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Mayor Bower’s FY18 Budget largely fails to move the District towards her own goal of “inclusive prosperity,” according to a series of statements from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute. DCFPI highlighted a number of important services that were left under-funded in the budget, while also highlighting two notable funding increases.
Mayor Bowser’s housing budget leaves out DC’s lowest-income residents:
Mayor Bowser’s proposed budget leaves out the poorest DC renters most in need of help. It provides no new funding for rental assistance—known as Local Rent Supplement—beyond homeless services—which is the key to making housing affordable to the lowest-income families. Nearly all homes built with the Housing Production Trust Fund also need rental assistance to make rents truly affordable to all.
“The Mayor’s budget leaves thousands of low income DC families on housing wait lists, living in uncertainty and scraping most of their meager incomes each month to maintain their apartment,” said Claire Zippel, Housing Policy Analyst at DCFPI.
Mayor’s Budget Makes Little Progress on Chronic Homelessness. Council Must Make Significant Investments to House our Most Vulnerable Neighbors:
The mayor’s proposed budget makes only a small investment in efforts to end chronic homelessness. This means more residents will be living on the streets or stuck in shelters with nowhere to go. Some will die from health problems that are hard to manage while homeless.
“We urge the DC Council to make the investments needed to end chronic homelessness once and for all,” said Kate Coventry, Homeless Services Policy Analyst at DCFPI.
Mayor’s Failure to Adequately Increase the School Funding Formula Will Be Harmful to Vulnerable Students:
The Mayor’s increase in school funding is still well below what schools need to empower all students with the skills to thrive.
“When school budgets are too tight, the most vulnerable students are the ones likely to be hurt, as schools may not be able to add the targeted resources the District has committed to those students,” said Marlana Wallace, Education Policy Analyst at DCFPI.
Mayor Bowser Expands Child Care in the District, But Does Not Increase Access to Quality Care for Low-Income Children:
Expanding child care in government buildings is an important goal, and adding space for 1,300 children at market-rates will help many families. Yet this initiative will not do anything to increase access to child care for low-income families, or address the achievement gap that starts well before children get to school. Beyond expanding child care for everyone, the mayor needs to invest more in the quality of the city’s child care for low-income infants and toddlers.
“Investing in a strong start for all young children has big payoffs, and it is widely recognized that funding increases are needed to accomplish that,” said Marlana Wallace, Education Policy Analyst at DCFPI.
Budget Fails to Expand Kids Ride Free; Many Learners Will Continue to Struggle with the High Cost of Transportation:
We are disappointed that Mayor Bowser failed to extend the Kids Ride Free program to all adult learners and reengaging youth in the District. These learners should not be kept away from class by something as simple as not having bus fare. A modest investment in transportation assistance would significantly improve DC’s job training system.
“We urge the City Council to find the $2 million needed to extend Kids Ride Free to all adult learners and reengaging youth, as recommended by the Deputy Mayor for Education, and prioritized by a number of Councilmembers,” said Ilana Boivie, Workforce Policy Analyst at DCFPI.
New Housing Tool Will Preserve Affordable Homes Across DC:
Mayor Bowser’s budget takes important steps to preserve DC’s vanishing low-cost housing. With 15,000 affordable homes at risk of being lost in the next 10 years, there’s no time to lose to expand DC’s affordable housing toolbox.
“Starting now to keep housing affordable is critical to making sure that all residents can continue to call DC home,” said Claire Zippel, Housing Policy Analyst at DCFPI.
Mayor Bowser Protects Thousands of Children through proposed TANF Reform:
Mayor Bowser deserves credit for protecting DC’s most vulnerable children and making needed reforms to DC’s welfare time limits, a problem that has confounded the District for years.
“Mayor Bowser’s TANF proposal means that 10,000 DC children will not permanently lose income assistance and that parents will have resources to meet their children’s most basic needs through the toughest economic hardships,” said Linnea Lassiter, Policy Analyst at DCFPI.
For a PDF of this press release, click here.