Updates

Press Release | December 21, 2017

Homeless Services Reform Amendment Act Second Vote - Office of Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau

Today, the D.C. Council had its second and final vote to approve the bill with some important changes that were requested by advocates like yourself. Since the bill’s first vote on November 7th I’ve been meeting with concerned stakeholders and I included two amendments to the final bill that will:

  • Give more flexibility in the documents that individuals can use to prove residency – especially important for youth-headed families seeking shelter.
  • Ensure that support services provided as part of Rapid Rehousing are administered as quickly as possible, and give recipients the right to appeal the time limit if those services are not provided in a timely manner.

I also accepted four amendments from my colleagues that are further responsive to concerns about protecting the rights of returning citizens, allowing people to keep housing when they have good cause to be away from housing for more than four days, and clarifying situations where individuals can access services because they can’t return safely to their home.

These changes are in addition to earlier reforms I made to the Mayor’s original proposal. Those reforms reduce the burden on individuals experiencing homelessness and strengthen due process rights. You can learn more about those changes here.

The bill will ultimately protect the District’s right to shelter and help the most vulnerable people in our community while working to resolve a crisis in our homelessness services system. This was an incredibly difficult task, because the outcome impacts the safety and security of District residents. I take that responsibility incredibly seriously.

Today, the Washington Post’s Editorial Board endorsed the bill saying: “We urge the council to do its part and give final approval to these needed fixes.”

Ultimately, this bill is about shoring up our emergency shelter services but there is still much work to do in providing affordable housing. As the chair of the Human Services Committee I have invested millions of dollars in other options for families – subsidies that keep people in their homes as part of the Homelessness Prevention Program, and subsidies that help people find stability in new homes as part of the Targeted Affordable Housing program and the Permanent Supportive Housing program. Earlier this year I also moved forward landmark reform of TANF, the District’s cash assistance program for needy families, to ensure no child ever goes without benefits. The aim is to keep families teetering on the edge from falling into homelessness.

All of these things together – as well as the work I am doing as part of the housing committee – are what will move us forward. But we cannot break the cycle we are in if we do not update the law.

Thank you for your continued advocacy on behalf of our most vulnerable residents. I look forward to continue strengthening the District’s commitment to helping those who need it most.

Sincerely,

Brianne K. Nadeau

Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember

Chair, Committee on Human Services