Issues

Human Services

Where I Stand

I believe that a measure of how well the District is doing is how well we treat our most vulnerable communities. That’s why I’m proud to be Chair of the DC Council’s Committee on Human Services, where we work to support families in times of financial hardship, ensure our youth don’t fall through the cracks, and help put every District resident on a path to prosperity.

When I became Chair of the Committee in 2017, I was determined to tackle pressing challenges, build consensus by listening to a diverse array of voices on each issue, and make progress to ensure District residents have the support they need in times of crisis.

One year later, I proud to report that my committee shepherded through three major new laws – reforming Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), homeless services, and disability services –  that are helping to reshape our social services so that we provide better service.

What I've Done

  • As chair of the Committee on Human Services, I recently funded several important items in the FY2020 budget, including:

    • 585 new units of Permanent Supportive Housing

    • Fully funded the Solid Foundations plan to end youth homelessness

    • Created a Homelessness Street Outreach Program, with three outreach teams working across the District

    • Fully funded the Safe Shores program, which provides aid to youth and adolescents affected by violence and abuse

    • Funded the New Heights Program for Expectant and Parenting Students

    • Increased funding for Rapid Rehousing by $1M to help prevent families from falling into homelessness

    • Enhanced the Emergency Rental Assistance Program by an additional $215,000

  • Oversaw the closing of the DC General Shelter and its replacement with new Short Term Family Shelters across the District, including the Ward 1 facility, currently under construction. 
  • Introduced the On-Site Services Act of 2019, which provides services like healthcare, legal services, food and nutrition, childcare, after-school care to multifamily buildings occupied by tenants that receive housing assistance. 

  • Introduced the Direct Support Professional Payment Rate Act of 2019, which creates a more nationally competitive pay structure for providers of residential, in-home, and facility care for DC Medicaid recipients and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

  • Conduct important oversight of the ongoing transition of services under DC's Developmental Disabilities Administration

  • Introduced, passed, and legislation to provide clean and dignified public restrooms across the District.

    • Two new public restroom facilities will be installed in the District per year, and a program to incentivize businesses to open their restrooms to the public recently launched. 

  • Faced with a benefits “cliff,” we passed 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.

  • Reform of the Homeless Services Amendment Act to 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.
     
  • Invested millions of dollars into housing for the homeless, including Permanent Supportive Housing and Targeted Affordable Housing, to further the goals of Homeward DC, the District’s strategic plan to make homelessness brief, rare, and non-recurring.
     
  • Fully funded Strong Foundations, the District’s strategic plan to end youth homelessness.
     
  • Reform of our disability services to end the practice of involuntary civil commitments, to recognize supported decision-making agreements, and create a formal complaints process for those receiving services through the Department of Disability Services.
     
  • Strongly supported the passage of DC’s Paid Family Leave legislation.
     
  • Continue to work at the forefront of DC’s homelessness prevention efforts, including passing the Homeless Shelter Replacement Act and attending meetings of the Interagency Council on Homelessness.

  • Engage in year-round oversight over the District’s Human Services agencies:

    • Advisory Committee & Citizen Review Panel on Child Abuse and Neglect

    • Child and Family Services Agency
       
    • Commission on Persons with Disabilities
       
    • Department of Human Services
    • Department on Disability Services

    • Developmental Disabilities State Planning Council

    • Interagency Council on Homelessness

    • Office of Disability Rights

    • State Rehabilitation Council
       
    • Statewide Independent Living Council