I know many of you, like me, are experiencing some struggles going into Week 4 of #StayHomeDC. I am having to make significant adjustments to my daily routine, and I know that those taking care of children or sharing confined spaces with family and friends are navigating a difficult new normal. Successfully reducing our health risk from COVID-19 is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. I want to thank every resident who is going to great lengths to stay home for your sacrifices to keep COVID-19 contained, and yourself and your community safe.
Many of you have written to me with questions about what support is available for you and your families. My staff and I have been working around-the-clock to get you updates and information – through my newsletters, a coronavirus-focused section of my website, and most recently through Facebook Live webinars explaining what resources are available and how to access them. I have also published a series of one-page infographics to help you quickly navigate what help you’re eligible for as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Click here to jump straight to our updated COVID-19 resources (*updated 4/9/2020!), which contains answers to the most common questions I’m receiving.
Thanks for reading, stay safe.
Silverman Statement on Removal of Legislative Language to Authorize Cash Assistance for DC Workers Restricted from Unemployment Insurance
Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large), chair of the DC Council Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, issued the following statement on the removal of legislative language from an April 7 emergency bill that would authorize the Mayor to set up either individual or community grants for cash assistance to DC residents who are restricted from unemployment insurance:
STAY HOME, DC!
I know many of you have gotten that message loud and clear, and you are staying home. You are following the proper six-feet social distancing practices, washing hands thoroughly, and leaving your home only for outdoor walks and essential errands. Thank you! I recognize there are others of you who can’t stay home because you are essential workers in the public and private sector, such as our Department of Public Works and Unemployment Insurance claims workers, our health care providers, and our grocery store workers. Thank you!
This morning, the D.C. Council took emergency action to put immediate measures into place to assist District residents, workers, and businesses with the coronavirus public health emergency. Decisions that we have taken and will be taking as a government to slow down the virus impact every facet of our lives. The legislation the Council passed today was intended to address some of these critical needs, such as providing economic assistance to workers and businesses, preventing evictions and utility cut-offs, and extending deadlines, as well as giving the Mayor the authority she needs to act swiftly and decisively to manage our government and our city in the best way possible.
This morning, Mayor Bowser announced more proactive measures for D.C. government to help our community contain the spread of COVID-19, the novel strain of coronavirus. These are hard decisions, and I agree with the mayor’s actions. They are necessary to keep our city healthy.
D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) will close its buildings to students through March 31, move up its spring break to next week, and engage in distance learning during the second closure week. D.C. government will continue essential services like trash pickup, though some agencies whose employees can work remotely will move to telework. Recreation centers and D.C. public libraries will also be closed starting Monday through March 31. You can keep up with the latest news at coronavirus.dc.gov.
Silverman Responds to Second Audit Confirming Line Hotel Failed to Meet $46M Tax Abatement Requirements
Earlier this week, the Bowser administration released a second audit of employment at the Line Hotel development project which found the level of D.C. resident hiring did not meet the specified requirements for the project to receive a $46 million tax abatement. The second audit was requested by the hotel’s owner, the Sydell Group, after they disputed data in an initial audit by the Department of Employment Services (DOES) released in April 2019.
The second audit reached the same conclusion as the first: Sydell fell short of the legislated requirements in two of seven categories. All seven categories needed to be met, as outlined in legislation passed into law by the D.C. Council creating the Line Hotel’s abatement.
In celebration of Black History Month, I invite you to join me and my staff for a free screening of HARRIET on Sunday, February 23, at 2:00pm at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library (1630 7th St. NW)!
Special thanks to Pat Joseph and Charnisa Royster on my staff, along with D.C. Public Library, who have organized the screening of this film based on the inspirational life of Harriet Tubman. The movie follows Tubman’s escape from slavery and road to becoming one of our country’s most revered freedom fighters and icons of courage. If you’re still undecided, we’ll even have popcorn and light refreshments thanks to Naval Lodge No. 4! Additional details about Sunday's screening are here.
Silverman Good Government Bill Protects the District Against Ethics Concerns on D.C. Housing Finance Agency Board
A bill introduced today by D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) addresses concerns about conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts of interest on a critical board that approves government funding tools for affordable housing developments, the D.C. Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA) Board of Directors.
The bill, known as the “Housing Finance Agency Conflict of Interest Prevention Amendment Act of 2020” prohibits DCHFA board members from using agency programs during their terms of service in an effort to prevent actual and perceived business-related conflicts.
Happy New Year! Best wishes to you and your family for a joyous and healthy new year.
Almost all of us are back to our work and school schedules, and my staff and I are excited to hit the ground running this year to represent you on the critical issues that face our city. Ensuring that we are making the best investments of your tax dollars to create a pipeline of living wage jobs and affordable housing remains a major focus for me in 2020. Our investments in public education are absolutely critical to this. I have also challenged myself and my staff to think more boldly about how we can play a role in public safety and supporting efforts to interrupt and end gun violence. Additionally, this summer we will launch the paid family and medical leave program for District workers, and my committee will continue to work with the Department of Employment Services to do oversight of the program.
First things first, however: I am on the hunt for a few new colleagues in my office and will be hosting an office open house at the end of January. Keep reading for details!