Couldn’t Make it ?

8E constituents and friends – I realize this post is more than a week late, but I thought it was important enough to still release the recap of the 8E meeting on March 15.

Our distinguished speakers hailed from the United Planning Organization (UPO), The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Empower DC. This post will provide highlights of the meeting and attempt to capture the general sentiment and outcome of the discussion. In the spirit of bottom line up front, here are my major take-aways:

  • The Presidents FY12 Budget proposes several cuts that will directly impact services in Ward 8.
  • To garner support for the DC statehood cause, the general call to action is to ask friends and relatives in other states to lobby their congress people to support DC Statehood.
  • There is a proposal to require public housing recertification every three years instead of the current annual requirement.
UPO (UOP.org) – Mr. Dana Jones djones@upo.org

Mr. Jones had very detailed observations about the FY12 Presidents budget and his organization has done several analysis of the impact of the proposed budget on Ward 8 programs. The block grant is an important grant for Ward 8 and UPO has looked at a few options for how to absorb a cut. Among the most notable points from Mr. Jones are:

  • 110 Ward 8 students receive money from head start. The proposed budget will cut Head Start funding which will undoubtedly affect these neighborhood children.
  • The proposed presidents budget will cut programs including the grandparent volunteer program and training programs in Anacostia where at least 200 people recently received certifications.
Housing and Urban Development (HUD.gov) – Mr. Marvin Turner marvin.turner@hud.gov

Mr. Turner was very insightful and also shared a number of details about the proposed FY12 budget. Among the most salent points from his presentation were:

  • Extremely low income families earn only 30% of the median family income.
  • One of the primary goals of the FY12 budget for HUD is to strengthen the nations housing market.
  • HUD is focused on increasing quality affordable housing. The FY12 budget projects $19.2B in housing vouchers, up from $18B last year. This change is expected to create aprox. 1.3M additional affordable units.
Empower DC (http://www.empowerdc.org/ )- Ms. Linda Leaks Linda@empowerdc.org

Ms. Leaks was a very passionate speaker and extremely full of energy the day before her birthday. Empower DC’s mission is to enhance, improve and promote the self-advocacy of low and moderate income DC residents in order to bring about sustained improvements in their quality of life. Ms. Leaks expressed concern that the presidents budget is going to cut housing vouchers and aid for seniors. She gave us all a call to action to contact our council members and express their support for the Empower DC cause.

A big thank you to our speakers and to the community members that came out to the meeting. Oh by the way – we raffled  the TV and other door prizes courtesy of Chairman Seegars – the first winner we pulled for the TV won!

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