Councilmember Silverman Prioritizes Affordable Housing, Seniors, and Jobs in FY19 Budget
Earlier today, D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) voted with her colleagues to unanimously pass the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget. This was the first of two votes on next year's budget allocation and the legislation supporting it. Silverman, who chairs the Council's Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, championed programs that have a proven track record of putting D.C. residents to work and funded housing programs that ensure residents can afford to live in the city.
“Putting our tax dollars and efforts toward making sure every District resident can get a living wage career and affordable housing was my North Star, my guiding principle, of this budget,” Silverman said. “We have an immense task before us as a city to make D.C. more equitable and affordable. What we do in next year's budget bends our city a little more toward opportunity and justice.”
The budget also includes landmark investments in maintenance for Metrorail and Metrobus, as well as increased funding for education, housing, healthcare, and public safety.
Highlights of Councilmember Silverman's efforts in the FY 2019 budget are the following:
PRODUCING AFFORDABLE HOUSING & PROTECTING SENIORS
- An innovative new housing subsidy to give financial assistance to moderate-income seniors and residents with disabilities who have fixed incomes and cannot afford rising rents. This program will help fill that financial gap and allow residents to age in place.
- A new fund to help seniors with reverse mortgages who are facing financial hardship and possible foreclosure. This one-time funding will help seniors remain in their homes, prevent homelessness, and help keep families and neighborhoods stable.
- New legislation allowing the District to solicit Housing Production Trust Fund applications up to a year earlier to produce and preserve affordable housing more efficiently.
- Redirection of funds into public housing repairs, emergency rental assistance, and low- to moderate-income homeownership programs.
EXPANDING WORKFORCE PROGRAMS
- $1 million to increase capacity at D.C. Central Kitchen (DCCK), one of the District’s most successful culinary job training programs. The grant will help DCCK purchase a new building, which will also increase its ability to produce healthy meals and help close the District's food gap.
- $1.5 million to continue the Career Pathways Innovation Fund grant program, which provides literacy training integrated with occupational training for District jobseekers.
- $175,000 to enhance oversight of workforce development programs by the Office of the D.C. Auditor, the legislative audit arm of the District.
- $500,000 to conduct a pilot adult literacy training program for the District’s lowest-level learners through the Office of the State Superintendent of Education.
- $500,000 to expand Out-of-School Time grants, providing access to before-school, after-school, and summertime enrichment programs for District children and their families.
SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESS
- A living wage certification program created to certify District employers who pay a living wage to their employees and incentivize higher wages. The program also includes a new directory of local employers paying a living wage for consumer use.
The second and final vote on next year's budget allocation will be held on Tuesday, May 29. There will also be a second and final vote on the legislation supporting next year's budget, known as the Budget Support Act (BSA). The second vote on the BSA is not yet scheduled.