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Elissa Silverman is an at-large member of the D.C. Council and chair of Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. Elissa believes that a transparent governing process helps ensure all residents' voices are heard. She is committed to improving the quality of life for residents in all eight wards.
If you applied for Unemployment Insurance (UI) at the beginning of the COVID-19 public health emergency (mid-March), you have likely exhausted or are about to exhaust your benefits. UI is designed to last for 26 weeks, but fortunately, there are additional 13-week extensions currently available. The extension is not automatic, however. UI claimants will need to apply and fill out an application to receive extended support.Read More
If you are a DC worker affected by COVID-19, the District has programs that may be able to help, including the Shared Work Unemployment Insurance Program ("Shared Work"). Shared Work is a way for businesses in the District to keep employees on staff during the COVID-19 pandemic AND reduce payroll costs.Read More
If you are an unemployed DC worker, including workers affected by COVID-19, the District has programs that may be able to help. Our strongest protection for District workers at risk of losing their paycheck is Unemployment Insurance (UI).Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 30, 2021 – D.C. Councilmembers Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large) and Robert C. White, Jr. (D-At-Large) today introduced legislation that would end the automatic denial of the issuance and renewal of driver’s licenses for D.C. residents who have unpaid debt to the District. Currently, tens of thousands of residents are denied the ability to get or renew a license if they owe D.C. government as little as $100, which can prevent them from continuing to work or caring for their family.
We’ve all come up with coping mechanisms to deal with the challenges of this very difficult 13 months. One of mine has been a weekly Saturday morning bicycle ride with friends. It’s been a great way to get exercise, visit safely with friends, and explore our great city. Many times over the last year we rode at Hains Point, and that’s why last weekend’s news that two pedestrians walking there were killed after a driver struck them and fled the scene hit very close to home for me. Many mornings I walk at Hains Point as well.
Yesterday I learned that I knew one of the two DC residents who died: Waldon Adams, who has been a very persuasive and inspiring advocate for those experiencing homelessness in our city. For several years, I volunteered at Miriam’s Kitchen, which is located near the GW University campus and provides all kinds of services to those in need of food, housing and supportive services. Waldon was quite memorable because he was a marathoner and credited running with helping him overcome mental health and substance abuse challenges in his life. Sports has also helped me deal with stresses in my life, so I could relate. The person walking with Waldon last weekend also had experienced homelessness and worked to advocate for others, Rhonda Whitaker.
Walking or biking shouldn’t be treacherous in our city. We need to make our streets safer for all modes of transit, including in our National Park Service areas as well. I do not serve on the Council’s Transportation Committee, but I vow to work more with Transportation Chair Mary Cheh to make our streets safer. We have put in place policies to encourage non-car travel but we need to put money and infrastructure behind these policies. I know Councilmember Cheh is going to be holding a hearing on this, and I plan to work with her as constructively as possible. My sincere condolences to friends and family of Waldon and Rhonda.
Our answers to this week’s Top 10 questions are below.
Today, April 12, D.C. opens up eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone ages 16 and older. If you are 16 and older, I encourage you to get vaccinated, and if you have concerns about taking the shot, feel free to write to me. I can help you get your questions answered. There are a number of ways to get a vaccine appointment that are detailed in the answer to the first question in the Q&A section below.
Also today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a new Website and phone number for rent and utilities assistance. The program, STAY DC, will provide up to 12 months of past due rent payments from April 2020 and three months of rental assistance moving forward if you qualify due to income. There is also financial assistance for water, gas, and electric utilities. The website is stay.dc.gov and phone number is 833-478-2932 (833-4-STAYDC). See the Q&A section for additional information, and I’ll spend more time on this in next week’s newsletter.