Councilmember Silverman Introduces Childcare and Housing Legislation to Benefit D.C. Working Families

At-Large D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman introduced two bills at today’s D.C. Council legislative session to help ease the burden on the District’s working families. The first bill would evaluate the need for more non-traditional child care providers and slots for parents who work in hourly and shift-based jobs. The second bill would help increase affordable housing options for lower income residents.

“Access to child care and affordable housing are two critical services we can provide to make our city a place of opportunity for everyone who wants to live here,” Silverman said.

In response to the District’s high demand and high cost of child care, Silverman introduced the Non-Traditional Child Care Needs Evaluation Act of 2017. The bill was co-introduced by At-Large Councilmember Robert White, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, and Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen.

The legislation would require the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) to conduct a study to assess the current need for non-traditional child care facilities, including need by geographical area; evaluate the current level of service being provided; and, based on the evaluation, identify where there is unmet need. Recommendations based on the study would include which neighborhoods need more non-traditional child care facilities, which operating hours are most desired, and which types of services are most needed for District parents who work outside the standard hours of 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Non-traditional child care facilities can operate 24 hours a day and operate on weekends, providing stable child care options for shift and hourly workers.

“The District has 112,000 hourly workers, who work in some of our biggest industry sectors. These hard-working men and women often work in shifts outside of traditional 9-to-5 schedules and are left scrambling for safe, reliable childcare options, being forced to rely heavily on family and friends for assistance,” said Silverman. “We need to make child care work for our workers.”

Also at the meeting, Silverman introduced the Inclusionary Zoning Consistency Amendment Act of 2017 to deliver more affordable housing to lower income residents. The bill was co-introduced by Chairman Phil Mendelson, At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds, At-Large Councilmember Robert White, Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, and Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White.

Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) requires that new residential buildings with 10 or more units set aside a percentage of their units for less than the market rate. Last year, the Zoning Commission ruled that all IZ rental units should be set aside for renters at 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI) and all IZ homeownership units should be set aside for buyers at 80% of AMI. To comply with the Commission’s ruling, the bill ensures that District law reflects the new IZ affordability standards and that compliance is legally enforceable.

The District has over 900 IZ units currently available or scheduled for completion; however the majority of those units, which include both rental and homeownership options, are priced for residents at 80% of AMI.

“We are currently enjoying a 25 year high for residential construction and we want that to continue,” said Silverman. “We need this legislation to ensure that happens.”