Budget Victories

$250,000 for the development of a not for profit grocery store and $250,000 cooperatively owned grocery store in Ward 8
$500,000 in one-time local funds to the Department of Small and Local Business Development to award competitive grants to support the development of two alternative grocery store models in Ward 8. Despite the District’s efforts, Ward 8 still lacks adequate healthy food retail and grocery options, with one only full-service grocery store for 78,686 residents. Other jurisdictions have seen success with grocery stores that are either non-profits or cooperatively-owned to provide healthy food and meaningful employment opportunities to underserved communities. To encourage these alternative grocery store models in Ward 8, $250,000 will support the development of a non-profit grocery store and an additional $250,000 will support the development of a community-owned grocery store cooperative.
$400,000 for an food business incubator for East of the River residents
$400,000 in one-time local funds to the Department of Small and Local Business Development to award a competitive grant to be used as startup funding for an equitable food business incubator in Ward 8. This funding will be used to support the development and management of a shared commercial kitchen for food entrepreneurs east of the Anacostia River. The incubator will provide mentoring, workshops, and other resources to catalyze the development of small food retail businesses. Residents will be able to purchase food from the businesses participating in the incubator through the demonstration café/food court that will be housed at the incubator.
$16.8 Training Academy at St. Elizabeth’s East Campus
$16.8 million towards the Washington, DC Infrastructure Academy at Saint Elizabeths’ East Campus. This new facility will focus on occupational skills training and work-based learning initiatives related to the infrastructure industry, including utility, energy efficiency, transportation, and logistics sectors. Industry partners, training providers such as UDC, labor unions, and trade associations will offer a diverse skills training allowing DC residents the tools to begin and sustain careers in the infrastructure industry. We will be working during the buildout of this program to add additional high demand job sectors to the training that will take place at this facility.
Increased Recreation Options
$15 million for the modernization of the Congress Heights Recreation Center near the St. Elizabeth’s Campus.
$11.9 million to improve access to the current Anacostia Park and Pool and to build a new recreation center for the lower Anacostia/Fairlawn neighborhood.
$350,000 for the pilot  of a Ward 7 and Ward 8 Entrepreneur Micro Grant Program
Residents east of the Anacostia River own significantly fewer small businesses than residents in other parts of the city. According to a recent Urban Institute study, Wards 7 and Wards 8 have less than half the number of businesses than other parts of city, meaning that there is a large unmet need for retail and other types of small businesses in Wards 7 and 8. Meanwhile, the District has a significant amount of startup activity, but little of this is occurring within Wards 7 and 8. Access to capital at all stages of a company’s lifecycle is a critical ingredient to grow a successful business, but access to capital is critical to the success of companies at the start-up stage. According to the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, there is typically limited startup and early stage funding available to entrepreneurs in the District. To address the need for more startup funding for Ward 7 and 8 entrepreneurs, we work to secure the establishment of the Ward 7 and 8 Entrepreneur Micro Grant program to offer grants between $1,000 and $10,000 for entrepreneurs who reside in Ward 7 and 8 and have a business or have plans for a business that will be located in Ward 7 or 8. The grants are designed to supplement early stage funding so that entrepreneurs can pursue a specific project or deliverable that will grow or improve the company or to for a specific project that will validate the market for a new business concept.
$2.2 million to TANF programming fully fund the TANF Child Benefit Protection Amendment Act of 2017
TANF, a program that provides cash assistance, subsidized childcare, and employment resources to help families with children transition from poverty to gainful employment and financial independence. 2.2 million has been allotted to fully fund the TANF Child Benefit Protection Amendment Act of 2017, which removes the reduced benefit structure for individuals who receive TANF for more than 60 months. It provides that portions of TANF payments are designated for children (80%) and for parents (20%). It also decreases the reduction in benefits for individuals not in compliance with TANF work requirements.

$1.9 million dollars for the establishment of an Adult Learners Transportation Fund
The District invests over $80 million in local and federal dollars in educational instruction for adult learners, yet the results are undermined because many can’t get to their classes. Unlike students under age 22—who ride Metrorail and bus for free—students over age 22 pay the full price, which poses a significant financial burden that often leaves them stuck in a cycle of enrolling and dropping out.
$490,625 additional funding at the Office on Returning Citizen Affairs
The District has nearly 70,000 returning citizens. In order to properly meet the special needs of the returning citizen population, the committee recommends the addition of 2 full time employees and the development and implementation of a strategic plan.

$3,162,633 additional funding at the Office of the Tenant Advocate
During the OTA’s budget hearing on April 11, 2017, public witnesses strongly urged that the OTA could significantly increase its help to tenants if the OTA’s budget were increased to permit the OTA to hire more attorneys and support staff. OTA will be able to hire 3 additional attorney advisors, 1 program analyst and enhance its IT specialist position.