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July 21, 2021

The District’s Equitable Budget

“We have an obligation as policymakers to ensure an intentional, equitable recovery because our neighborhoods are only as strong as our most vulnerable residents. This budget makes significant investments in opportunities for all communities across the District of Columbia – particularly those hardest hit by the pandemic. Opportunity is exactly what is needed if we wish to build back better after the last 16 months of an incredibly devastating public health emergency,” said Councilmember Christina Henderson. “When we invest in our most vulnerable residents with investments in housing, education and workforce, maternal health, safe infrastructure, increased paid leave, and the support for pay parity in our childcare industry, we support the needs of thriving communities and a strong workforce.”

For Immediate Release
July 21, 2021
Contact: Amanda Farnan, afarnan@dccouncil.us or (202) 355-8431

Councilmember Christina Henderson Releases Statement on the District’s Equitable Budget

Washington DC – Yesterday, the Council held its first vote on the fiscal year 2022 budget. Councilmember Christina Henderson believes one’s zip code should not determine their opportunity for success. Through the budget process, Councilmember Henderson championed investments that boldly center equity.

“We have an obligation as policymakers to ensure an intentional, equitable recovery because our neighborhoods are only as strong as our most vulnerable residents. This budget makes significant investments in opportunities for all communities across the District of Columbia – particularly those hardest hit by the pandemic. Opportunity is exactly what is needed if we wish to build back better after the last 16 months of an incredibly devastating public health emergency,” said Councilmember Christina Henderson. “When we invest in our most vulnerable residents with investments in housing, education and workforce, maternal health, safe infrastructure, increased paid leave, and the support for pay parity in our childcare industry, we support the needs of thriving communities and a strong workforce.”

Building on the foundation the Mayor’s proposed budget established, the Council strengthened its impact on a just recovery and passed a measure to increase revenue. These new funds will support an array of housing investments, expand our local Earned Income Tax Credit, and support our childcare services in the District.

“As a policy person who has worked on childcare issues for the past decade, I understand how complex, critical, and expensive quality care truly is. While DC has made investments to stabilize the childcare market, we haven’t gone so far to transform this sector by ensuring its employees – who are predominately women of color – can earn a living wage commensurate with their experience, credentials, and value. I am proud to support unprecedented investments to help our families who need it most,” Henderson said.

Below is a partial list of items in the fiscal year 2022 budget that Councilmember Henderson championed and supported. The public can view the committee reports and legislative text here.

  • Provides funding for the Maternal Health Resources and Access Act, which will cover transportation costs for expecting mothers to and from prenatal and post-partum doctor appointments, along with covering doula services so women have an advocate by their side. When coupled with postpartum coverage expansion and expanded midwife credentials we recently voted on, we are advancing a critical set of investments to reduce our extraordinarily high maternal mortality rates.
  • Provides pathways to safe and stable housing through additional investments in public housing repairs, permanent supportive housing, emergency rental assistance, and a new program to convert existing rental units into affordable units.
  • Supports workers by providing additional paid leave and medical leave benefits, and provides a path forward to attain 12 weeks of paid leave across the board for new parents and individuals dealing with a serious health condition – or assisting a family member with one.
  • Makes investments in industries most impacted by and still recovering from the economic impacts of the pandemic, such as our arts venues and hospitality businesses.
  • Establishes a path for fully funding Vision Zero while also making investments in safety improvements, bike lanes, and other critical infrastructure needs.
  • Provides assistance to our excluded workers by providing direct payments for the second year in a row.
  • Strengthens workforce development programs for youth, establishes a permanent yearlong paid internship program for students, expands IT training and skilled nursing workforce programs at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), and funds REPPDC, a teacher pipeline initiative to recruit and train local and diverse educators.
  • Expands the school-based mental health program to ensure all public schools are covered.
  • Increases overall investment in public education through a 3.6% increase in the UPSFF and targeting more resources to those students most in need, such as at-risk students who are a year or more behind, and ELL students in secondary grades.
  • Makes stabilization grants available to adult, residential, and early childhood public charter schools facing ongoing enrollment challenges.
  • Enhances funding for out of school time opportunities to ensure that District youth can continue their education, explore extracurricular interests, and be safe until parents get off work in the evening.
  • Bolsters the budget for the DC Public Library system for increasing operating hours, enhancing the collections budget, and fully funding numerous new neighborhood libraries in the next 6 years.
  • Moves to close the wealth gap through the transformative Baby Bond program funded by this budget, which will begin immediately investing in our children’s futures.
  • Fully funds the newly established Office of Deaf, Deafblind and Hard of Hearing.
  • Breaks up the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs into two agencies in an effort to streamline its responsibilities and responsiveness to constituents.
  • Provides critical investments in gun violence prevention, neighborhood safety initiatives, the new 911 Alternative program, assistance to victims of domestic violence, and safe passage.

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