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May Newsletter

May 27, 2021


When taking a moment to step back and reflect on all we have accomplished – together – so far this year, I have two words: thank you. With just over 50% of District residents partially or fully vaccinated, I thank you for getting yourself, your friends, and your family vaccinated. We still have more work to do on that front, but I now have one more ask of you. Ahead of the summer months, we must make sure our neighbors are in the best position possible to thrive in this new normal. That starts with STAY DC.

The STAY DC program is one where individuals and families affected by the pandemic can apply for rent and utility relief. District residents can receive payments for up to twelve (12) months of past due rent, three (3) months of future rent, and past due utilities. Keep reading this newsletter to see an explainer video about the application process. Please share this information with your communities.

As we envision our emergence from the pandemic, our work on funding an equitable recovery is just beginning. The Mayor will release her budget to Councilmembers today. I am watching for investments that support our most vulnerable communities first. On Wednesday, June 2nd at 5 PM, I will host a virtual discussion on the budget process. I hope you will join me for the event, ‘Town Hall: Understanding the Budget Process.’ Please click here to RSVP.

In service,

Christina Henderson
Councilmember, At-Large

Vaccination Sites

Budget Calendar

Budget season has arrived! Follow our social media, @CMCHenderson, and here on Facebook for weekly updates on the budget hearing schedule. We will post every Monday afternoon with the budget hearings for the week ahead.

  • 5/27 - Budget introduced by the Mayor to the Council
  • 6/2   - Public hearing hosted by the Committee of the Whole (COW) with the Mayor and the City Administrator
  • 6/3   - Committee hearings begin (Mark your calendar here for hearings you might like to watch or participate in)
  • 6/25 - COW hearing on budget legislation
  • 7/20 - First vote on both the Local Budget Act (LBA) and the Budget Support Act (BSA)
  • 8/3   - Final vote on the LBA
  • 8/10 - Final vote on the BSA
Southwest Library

Councilmember Henderson speaking at the reopening of the SW Library. The Councilmember is accompanied by Councilmember Charles Allen, DCPL Executive Director Richard Reyes-Gavilan, the Library’s Teen Council member Sheridan Waters, and Board member Monte Monash.Budget Priorities

This will be my first budget season as your Councilmember. My work will focus on creating an equitable budget for all District residents. Many groups have shared their budget ideas with me, and it is through these conversations that I continue to evolve some of my priorities for investment:

  • Examine federal funding allocations and ensure that funding plus our local distribution prioritizes schools, academic recovery, and after school programs.
  • Ensure quality learning environments through proper capital investments and modernizations in our schools and early childcare centers.
  • Ensure investments in learning loss programs and tactics to get students back to grade level, coupled with dedicated funds to closing the digital divide.
  • Increase funding for housing vouchers and rental assistance needed to reduce homelessness and chronic homelessness in the District of Columbia.
  • Fund the components of the Maternal Health Resources and Access Act to establish a pilot program for Medicaid reimbursement of doula services; require a feasibility study to establish a birthing center east of the Anacostia River; and provide transportation subsidies for rides to maternal health appointments.
  • Significantly invest in public safety systems including Community Response Teams (CRT), the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, and funds to fully implement the NEAR Act to reduce violence in communities.
  • Immediately invest to fully implement all elements of the Vision Zero legislation.

Legislation Milestones in May

  • Facility Allowance for Child Development Centers Amendment Act of 2021 – Introduced on May 18th, this legislation would establish a pilot program providing a facility allowance of $2,000 to child development centers and homes that currently hold a “progressing” or “developing” rating from OSSE. The financial enhancement must be used to help with facility costs such as rent/mortgage, utilities, facility upgrades, or maintenance. The program will require OSSE to evaluate the impact of the enhanced facility allowance, creating an opportunity for best practice sharing and enabling better assessments of the level of support necessary to achieve lasting quality improvements moving forward.
  • School Police Incident Oversight and Accountability Amendment Act of 2021 – Introduced on May 20th, this legislation would improve oversight and accountability around youth arrest data. Local Education Agencies would be required to maintain data that includes school-based disciplinary actions involving the Metropolitan Police Department. The Metropolitan Police Department would be required to report police-involved school incidents bi-annually, publicly and disaggregated by race, gender, age, and disability. The report would also include the count of weapons, contraband, and controlled substances recovered at District schools.
  • DCPS 2021-2022 Funding Stabilization Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 – Signed by Mayor Bowser on May 25th, my first piece of emergency legislation will become law for 90 days. We introduced the emergency on 4/30, it unanimously passed the Council on 5/4, and was signed into law on 5/25. This piece of emergency legislation requires school funding levels for fiscal year 2022 to be at or above 100% of their fiscal year 2021 budgets. This is just the first step in prioritizing investment for adequate school staffing, mental health resources, methods to address learning loss, and more.
High Road Restaurants Event

Councilmember Henderson at the High Road Restaurants job fair in partnership with One Fair Wage in the District.

Stronger as a Community: In-person and Virtual Events

I have met many new neighbors and community leaders this past month. To name a few, I was honored to celebrate the opening of the Southwest Library alongside Mayor Muriel Bowser and Councilmember Charles Allen. I learned more about the priorities and needs from business leaders at the High Road Restaurant job fair. I’ve participated in, and more importantly listened to, virtual general body meetings hosted by everyone from DC political organizations to engaged teens to civic associations. I also had the personal pleasure of hosting the Story of Our School’s trivia night. As time and capacity restrictions are lifted, I hope you will get vaccinated, support local, and safely enjoy time with your community.

Councilmember Henderson at the Princeton Prize Awards in Race Relations and the Southwest Library reopening celebration.

Constituent Services Corner: STAY DC

Apply for rental assistance today. STAY DC ( is a program that will pay 12 months of past due rent, 3 months of future rent, and past due utilities. This program is one where tenants who have faced financial hardship due to COVID-19 will be able to apply to this program and have their rent paid directly.

STAY DC empowers all DC tenants to be proactive in seeking money in order to keep your home and utilities without sacrificing other basic needs. Please take a few moments to watch this video explainer on how to apply for the STAY DC program. My hope is to demystify the application process, making you feel comfortable to start your application. Need assistance in English or Spanish? My office can be reached at 202-724-8105.

In short, I hope you and your neighbors will take advantage of this program. This is a federally funded program and one where the information gathered will only be used to make a decision on the type of rent relief the applicant will receive – and nothing else. The federal funds supporting this program must be used before September, so don’t wait! STAY DC will keep our neighbors housed and out of rent-debt. As we head into the new normal, I hope you will share this program with someone you know!

STAY DC Tutorial

Click play to watch our STAY DC tutorial.

Stay In Touch

Thank you for reading! Please stay in touch.

Christina Henderson
At-Large Councilmember

Mike Shaffer
Chief of Staff

Heather Edelman
Deputy Chief of Staff

T.J. Maloney
Legislative Director

Mykelle Richburg
Legislative Assistant

Ana Berríos-Vázquez
Constituent Services Director

Amanda Farnan
Communications Director