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February Newsletter #2: Good Government Requires Accountability

February 23, 2024


As you know, for the last few weeks my team and I have been focused on agency performance oversight hearings that the Council holds every year. During this time, I am consistently reminded that good government requires accountability. We have many good programs in DC, and we need these current programs to work well. I’m truly appreciative all of the public witnesses who show up to testify at these hearings and provide their perspective on interacting with agencies over the past year. We have one more week of hearings. You can find the full list here.  

One legislative update I want to highlight is a new bill I introduced with all my female colleagues on Valentine’s Day. The Advancing the Range of Reproductive Options for Washingtonians (ARROW) Act of 2024 requires private health insurance plans, Medicaid, and the DC Healthcare Alliance to cover vasectomy services with no sharing requirements. ARROW reinforces that belief that reproductive healthcare isn’t just for those with uteruses and emphasizes consideration and equal partnership in decisions about starting a family. It also falls in line with my history of introducing healthcare legislation that expands access for our residents. With the introduction of ARROW, DC is on its way to joining 9 states that already have similar legislation in place.  

The rest of the newsletter is full of updates on Performance Oversight, my upcoming community meetings, and more. Read on...

In Service,

Christina Henderson

Councilmember At-Large

Chairperson, Committee on Health


                                                                                                                                               Health Committee Updates

On Wednesday, February 14, the Committee on Health held a Performance Oversight Hearing on the DC Health Benefit Exchange (HBX) and Health Professional Boards (Board of Nursing, Board of Veterinary Medicine, Board of Massage Therapy, Board of Dietetics and Nutrition). The Committee’s discussion included HBX’s remarkable financial stability, enrollment numbers for DC Health Link Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), their reduction of health insurance premiums for child development facilities and their employees, and Medicaid redetermination processes. The Health Professional Boards portion of the hearing highlighted the oversight of various nursing professions, processing times for dietitian and nutritionist applications, the management of professional misconduct cases on the Board of Massage Therapy, and enhancing application processing time by the Board of Veterinary Medicine.

                                                                                                                                     Performance Oversight Roundtables

The Judiciary and Public Safety Committee held a Performance Oversight Hearing on the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) on Tuesday, February 13. Issues Councilmember Henderson focused on during the hearing included MPD’s protocols for officers’ Narcan deployment training, the Department's crisis response training curriculum, practices when disabling old service weapons, reliance on private security camera companies when investigating crimes, MPD’s traffic enforcement practices and the outcomes of their traffic checkpoint program, community perception of MPD’s responsiveness, and law enforcement’s ability to address threats to community.  

On Wednesday, February 14, the Judiciary Committee held a Performance Oversight Hearing on the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (ONSE) at which the committee heard from government witness, Interim Director Kwelli D. Sneed. Issues discussed during the hearing included ONSE’s process for evaluating their grantees’ and sub-grantees’ performance, whether ONSE or their grantees have yet recruited violence interrupters who are fluent in Spanish, plans to fill vacancies in the Leadership Academy programs and thereby increase the programmatic reach in District middle and high schools, the People of Promise violence interruption program and its transition to a service referral model, the numbers of those eligible for the People of Promise program versus the number of participants, and ONSE’s practices for setting its key performance indicators.

The Committee on Housing held a Performance Oversight Hearing on the Department of Housing and Community Development on Thursday, February 15. Topics discussed included the formula for annual stabilized rent increases, the moratoria on certificates of assurance and on voluntary agreements, strategies for increasing homeownership in the District, raising the number of Black homeowners in the District, issues that residents have reported with the HPAP program over the past year, and the agency’s strategies for increasing affordable housing in the Rock Creek West planning area.  

On Thursday, February 22, the Committee on Housing held a Performance Oversight Hearing on the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA), the committee heard from government witness, Executive Director Keith Pettigrew. Areas focused on included DCHA’s progress addressing deficiencies that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) identified in the agency’s management across departments, including discussing timelines for new policy and regulation deliverables, DCHA’s capital needs and plans for a capital needs assessment, as well as their plans to fully obligate all capital subsidies awarded by the District, how the agency’s partnerships with other agencies impact the take-up of available special-purpose vouchers, specifically those set aside for returning citizens and LGBTQ residents, the health impacts of lead and mold in public housing and the agency’s procedures for addressing and remediating internal environments, plans to reinvigorate its customer service department, which includes setting up satellite offices in each quadrant of the District, and about the Director’s plans to turn the agency around by restoring resident and public confidence in the agency.  



                                                                                                  Upcoming Performance Oversight Hearings

The performance oversight hearing schedule is live and can be viewed here,


                                                                                                                                              Key Legislative Updates


Introduction of the Advancing the Range of Reproductive Options for Washingtonians Amendment Act of 2024

The Advancing the Range of Reproductive Options for Washingtonians Amendment Act of 2024 was introduced by Councilmember Henderson on February 14. The bill would require private health insurance plans, Medicaid, and the DC Healthcare Alliance to cover vasectomy services with no copayments, deductibles, or other cost sharing requirements. The bill was co-introduced with Councilmembers Anita Bonds, Brianne K. Nadeau, Brooke Pinto, and Janeese Lewis George.  


                                                                                                                                                Christina in the Community

                                                                                                                                                             Sierra Club DC  

Councilmember Henderson met with Sierra Club DC about the Healthy Homes Act and discussed how the Healthy Homes Program would install electronic appliances for low and moderate households.  


                                                                                                                                                         Fox 5 DC Interview

Councilmember Henderson was interviewed by FOX 5 DC this week on the passage of the Extended Students’ Right to Home or Hospital Instruction Amendment Act of 2023. During the interview Councilmember Henderson discussed who the bill would impact and how excited she was for the legislation.  


                                                                                                         In Case You Missed It: Councilmember Henderson in the News

During Medicaid Redetermination Local Service Providers Push for Smoother Application Process, 2/13/2024, Sam P.K. Collins for the Washington Informer

Loose Lips Links, Feb. 14, 2/14/2024, Alex Koma for Washington City Paper

Out of Ink: Washington Post Reduced Daily Editorials in Another Turn Away From Local Coverage, 2/16/2024, Vince Morris for Washington City Paper

DC Officials Scramble to Spend As Emergency Order on Opioids Lapses, 2/18/2024, Jenna Portnoy for the Washington Post

DYRS Budget Oversight Hearing Sheds Light on Treatment, Staffing Gaps, 2/20/204, Sam P.K. Collins for the Washington Informer

DC Council Likely to Pass Bill to Help Teen Parents Stay In School, 2/20/2024, Sarah Y. Kim for DCist

                                                                                                                                             Constituent Service Corner

March Madness

Councilmember Christina Henderson will be hosting Community Service Office Hours in March. Stay tuned for updates.  

March 6 10:30- 12:00 - Lillian J. Huff/Lamond-Riggs Library

March 13 10:30-12:00 - Cleveland Park Library

March 18 9:30- 11:00 - Highlands Café and Grill (Ward 7 location)

  • Office of Unified Communications Junior Academy (OUC) is proud to announce its first Junior Academy. The academy is a free, five-week program that aims to familiarize high school students with OUC career opportunities in hopes to onboard participants who have a passion for public safety and serving their community. Students will begin March 2024. Find more information, click here.
  • The My School DC common application and lottery is now open. DC residents can now apply to DC public and public charter schools for the 2024 – 2025 school year. The lottery application deadline for PK3 – Grade 8 is March 1, 2024; the application can be accessed here.
  • Department of Parks and Recreation Summer Camp has officially opened its registration for this year’s summer camp. All camp offerings are posted on the DPR website to allow families an opportunity to look at options. The registration lottery will closes on February 26. Applicants will receive lottery selection by March 1. For reduced rates for qualifying families, click here. For all other details, click here.
  • The 2024 Mayor Marion S. Barry’s Summer Youth Employment Program application is now open and closes on March 6, 2024. MBSYEP is a locally funded initiative that provides District youth ages 14 to 24 with an enriching summer employment experience through subsidized placements in the public and private sector. New applicants to the program can apply here. Returning participants can apply here.  

Information on Services

  • DPW Helping Hand Neighborhood Cleanup: Residents can apply to coordinate a Helping Hand Neighborhood Clean Up. The program supplies toolkits and trash bags to those who apply. Applications open in March and can be viewed, here.  
  • Get Free Tax Prep: Free tax preparation for seniors is now available at eight DC Public libraries until April 15. Assistance is by appointment only. View the locations, here.  
  • Know Your Rights When Making Purchases Through SNAP:
  • SNAP Retailers Cannot:
  • Charge a transaction fee to consumers paying with a SNAP card;
  • Set a minimum transaction amount for qualified SNAP purchases;
  • Require a minimum SNAP card balance in order to make a qualified purchase;
  • Require SNAP users to make a SNAP card balance inquiry before making a purchase.
  • If you know of SNAP retailers in the District that are not following the law, please report it to the DC Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Mediation Program by:
  • Calling OAG’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (202) 442-9828;
  • Emailing; or
  • Submitting a consumer complaint online here.  
  • Medicaid Renewal, Don’t Wait to Update: All DC residents with health coverage through Medicaid, Alliance, or the Immigrant Children’s Program must renew their coverage. Please visit the District Direct website to update your address, phone number, and/or email so that the Department of Healthcare Finance (DHCF) knows where to send your Medicaid renewal letter. If you require assistance, please call the Public Benefits Center at 202-727-5355.

Covid Tests

  • Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests: DC Public Libraries have at-home tests available for pickup! For a full list of library locations with test kits available, click here.
  • Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests Continue: The federal government will continue to distribute free COVID-19 tests directly to homes. This ensures that free COVID-19 tests are available to marginalized and uninsured communities. Order up to four COVID-19 at-home tests per household here.

Prevention Services

  • DC Prevention Centers provide education on drugs and substance abuse, prevention strategy training for youth, families, schools and communities, prevention material distribution, and tobacco use prevention programs. For a map of prevention centers in each ward, click here.
  • Hillcrest Children and Family Center (915 Rhode Island Avenue NW) is a participant in the DC Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Expansion Program (ASTEP). For neighbors in need of intensive out-patient group, individual and family services, assessments, and basic education activities to delay the onset of experimentation with drugs and alcohol, you can click here to make an appointment or call at 202-232-2300.


  • 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  

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