Low-Income Residents Once Again Left in the Dust: BFC Reactions to Bowser’s 2019 Budget

The Bread for the City (BFC) community comments on Mayor Muriel Bowser’s proposed fiscal year 2019 budget:

BFC CEO, George Jones:
“DC is the city with the largest wage gap between races, where the homeless and displaced populations are overwhelmingly Black and Brown, and where our undocumented neighbors find sanctuary only to fear losing the very roof over their heads. If Mayor Bowser wants DC to truly be a city that provides sanctuary to all of her residents, and indeed, if the Council wants to make good on their commitment to racial equity, then they must fund the programs and interventions that we know will improve the lives of Black and Brown residents — programs like public housing, emergency rental assistance (ERAP), and local rent supplement vouchers (LRSP) for people living on low-incomes.”

BFC Advocacy Director, Aja Taylor:
“We are pleased to see investments made in some of the asks we supported in the Fair Budget Coalition’s FY19 Budget platform, including school-based mental health services and money for the Paid Leave program. However, we are disappointed to see a third consecutive budget with little-to-no increase in programs that create and preserve affordable housing. Put simply, the Mayor’s $100 million investment — only $40 million of which funds housing for residents at 0-30% of the Area Median Income (AMI) — is woefully inadequate. That is only enough to create just over 300 units of housing affordable to the 30,000+ people that Bread for the City serves, 75% of whom make $10,000 or less per year.

That is also nearly $300 million less than the Fair Budget Coalition’s demand of $339 million targeted at this income group, the amount needed in year one in order for the District to be on track to create the 26,000 units of low-income housing that is needed to end the affordable housing crisis.

We will be looking to the Council to fill the chasmous gap between what has been proposed today and what is actually needed to give ALL DC residents a ‘fair shot.’ It is no longer enough to talk about the need — it is time to meet it.”

BFC COREE (Clients Organizing around Racial & Economic Equity) Leader and mother of two, Lark Catoe:
“Everyone knows that kids do better with more parent involvement, but the Mayor doesn’t think making sure [parents have a] safe and affordable home will help DC youth? The myth of ‘self-sufficiency’ must stop, and DC Government needs to understand they need to include all incomes [when thinking about the budget]. We have a right to DC.”

COREE Leader, Chearie Phelps-El:
“You got a billion for a billionaire, but can’t give $300 million for affordable housing? What’s wrong with that picture?”


About Bread for the City

The mission of Bread for the City is to help Washington, DC residents living on low incomes to develop the power to determine the future of their own communities. We provide food, clothing, medical care, and legal and social services to reduce the burden of poverty. We seek justice through community organizing and public advocacy. We work to uproot racism, a major cause of poverty. We are committed to treating our clients with the dignity and respect that all people deserve. Bread for the City is also a member of the Fair Budget Coalition.

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