst to conduct economic research on rental trends and analysis.
  • Enhance the IT Specialist position.

INCREASED FUNDS FOR SENIORS

  • $46,081,021 for the DC Office on Aging (DCOA)

Highlights of the DCOA budget include:

  • $500,000 to fund Alzheimer’s and anti-dementia related activities, assistance, and support programs.
  • $128,000 to establish an intergenerational program to bring younger and older generations together.
  • $200,000 for additional case management support services.
  • $100,000 for an IONA Senior Services Hotline.

SUPPORTS RETURNING CITIZENS

  • $790,625 for the Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizen Affairs (MORCA)

Highlights of the MORCA budget include:

  • $100,000 for the creation and implementation of a strategic plan.
  • $200,000 to hire two Case Managers

INCREASED STAFF FOR ANCS

  • $1,026,553 for the Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (OANC)

Highlights of the OANC budget include:

  • $85,000 for the hiring of a Program Analyst to review ANC’s quarterly reports.
  • $7,500 to enhance the IT budget to host and maintain the quarterly report software.

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