Because of widespread problems with the D.C. Department of Human Services’ administration of food stamps for D.C. residents living with low-incomes, Bread for the City has brought a lawsuit against the agency.
July 27, 2017 by BFC
Guest Author: Kristen Kozlowski, Associate Director of Development at Bread for the City
Bread for the City applauds the DC City Council and the Mayor for making this humane, positive decision that supports the families of DC.
Earlier this year, Bread for the City community members testified to how DCRA’s inadequate enforcement led to residents living in poor conditions. Through our organizing to hold DCRA accountable to its mission, we’ve developed demands for DC council members and Mayor Bowser.
Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that an undocumented woman was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at a courthouse in El Paso while she was seeking a protective order against a boyfriend she accused of domestic violence. This action, like the Executive Order that supports it, undermines public safety, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and the tireless efforts of organizations like Bread for the City to make our country safe for all people.
Every day, three women are lost to intimate partner violence (IPV). Almost half are killed while in the process of leaving the relationship.
It is unlikely that Bresha Meadows knew these grim statistics the day she took action to protect herself and her family from the violent actions allegedly perpetrated by her father. What she did know was her father had terrorized her family and controlled her mother’s every move.
Bresha was 14 years old when she was arrested for allegedly killing her abusive father in Warren, Ohio on July 28, 2016. In an interview conducted shortly after her arrest, her mother, Brandi Meadows, described Bresha as “her hero”. She went on to say, “I wasn’t strong enough to get out and she helped us all.”
Yesterday, the DC Council unanimously passed the Fair Criminal Record Screening for Housing Act (“Housing Ban the Box”) – an extension of the Employment Ban the Box law that Bread for the City advocates and clients helped to pass in 2014.
Bread for the City’s limited and non-English speaking clients have struggled for years to get access to important government services at the DC Department of Human Services (DHS). These services include medical insurance for themselves and their children, food stamps, and temporary cash assistance for families with children.
DC already has a law that requires DHS and other DC government agencies to provide interpretation and, in many cases, written translation for customers who do not speak English. But time and time again, our clients have reported that DHS employees refuse to provide interpretation, rely on children to interpret for parents, or simply fail to send important notices about their benefits in their language.