Budgets are moral documents – they reflect our community’s values and priorities. This budget reflects the District’s belief that all DC residents have the potential to thrive when offered care, dignity, and compassion.
It’s a great budget, but it’s not a perfect budget, as pointed out by our friends at DCFPI and the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless: this budget does not remove barriers to healthcare for vulnerable communities or provide significant aid to workers excluded from federal COVID-19 support packages.
It is also important to recognize that housing is not the only solution our homeless community needs. Once people are connected to affordable housing, they will need ongoing supports to stay housed. These support programs, including case managers, sobriety counseling, job training and more, have a price tag but are critical to successfully housing chronically homeless individuals. Helping newly housed clients maintain a supportive community is also important to their success.
Without these investments, we will not only be addressing the needs of those who fall through the cracks but also individuals who fall back into homelessness. In order to fulfill the promises and goals of this budget, we must remember that this is a not one-time intervention, but continuing work towards our goal of ending homelessness in DC.