Kids are back in school. Pumpkin spice everything has hit the shelves. The weather is finally giving Fall. And the Council’s legislative session will officially resume on Monday. This newsletter is full of information about upcoming hearings, great community events and initiatives, and what I’ve been up to legislatively and in the community over these past couple of weeks. I just want to highlight a couple of things in case you missed them.
First, earlier this week the US Census Bureau released alarming data showing that childhood poverty in the United States more than doubled, a year after hitting a historic low. Many experts have pointed to Congress’ decision last year to not renew some key pandemic era relief programs as the reason. Two programs impacted were the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which had provided increased funding benefits to residents for purchasing food. Sadly, there have been reports of Congress wanting to cut these vital programs even further. I sent a letter to Mayor Bowser expressing concern about the rising rates of food insecurity in the District and the importance of funding two pieces of legislation in the FY25 Budget: the Give SNAP a Raise Amendment Act of 2022, which would provide a 10% local enhancement to SNAP recipients, as well as the Universal Free School Meals Act of 2023, which would provide free breakfast, lunch, and snacks to all DC public and public charter schools and for participating private school students. If the federal government is not going to do its part, locally we have a responsibility to do what we can.
Second, the District is preparing to launch its Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission. As many of you know, DC is currently number one in the nation in terms of overdoses. Last year we lost 461 neighbors to opioid-related fatal overdoses, and so far this year, we’ve lost 192. This is a crisis moment. The Advisory Commission is tasked with making recommendations for how the District should spend around $80 million from multistate opioid settlements with pharmaceutical companies. The funding cannot be spent until a Commission is formed. I made several recommendations of community members for the Commission earlier this summer and the Council is expected to take action next week on a resolution naming individuals. The Committee on Health is also working on several joint oversight hearings as we tackle this crisis.
Finally, to end on an uber positive note – my legislation to expand health insurance coverage to fertility diagnosis and treatment is officially law in the District! DC joins 14 states that require IVF coverage and 16 states with fertility preservation coverage. Insurance coverage for infertility treatments, including IVF and fertility preservation begins, January 1, 2025, for private insurance holders, and coverage for diagnosis and ovulation medications through Medicaid and the DC Alliance will begin in January 2024. This means that by January 2024, those who are under the DC Healthcare Alliance and Medicaid will be able to receive diagnosis and medication for infertility. For those who have private insurance, the diagnosis, medication, and up to 3 cycles of fertility treatment will be provided by 2025. Thousands of people who live in or are employed by the District, including LGBTQIA+ families, will be able to begin the process of starting a family. Infertility is a medical issue and should be diagnosed and treated by an individual’s medical doctor. No one should have to spend months or years’ worth of their salary for infertility treatment. Check out this heart-warming write up in The Washington Post about local families who have struggled with fertility issues and their excitement about this legislation.
Performance Oversight Roundtable on Medicaid Renewals and Redeterminations
On Monday, September 11, the Health Committee held a hearing on the Medicaid renewal and redetermination process. For the first time in almost 3 years, residents are having to submit documentation to determine their eligibility to continue receiving Medicaid services. The three Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs), members of the public, and agency directors testified about the successes and challenges so far for people needing to renew their Medicaid coverage. Information and testimony from the hearing can be found on the Council’s new Hearing Management System here, and a recording of the hearing can be found here.The Council’s Legislative Session resumes on Monday, September 18, 2023. There will be a Committee of the Whole Meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, September 19, at 11am, followed by a Legislative Meeting immediately thereafter. You can watch the meetings on the Council website.
ANC Special Presentation on Medicaid Renewals and Redeterminations
Last week, Councilmember Henderson joined representatives from the Department of Healthcare Finance (DHCF), as well as Medicaid, to provide an update to Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners (ANCs) on how to assist their constituents with reenrolling in Medicaid. The DC Healthcare Alliance has been an option for many who have been dropped from coverage. You can watch the webinar here.
Sela Public Charter School
On Tuesday, September 12, Councilmember Henderson visited the only Hebrew language immersion charter school in the Lamond-Riggs portion of Ward 5. School leaders spoke about the school’s upcoming renovations as well as ensuring there are middle and high schools where their students can build on the Hebrew language skills they learned during their time at Sela.
ANC 7E Monthly Meeting
Tuesday evening, Councilmember Henderson spoke with the Commissioners and residents of ANC 7E, which represents the Benning Ridge and Marshall Heights neighborhoods. Residents asked questions about the Texas Ave Dog Park, the development of the Fletcher-Johnson space, and plans for DC-295.
ANC 8C Monthly Meeting
On Wednesday, Councilmember Henderson chatted with the Commissioners and residents of ANC 8C, which serves the Barry Farm, Congress Heights, and Douglass neighborhoods. She provided updates on Medicaid renewals, the status of the Opioid Abatement Settlement Commission, updates on the Cedar Hill Medical Center, food access, and hearings and bills coming before the full Council this fall. Residents were concerned about youth substance abuse, Medicaid renewals not being delivered in time by the Postal Service, and they discussed new development coming to the area, including a potential drive-thru Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins on Alabama Ave, SE.
In Case You Missed It: Councilmember Henderson in the News
“Capitol Strides: From the Civil War to Maynard Jackson” Walking Tour: Celebrate the world premiere of Pearl Cleage’s play, Something Moving: A Meditation on Maynard, in this mile-long walking tour of Capitol Hill on Saturday, September 16, from 1pm-2pm. Participants will be taken back in time to Capitol Square in the 1860s to meet Black civic leaders who worked for justice in the shadow of the Capitol Dome. Along the way, this program will reflect on questions about government and civics as relevant today as they were 160 years ago. For more information and to get tickets, visit the Ford’s Theatre webpage.
“Clemency and Other Remedies- Legal Options for Incarcerated Persons and Returning Citizens: On Saturday, September 16, from 1pm-3pm, at Ferebee Hope Recreation Center (700 Yuma St. SE). The DC Clemency Board, in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizen Affairs (MORCA), will provide information about the District’s Clemency Board, the District Clemency Board’s application process, the federal clemency process, and various forms of administrative relief available to the incarcerated population and returning citizens convicted of D.C. Code offense. To learn more or register, visit the event’s webpage.
H Street Festival is back: On Saturday, September 16, from noon-7pm, the H Street Main Street is hosting its annual H Street Festival. Installments will stretch from 3rd St. NE to 15th St. NE and has 14 staging areas that are diversely themed and programmed to target the different segments of audiences. The staging areas feature music of different genres, dance, youth-based performances, interactive children’s program, fashion, heritage arts, poetry and many more. To RSVP, click here.
eCYCLE DC Electronics Recycling Event: On Saturday, September 16, 2023, from 10am-2 pm Near 1922 Frederick Douglass Court, SE. For more information on this program, visit the Department of Energy & Environment’s eCYCLE webpage.
Mayor Muriel Bowser’s 6th Annual National Maternal & Infant Health Summit: With a focus on the District’s investments in the health of women, babies, and families, the Summit brings together DC residents, elected officials, health and education officials, and community-based partners to collaborate and explore strategies to improve perinatal health and address racial disparities in birth outcomes. This year, the Summit falls on Tuesday, September 19, from 8am-5pm at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (801 Mt. Vernon Pl, NW). Councilmember Henderson will be a keynote speaker and will conduct a Spark Talk entitled “Advocating for Workplace Excellence: Promoting Family-Friendly Policies” from 9:45am-9:50am. For more information and to RSVP, visit the event’s webpage.
Public Meeting on U StNW Bus Priority Project: On Tuesday, September 19, at 6:00pm, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will host a virtual public meeting to provide updates on the U Street NW Bus Priority Project, including presentation of the first design concepts. Outreach will include Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners (ANCs), residents, and other stakeholder input from the combined ANCs of 1B, 1C, 2B, and 2F to solicit more cohesive feedback along the entire project corridor. For more information on the meeting, visit DDOT’s website. To learn more about the bus priority project, visit the bus priority webpage.
DC Public Library’s West End Shopping Closet Event: Next Thursday, September 21, from 1pm-3pm, you’ll be able to grab a free bag and fill it with an amazing selection of women's and men's clothing, shoes, and accessories. There will be refreshments and a book giveaway. For more information, visit the event’s webpage.
Ward 1 Family & Education Meet-Up: On Saturday, September 23, from 10am-noon, at the Latin American Youth Center (1419 Columbia Rd, NW) there will be an education meet-up, sponsored by ANC 1A, Councilmember Nadeau, Representative Ben Williams, the United Negro College Fund, Office of the Student Advocate, and the Latin American Youth Center. Resources on bullying and harassment will be provided, as well as food and translation services.
Senior Prom:A Night at the Cotton Club DPR is hosting a 1920s-themed black-tie prom forseniors 55+ on Wednesday, September 27, from 5pm-9pm at Deanwood Recreation Center (1350 49th St. NE). To register and to learn more about the event, visit DPR’s website.
DC Bar Pro Bono Center Small Business Legal Advice Clinic: Join the Pro Bono Center on Thursday, September 28, from 9:30am-noon to receive consultation and brief legal information to small business owners and prospective entrepreneurs who operate in economically disadvantaged areas or who have limited financial resources. The Clinic provides current and aspiring business owners with an opportunity to speak with an attorney volunteer one-on-one. Attorney volunteers help review legal documents and answer questions about starting a business, taxation, commercial leases, employment law, intellectual property, and other legal issues common to small business owners. For more information, visit the Center’s website.
Save the Date-Art All Night Returns: The Department of Small and Local Business Development is back for Art All Night! DC Art All Night will occur from 7:00 PM to 3:00 AM the following morning on two nights—September 29 and 30. The festival will take place in all 8 wards with different activations on each night, bringing visual and performing arts, including painting, photography, sculpture, crafts, fashion, music, literary arts, dance, theater, film, and poetry, to indoor and outdoor public and private spaces, including local businesses and restaurants. For more information, visit the event’s webpage.
Apply for the Enhanced Mobility Program: The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) will conduct a solicitation for applications for the Federal Transit Administration’s Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities (Section 5310) grant program. Applications will be accepted August 1 through September 30, 2023. To find out more information and to apply, visit the COG’s website.
Become a Lifeguard with DPR: DPR is currently offering classes for those interested in becoming a lifeguard. DPR uses the International Lifeguard Training Program (ILTP) to train and certified lifeguards to work at both indoor and outdoor aquatic facilities across the District. Courses are free for those who intend to work for DPR. If you do not intend on working with DPR, the course is $250. To register for lifeguard classes, click here.
Volt Afterschool Academy for Microshading and Tattoo Artistry: Through the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Service's VOLT Academy, young people as young as 16 years of age have the opportunity to learn tattoo artistry or microshading for free. Classes begin October 2 and run until November 17, every Monday and Wednesday, from 4:30pm-6:30pm. To register, sign up here.
Metro to shut down Red line service at three stations in December for critical repairs and upgrades: On Monday, December 18, Metro will begin a two-week construction project on the Red Line to perform critical safety repairs to the tunnel and track infrastructure, upgrade signal and communications systems, and install new platform edge lights. During construction, Red Line service will be unavailable at Farragut North, Metro Center, and Gallery Place stations with free shuttle buses replacing trains from December 18 through Saturday, December 30. While the Red Line is closed, service will continue to be available on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines on the lower level at Metro Center and Green and Yellow line service on the lower level at Gallery Place. More information can be found on Metro’s website.
DPW Yard Waste Collection is now year-round. Residents must call 311 to make an appointment for yard waste collection. Residents can also visit 311.dc.gov to make an appointment or download and schedule an appointment using the 311 mobile app available at the Google Play and Apple App stores. DPW only collects yard waste in paper bags. DPW will collect up to 20 paper bags of yard waste from residences that receive DPW’s trash and recycling collection services. Residents are still able to leave their paper yard waste bags at the point of trash collection. Residents who wish to can drop off their yard waste at the Fort Totten Transfer Station during normal residential business hours.
Sign up for DDOT’s weekly construction updates: The 2023 Paving Plan is published on the PaveDC website at the start of the construction season. The website also includes separate tabs for sidewalks scheduled for repair and the Alley Restoration Plan for Fiscal Year 2023. For more information about these projects, please visit DDOT's interactive tool, PaveDC. To sign up for DDOT’s weekly construction updates, visit the sign up page.
Have a constituent service need related to the Health Committee or any of the other agencies in DC Government? Want Councilmember Henderson to come to your community event or meeting? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Constituent Services Director Ana Berrios-Vazquez during regular business hours (9:00am - 5:30pm) at 202-724-8105, or ABerriosVazquez@dccouncil.gov.