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Brooke's Briefing: My First Briefing as Ward 2 Councilmember! Covid-19 Updates, School Openings, 2020 Census

Posted by
Emmanuel Brantley
on
August 18, 2020

Dear Ward 2,

It brings me great joy and a sense of immense pride to communicate with all of you in what is my first official newsletter!

In June of this year, I stood behind the seal of the Council of the District of Columbia to swear an oath and assume my role as the first woman to represent Ward 2.

With my parents to one side and my Council colleagues surrounding me, I made a promise to each one of you. A promise that I would not only work on your behalf but stand alongside you to address Ward 2’s and the District’s most immediate needs. I also committed to helping channel the best of who we are, and the best of who we desire to be, to resolve the challenges that have persisted for far too long.

I am proud to say that I am making good on my promise! Within my first 60 days of service, and despite an estimated $1.5 billion in revenue shortfalls over these next two fiscal years, I worked with my colleagues to take legislative actions and pass budget measures that revitalize our small and local business community, prevent hurried tax hikes, reinforce our city’s homelessness supports, increase affordable housing investments, and bolster our citywide healthcare system. I also joined efforts to reform our public safety system, protect our undocumented workers, and make public elections safer and more accessible during the current public health crisis.

Today, my commitment to you is to continue acting out of an informed desire to see that all Ward 2 residents and families – from Dupont Circle to Downtown to Georgetown to Logan Circle – have access to quality government services, greater economic opportunities, and the support they need to leverage these benefits. As a legislator, I promise to always seek and listen to alternative viewpoints, be guided by a deep conviction to do what is right, and fulfill my commitment to delivering transparent public service.

In closing, please know that my staff and I are always here, ready, and willing to provide you with excellent service. No problem is too big or too small. If you need us, just call or email, and we will be in touch. Together, we will make our Ward 2 community even stronger.

Yours in service,
Brooke

COVID-19 Updates and Resources

The Bowser Administration Announces Relief for Tenants and Homeowners: Last week, Mayor Bowser relaunched the DC Mortgage Assistance Program (DC MAP) to assist qualifying residents seeking mortgage payment support. To begin your application, call 1-833-429-0537 or email DCMAP@dchfa.org for questions. To first learn more about the program, click HERE.

The Department of Housing and Community Development also established a $1.5 million program to offer tenant-based assistance to low-income renters and an additional program to offer rental assistance to low-income renters who are in arrears.

Grocery Sites: Grocery sites are available throughout the District to provide families with healthy options free of charge. Please wear a mask and bring a cart/tote bag to transport your items.

In the Community

Councilmember Pinto Joins MPD and ANCs for Public Safety Walks in Ward 2: This month, Councilmember Pinto joined Commanders from the Second District, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, and Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen to discuss public safety in Shaw and Penn Quarter/Chinatown. During their time together, the group met with passersby who all underscored the importance of providing adequate social supports and increasing community engagement. Team Pinto also met with MPD and business owners in the Dupont Circle neighborhood to discuss public safety.

Councilmember Pinto on a public safety walk in Penn Quarter/Chinatown.

Proposed Bike Lane Expansion along the 17th Street Corridor: District’s Department of Transportation has been working on the transportation plan for the proposed two-way bike lane along 17th Street between Constitution and Florida Avenues. In response to additional concerns, the Councilmember engaged the businesses along the corridor to learn how she could best ensure that the proposal included input from all stakeholders and did not prohibit the businesses from providing quality services to our nearby residents and visitors. Any individual or entity that would like to provide their input is encouraged to contact our Legislative and Community Coordinator, Ella Hanson, at ehanson@dccouncil.us.

In The Press

In recent conversations with the Georgetowner and BisNow, Councilmember Pinto discussed the votes and actions that she has recently taken to enable local restaurants and other businesses to resume operations while prioritizing the health and safety of the business’ employees and patrons. She also spoke about an innovative approach to affordable housing development, reinforced her commitment to include D.C.’s excluded workforce in economic relief, and shared her views on the need for improved public safety measures that include increased mental health supports.


Legislative Update

The Fiscal Year 2021 budget oversight process was met with the onset of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and the ensuing public health pandemic and economic crisis. Despite these unforeseen challenges and a resulting loss of an estimated $1.5 billion in revenue between fiscal years 2020 and 2021, Councilmember Pinto was pleased to work with Mayor Muriel Bowser, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, and her Council colleagues to deliver a balanced budget that maintained critical supports for District residents and businesses.

Ward 2 Budget Priorities

  • Over $74 million for Francis-Stevens school modernization and the purchase of the Georgetown Day School, which will help relieve students and parents of overcrowding.
  • $8 million for renovation and upgrades at Engine Company 23 in Foggy Bottom, sidewalk expansions in Ward 2, and a Rock Creek Bypass Study.
  • $17 million for renovations at Franklin Square Park and upgrades at the 26th and I Street playgrounds.
  • $16 million for the upgrades to Dupont Crown Park and Dupont Underground and $7 million for Jelleff Recreation Center (including a feasibility study due in December 2020) and the expansion of the Georgetown Canal.
  • $4.2 million provided for collections in advance of the grand re-opening of the renovated Martin Luther King, Jr. Central Library.

Small and Local Businesses Supports and Relief for Workers

  • Elimination of proposed advertising and sales tax that would have burdened local media outlets and provision to support for businesses and workers with Personal Protective Equipment measures.
  • $9 million to assist undocumented workers who cannot access federal and local relief resources and full funding for the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act.

Education and the Arts and Public Safety

  • Nearly $6 million to support the District’s childcare facilities and bolster early literacy intervention grant programs. Also redirects $4 million in for school policing to school-based mental health services.
  • Reverses decreases and provides over $6 million for Violence Interruption and Prevention Programs, increases supports for the DC Cadets Program to recruit native Washingtonians to the Metropolitan Police Department, and grants incarerated felons the right to vote in District elections.

Housing, Homelessness, Social Services, and Healthcare

  • Reverses cuts to homeless outreach and prevention programs and provides additional units of permanent supportive housing and maintained investments for programs such as TANF, the Medicaid local match, and the DC Healthcare Alliance, and provides funding for a new District hospital at the St Elizabeth Campus and capital improvements at Howard University Hospital.
  • $50 million for public housing repairs and $6 million to create 300 new homes through the Local Rent Supplement Program.
  • Reforming the Qualified High-Tech Companies Tax Credit to provide $28 million for the District’s social services.

Announcements

School Openings: D.C. public schools (DCPS) will start School Year 2020-2021 virtually with all students, grades — Pre-K through 12 — learning at home. This will last at least through Term 1 from August 31 to November 6. All families are encouraged to complete the technology survey to share their technology needs with DCPS for the school year; the survey will remain open through August. Families with students attending a Charter School are encouraged to click HERE for the latest updates. If your student is enrolled in a private school, please contact your school directly.

Franklin Square Park Is Closed for Renovation: Franklin Square Park, located between 13th and 14th Streets and K and I Streets in Northwest, closed for major renovations on July 1, 2020 and is expected to reopen next summer; the park will not be accessible to the public during this time. The Downtown DC Bid will also continue to provide services to residents experiencing homelessness at the Downtown Day Services Center (The Center) at 1313 New York Avenue, N.W. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and partner with the D.C. Department on Human Services to provide daily lunchtime meal service between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the 800 block of Vermont Avenue (between H and I Streets) in Northwest. For more information, click HERE.

Have You Completed the 2020 Census?: The U.S. Census Bureau will dispatch “Census Takers” to obtain data from those who have not submitted their Census forms either by mail or online. Please ask to see their I.D. Census Takers work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and must present a valid ID badge with their name, photo, Department of Commerce watermark, and expiration date. To complete the census on your own, call 844-330-2020 or visit www.2020census.gov online.

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