Updates

COVID-19 UPDATE: 3/17
March 17, 2020
Article Type
Update
 

Government Operations

Until further notice, Ward 1 Council staff will operate via telework while continuing to fully serve the community. We will be available by phone, email and in person as needed. I'll be announcing a telephone town hall soon to provide critical updates to Ward 1 constituents. 

Contact information for me and my staff can be found here: https://brianneknadeau.com/contact. We'll continue to operate normal business hours Monday - Friday, 9am - 5:30pm.

As of yesterday, District agencies began modified operations. Essential services will still be provided, it just may look a little different. To see each agency’s operations, click here: updated agency operations

If there’s something you feel is critical, but missing or unclear, let me know. I’ll get more information for you.

I also want to express my appreciation to all of the community partners and residents that have volunteered to help others, aggregated resources, or just checked in on our neighbors. This is not an easy time for anyone, and I know that it can be scary and at times overwhelming, but if we continue to help each other and show compassion, we will make our way through this.

As a reminder, because the situation is evolving every day, the most up-to-date resource for the latest information is coronavirus.dc.gov

Constituent Concerns

A few residents have reached out to ask about street sweeping services. These services have been temporarily suspended.

I’ve also gotten calls about Department of Parks & Recreation Facilities. The recreation centers and aquatic centers are closed. Outdoor parks, dog parks, playgrounds, and fields are open. If you need fresh air during this time, I’d encourage you to keep a safe distance from others.

And of course, we want to make sure that we are helping our senior residents have access to essentials and meals. My office has been reaching out to Ward 1 senior homes, residences, and organizations; but if you or a senior you know is experiencing any trouble, please contact us. You can reach Oscar Montiel at (202) 394-5537 or Allie Bobak at (202) 531-5186.

Council Updates

Emergency Legislation

Today, the Council passed emergency legislation in response to the public health emergency. It’s a pretty large bill, and we are covering as much as we can to provide relief and allocate proper resources. This is just the first step we are taking. We will continue to be in constant communication with the Mayor, community partners, and residents to make sure we are able to do what it takes to help our city bounce back from this. Here are a few of the bill's highlights –

Benefits, Insurance, Healthcare

  • Authorizes the Mayor to take actions that she determines appropriate to support the continuation of, and access to, any public benefit program.
    • Already taking advantage of this authority, the Mayor has announced that TANF, SNAP, and Alliance benefits are automatically extended. No action is needed to remain eligible.
  • In order to minimize the risk of spreading Covid-19 to our frontline workers and the people accessing the continuum of care, makes temporary changes to the Homeless Services Reform Act, the law that reestablished the right to shelter in the District and guides how we provide homeless services. 

Unemployment/Worker Protections

  • Extends unemployment compensation to those unemployed due to the virus, so if you self-quarantine or lose shifts at work, you’re covered
  • Extends employment protection to those who cannot work, if you test positive and cannot work, you will be eligible for medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act

Local Businesses

  • Sets up a small business grant program to help businesses recover. This will also include non-profits and any independent contractors that do not qualify for unemployment insurance
  • Extends the March 31, 2020 real property tax for hotels to June 30, 2020 and allows other businesses to defer February and March sales taxes to July 20, 2020

Housing, Utilities, DC Water

  • Evictions are prohibited during the public health emergency declared by the Mayor.
  • Electric, gas, and water are prohibited from being disconnected during the public health emergency declared by the Mayor, or for 15 calendar days thereafter.

Education

  • DCPS will have flexibility to revise the summer school calendar for students. This allows for any adjustments that may need to happen once students return to school.

Community

  • Creates a limitation on price gouging and stockpiling. Grocery stores will remain open, buy just what you need so everyone has access to essentials
  • DC Council may meet virtually and vote remotely
  • ANCs, Boards, and Commissions may meet remotely
  • Licenses and registrations are extended (ex. driver’s licenses)

Budget

  • The Mayor will submit her budget proposal to the Council by May 6, 2020. This is extended from the usual March submission date.

Committee on Human Services Updates

In case you missed it

Last Friday, the Council sent a letter to Secretary Perdue at the USDA to oppose a move by the Trump Administration that would cut off SNAP benefits for thousands of Washingtonians.

We later received notice from Attorney General Karl Racine that a federal court judge granted an injunction, blocking this rule & that the House of Representative passed the Families First bill to suspend the rule.

I’m grateful for the leadership we're seeing from our partners, and rest assured that we will continue to work together to protect our residents. Read the full letter here.

Department of Human Services

The Department of Human Services (DHS) remains open and will continue to support residents.

Access to Emergency Shelter

  • All low-barrier shelters, family shelters, and shelters serving youth will remain open.
  • Low-barrier shelters will extend daytime hours through April 1.
  • Families seeking access to homeless services should call the DC Shelter Hotline at (202) 399-7093 or 311 at any time of the day or night.
  • The Virginia Williams Family Resource Center will be closed to the public for in-person interviews until April 1.

Drop-In Centers

  • Downtown Day Services Center and the Adams Place Day Center will be closed until April 1
  • Zoe’s Doors Youth Drop-In center located at 900 Rhode Island Ave NE and Sasha Bruce Youth Drop-In Center at 741 8th Street, SE will remain open

Transportation

  • Transportation to emergency shelter will continue to be provided. To request transportation, contact the Shelter Hotline at (202) 399-7093 or call 311.

Homeless Service Outreach

  • Outreach Workers are continuing to provide services to people experiencing homeless with a focus on welfare checks, connection to medical support, and providing life-saving supplies such as hand sanitizer, blankets, etc.

Eligibility for Public Benefits

  • Customers who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Alliance, and other public benefits provided by DHS, do not need to take any action at this time to continue receiving existing benefits that would otherwise expire on March 31 or April 30. Those benefits will be automatically extended.
  • For new applications for SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, Alliance or other public benefits, please go to dhs.dc.gov or visit our Service Centers to pick up a blank application.
  • Applicants can drop off completed applications for benefits at DHS Service Centers and may be contacted by phone as necessary to complete the eligibility process.
  • Residents with questions about their benefits should contact the Call Center at (202) 727-5355 from 7:30-4:45 pm

Child Care

  • Childcare applications and documents can be dropped at the Congress Heights (4049 South Capitol Street, SW) or the Taylor Street (1207 Taylor Street, NW) Service Center(s).
  • Staff will call customers for an interview.
  • Recertifications will be automatically processed and valid for 60-90 days.
  • If a customer with a voucher is requesting a reassignment, that can be processed through the customer’s selected childcare provider.

Administrative Hearings/Investigative Interviews

  • DHS will continue to hold administrative hearings and investigative interviews but via telephone/video calls.

Case Management

  • Case management services will continue to be provided across DHS programs by phone or video whenever possible.

EBT Cards

  • New cards will continue to be distributed through the existing locations at 1649 Good Hope Road, SE and 645 H Street, NE.

If you need assistance, please email dhs.covid19@dc.gov

 

Additional Updates

Food Access

Public Announcements

Get the latest updates, news, and resources at coronavirus.dc.gov