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Making Major Investments in Maintenance, Disability Programs, Children, and Families

Today the DC Council Committee on Facilities and Family Services, chaired by Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George, approved strong investments in the maintenance and security of DC schools and rec centers, programs that serve residents with disabilities, the welfare of children, and other priorities for DC families. The changes in the Committee’s budget markup report come after extensive public hearings, community input, and ongoing oversight of agencies.

DC Department of General Services (DGS):

  • $7.1 million (5%) increase to the District’s facility operations budget to improve preventative maintenance, keep projects on track, and complete faster repairs in our schools, rec centers, and other DC facilities
  • Funds the School Security and Transparency Amendment Act to improve security in schools by requiring annual inspections and oversight of all DCPS school door locks, public address systems, and security alarms.
  • Funds the Greener Government Buildings Amendment Act to require all major new or substantially improved DC government buildings to be constructed with net zero energy standards when feasible.
  • Requires DGS to make common service requests available to the public on DC’s 311 system, including broken equipment, grounds maintenance, and overflowing recycling cans in parks and recreation centers — making it easier for residents to report issues for quick resolution.

DC Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA):

  • $1.3 million to fully fund the Safe Shores program, which provides survivor-centered intervention and healing for children and families affected by abuse, trauma, and violence in DC — and helps prevent child abuse. This program was defunded in the Mayor’s proposed budget.
  • $300,000 increase to the Home Visiting program to raise wages for program workers to prevent understaffing and preserve this important, evidence-based program that helps keep families stable.
  • Over $1 million FY24 enhancement to the Child Placement budget, which provides resources to children in care. The program was facing a $4.3 million cut in the proposed budget despite needing to serve more children.
  • Funds the Grandparent and Caregiver Subsidy Eligibility Expansion Amendment Act of 2023 which will expand eligibility and subsidies for grandparents and relatives caring for children by not including SSI benefits in income and subsidy calculations.
  • Creates a new Family Services Division Manager at the Office of the DC Attorney General to coordinate intensive case review and support for children in homes before court involvement and foster care become necessary.

Support for Residents with Disabilities (DDS, ODR, MODDHH):

  • Approves the Mayor’s proposal to increase the Personal Needs Allowance for the first time since 2007. The Personal Needs Allowance supports people who reside in long-term care facilities with day-to-day expenses.
  • Adds $200,000 to the Rehabilitation Services Administration to expand outreach to businesses and DC agencies so they can become model employers for people with disabilities and address racial disparities in hiring.
  • Approves the Mayor’s $306,000 increase for the Office for Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing for a contract to provide American Sign Language (ASL) services.

Other Priorities for Families in the District:

  • $2.1 million enhancement for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program to support families facing housing insecurity and keep them housed.
  • $1.2 million to fully restore funding for Project Reconnect, a shelter diversion and rapid-exit program that prevents homelessness for single adults.
  • $400,000 to begin implementing the Safe Routes to School Act by requiring DDOT to develop the Master Plan of traffic safety infrastructure improvements and school zone expansions at all District schools.
  • $400,000 to the Office of the DC Attorney General to conduct outreach to employers and domestic workers about their new rights and help implement the Domestic Worker Employment Rights Amendment Act.
  • $550,000 to establish a ONSE Leadership Academy at MacFarland Middle School to promote positive youth development and divert young people from community violence through mentorship and school-based services.

These investments were unanimously approved by the Committee on Facilities and Family Services. The budget now moves to the Committee of the Whole for consideration and then the full Council for two final votes.