Blog For The City

Celebrating National Volunteer Week (April 23-29, 2017)

Orchard volunteers, what would we do without you?!

When the doors of Bread for the City are open, they are matched by the hearts of thousands of generous volunteers who serve our two centers and orchard, and support a host of special projects each year. 

During the cold, “slow” months, nearly 400 volunteer slots are filled in our food pantries and clothing room, our medical and legal clinics, and our social services programs. When things warm up, hundreds more bring their smiles and support to service opportunities at our orchard, farmers’ market, Sunday produce sort, and two rooftop gardens.

In 1974, a single volunteer helped us begin. With a small $5,000 gift, a nurse, and donated space, Bread for the City’s founders were ready to open a medical clinic. Legally however, they could not open unless a licensed physician agreed to oversee the operation…and what physician would work without pay?

When Dr. Jack Bresette finally agreed to the role, he came “reluctantly and mostly out of guilt,” but volunteering left him “changed…healed…peaceful…humbled.” The service of that first physicianand the others who soon joined himmarked the beginning of a movement which, 43 years later, has resulted in Bread for the City being able to offer a wealth of high-quality, free services to D.C.’s low-income community.

Yay for volunteer docs!

Today, Bread for the City has a staff of over 100, but the service of volunteers (which supports the needs of 8,000 to 10,000 clients each month) continues to ensure the work of each department can be successful. In some cases, it ensures that some programs can even exist:

  • Two Fridays a month, about 4,000 pounds of produce has to be sorted into individual bags over a two-hour span for 150-200 community members visiting Bread for the City’s Farmers Market. The bulk of the work is executed by volunteers.
  • Here at Bread, we’re proud of our three full-time physicians and dentist. Our medical services however, would not be complete without the help of the more than a dozen doctorsmany of whom are specialists in various fieldswho provide their services for free through our medical clinic.
  • Only one full-time and one part-time staff member serve Bread for the City’s 3-acre orchard day to day. The remainder of the planting, weeding, harvesting, and general tending-to of crops is executed by volunteers.
  • Donations to our clothing room come in every single day to help accommodate the nearly 1,000 visits the room sees every month. Who would sort the donations and replenish the floor stock if there were no volunteers?

Bruce hard at work in the Legal Clinic

It’s easy to go on. We have a retired attorney who gives Bread for the City 64 hours of his time every single month…and has been doing so for years. Thanks, Bruce!

A volunteer at our Southeast Center has committed a decade to helping keep our clients informed through bulletin board and calendar updates. The staff of a particular federal agency comes to package bread for our food pantry every month. And we have half a dozen service corps volunteers who spend a year with us performing a wide variety of services that help keep us moving forward.

In fact, we estimate that the dollar value of volunteer services to Bread for the City is over a half a million a year! But more importantly, this service ensures many more of our friends and neighbors here in Washington, D.C. draw a few steps further away from the obstacles associated with living in poverty.

We appreciate our volunteers’ commitment. We appreciate their time. We’re grateful for the way they help us accomplish our mission. We would not be Bread for the City without them.

Of course, Bread is just one of many nonprofits who benefit from volunteer support. The proposed budget of the current administration eliminates the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). This disinvestment in American communities may seem “penny wise” on the surface, but overall, it is both “pound foolish” (and “people invisible,” to add a new twist to a familiar phrase). The Hill reports that “Americans see nearly four times the return in higher earnings, increased output, and other community-wide benefits” for every federal dollar invested in national service. It summarizes by saying, “For every dollar we give CNCS, it gives us back $1.25.”

That’s why we have to resist the current administration’s effort to abolish the Corporation for National and Community Service. AmeriCorps service members led by the CNCS are among the many who work diligently to address the needs of Americans facing inequity and the challenges of poverty. 

Volunteers represent the best of America, and I hope each person reading this will commit to always being one.

 Sign up to serve at!

Join us at Bread for the City’s Good Hope Gala!

Dinner and Live Auction: It will be a night of celebration, philanthropy, and dancing that you won’t want to miss!
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – 6:00 pm

Omni Shoreham Hotel – Woodley Park
2500 Calvert Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Cocktail attire is requested.
Learn more and purchase tickets at
RSVP by May 6, 2017
Questions? Contact Ally Blaine at (202) 480-8970 or

What does political will to end homelessness in DC look like? Not this.

Below is an excerpt from a blog originally posted at The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless.

“Ending homelessness just takes political will.” – Mayor Muriel Bowser

This simple, and in our view, correct, statement came from Mayor Bowser at the March 18th affordable housing rally organized by The Way Home Campaign and the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED). Mayor Bowser uttered these words before hundreds of rally attendees, many of whom have faced or are facing homelessness and housing insecurity. Only a few weeks later, her words ring hollow. On April 4th Mayor Bowser unveiled her Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget proposal (“DC values in action, a road to inclusive prosperity”) which leads us to conclude that she does not possess the political will to end homelessness in the District of Columbia.

DC coffers are flush with cash. DC expects to have an additional $600 million in FY18, as compared to FY17. Of that $600 million, the Mayor’s budget proposes adding only around $8.7 million to permanent affordable housing programs that end homelessness. That’s just 1.5% of DC’s extra money. As Fair Budget Coalition states: “Instead, the Mayor has prioritized $18.8 million in tax cuts for estates worth between $1-5 million, $23.8 million in tax breaks for businesses, and invests almost $400 million to support development projects like DC Streetcar, a new Wizards practice facility, and luxury condominiums at McMillan Park over the critical human needs of District residents.”

The Mayor knows how to end homelessness. The Bowser Administration finalized and adopted this plan to end homelessness by 2020: Homeward DC. Mayor Bowser said it best in her introduction to the plan in 2015:
“When I entered office on January 2, the District’s homeless crisis was at the top of my priority list. I knew this was a problem that could not be fixed overnight.


Clínica de Vivienda presentada en español

¡Buenas Noticias! “Bread for the City” ha lanzado una Clínica de Vivienda mensual que se presenta completamente en español.

Esta sesión tiene lugar en nuestro Centro Noroeste una vez al mes en el cuarto lunes del mes.

No se puede negar que Washington DC se encuentra en una grave crisis de vivienda. Según informó “DCist” en diciembre de 2016: “Mientras que el 77 por ciento de los inquilinos de DC que necesitan vivienda asequible tienen ingresos extremadamente bajos, sólo el 39 por ciento de los apartamentos asequibles  respaldados por la ciudad con dólares públicos desde 2010 están al alcance de estas familias.” En Bread for the City, somos muy conscientes del largo y estresante proceso de asegurar vivienda asequible en DC. Las listas de espera para los apartamentos disponibles son a menudo dos años o más. Durante años hemos estado escuchando de los clientes que navegar los pasos para encontrar y solicitar vivienda asequible es arduo y más aún si usted no es un hablante nativo de inglés.

Nuestros clientes de habla hispana expresaron sus preocupaciones: querían asistir a nuestra clínica de vivienda pero no podían hacerlo debido a la barrera del idioma. Escuchamos y posteriormente desarrollamos el Programa  de Acceso a la Vivienda (HAP) en español. Todas los formularios y presentaciones en las sesiones de HAP en inglés han sido traducidas al español. Además, hemos creado documentos precisos y culturalmente apropiados.

Antes de que los clientes se inscriban para asistir a HAP en español, la coordinadora del programa Patricia González explica el programa y, junto con el cliente, determina si es algo de lo que el cliente se beneficiaría.

Para los clientes que asisten a  HAP en español, es una oportunidad para revisar todas las oportunidades de vivienda en DC. La clínica también cubre lo que los clientes necesitarán para aplicar a los edificios de apartamentos que están aceptando solicitudes a sus listas de espera. Para cada cliente, ofrecemos una lista de edificios con listas de espera abiertas para las cuales el cliente cualifica. Los clientes pueden solicitar por su cuenta propia o hacer una cita con Patricia para completar las solicitudes juntos.

Ir por encima y más allá es algo que viene naturalmente a nosotros aquí en Bread for the City. Un gran ejemplo de esto es el trabajo de Patricia con la Sra. P., una cliente de HAP de habla hispana.

Patricia ayudó a la Sra. P. a llenar una solicitud para un edificio de apartamentos. Luego, siguió para averiguar si el cliente había hecho una cita para presentar la solicitud. Cuando no se había hecho, Patricia llamó y no sólo hizo la cita para la Sra. P., sino que también preguntó a  la gerencia del edificio si el cliente iba a poder comunicarse con ellos cuando dejó la solicitud. La gerencia del edificio dijo que nadie hablaba español, así que nadie podría ayudar a la Sra. P. con su presentación.

Como Patricia no quería que nuestra cliente perdiera la oportunidad de presentar la solicitud, la acompañó a la cita para asistir. La aplicación se presentó correctamente.

En este clima político actual, enfatizamos a los clientes que no tienen que tener estatus migratorio legal para participar en HAP. A menudo podemos referir clientes a un individuo u organización que puede proporcionar ayuda legal con el estatus migratorio.

Tanto los clientes nuevos como los actuales de Bread for the City pueden ingresar a HAP y muchas veces, los clientes son referidos a HAP por nuestra propia Clínica Legal o Médica.

Debido a que la clínica HAP se lleva a cabo durante las horas de trabajo, muchos clientes están interesados ​​pero no pueden tomar tiempo libre para asistir. ¡Eso no es un problema! Si un cliente no puede llegar a una de las clínicas de vivienda programadas, puede llamar a Patricia y establecer una cita para reunirse a su conveniencia.

No hay muchas organizaciones en DC con programas de vivienda realizadas completamente en español y esto llevó a nuestro cliente Sr. M. a expresar que está “contento de que Bread for the City tenga el programa en español. Estoy agradecido de obtener información que anteriormente no tenía. ”

Ayúdanos a difundir la palabra entre la comunidad de habla hispana de DC sobre la Clínica HAP en español en Bread for the City. Queremos que la comunidad sepa que puede venir a BFC y obtener ayuda con el proceso de encontrar vivienda y obtener listas de espera. Los clientes interesados ​​deben comunicarse con Patricia Gonzalez al 202-386-7091 o

Housing Access Program presented in Spanish!

Exciting News! Bread for the City has launched a monthly Housing Access Program (HAP) Clinic that is presented entirely in Spanish.

This session takes place once a month on the 4th Monday of the month at our Northwest Center.

There is no denying that Washington DC is in a severe housing crisis. As reported in DCist in December 2016: “While 77 percent of the D.C. renters who need affordable housing have extremely low incomes, only 39 percent of affordable apartments backed by the city with public dollars since 2010 are within reach of these families.”

At Bread for the City, we are acutely aware of the long, stressful process of securing deeply affordable housing in DC. Waiting lists for available apartments are often two or more years long. For years, we have heard from clients that navigating the steps to find and apply for affordable housing is arduous – and even more so if you are not a native English speaker.

Our Spanish speaking clients voiced their concerns: they wanted to attend our regular housing clinic but couldn’t because of the language barrier. We listened, and subsequently launched a Spanish-language version of our Housing Access Program (HAP).  All of the forms and presentations we used in our English HAP sessions were translated into Spanish, plus we made sure that the documents we shared were culturally appropriate.

Before clients sign up for Spanish HAP, program coordinator Patricia Gonzalez explains the program and, together with the client, determines if it is something that the client would benefit from.

During Spanish HAP clinics, clients have the opportunity to review all of the housing opportunities in DC. The clinic also covers what clients will need in order to apply to the apartment buildings that are accepting applications to their waiting lists. For every client, we provide a list of buildings with open waitlists and for which the client qualifies. Clients can apply on their own or make an appointment with Patricia to complete the application together.

Going above and beyond is something that comes naturally to us here at Bread for the City. A great example of this is Patricia’s work with Mrs. P., a Spanish speaking HAP client.

Patricia helped Mrs. P. complete an application for an apartment building. She then followed up to find out if the client had yet made an appointment to submit the application. When it had not been done, Patricia called and not only made the appointment for Mrs. P., but also asked the building management if the client was going to be able to communicate with them when she dropped off the application. The building’s management said that no one there spoke Spanish, so no one would be able to assist Mrs. P. with her submission.

Since Patricia did not want our client to lose the opportunity to submit the application, she accompanied her to the appointment to assist. The application was successfully submitted.

In this current political climate, we stress to clients that they do not have to have legal immigration status to participate in HAP. We can often refer them to an individual or organization that can provide legal help with immigration status.

Both new and existing Bread for the City clients can join HAP and oftentimes, clients are referred to HAP by our own Legal or Medical Clinic.

Because the HAP clinic is held during work hours, many clients are interested but unable to take time off to attend. That’s not a problem! If a client can’t make it to one of the scheduled housing clinics, they can call Patricia and set up an appointment to meet at their convenience.

There are not very many organizations in DC with housing access programs conducted entirely in Spanish and this led our client Mr. M. to express that he is “glad that Bread for the City has the program in Spanish. I am grateful to get information I did not previously have.”

Help us spread the word among DC’s Spanish-speaking community about the Spanish HAP Clinic at Bread for the City. We want the community to know that they can come to BFC and get help with the process of finding housing and getting on wait lists. Interested clients should contact Patricia Gonzalez at 202-386-7091 or

Disinvestment from HUD will have catastrophic effects on DC – Part 2

This two-part series on the proposed budget cuts to Housing and Urban Development will take a closer look at the impact these cuts would have on DC. Click here to read Part 1.

A Bread for the City community member who lives in public housing, and chooses to remain anonymous to avoid retaliation, illustrates the devastating impact poor housing conditions have had on her family:

“We moved into public housing in October 2013, and my mom had brought us a new rug to cover the hospital-like tile that was on the floor. Our first month there, I woke up one morning and my entire living room was flooded. I had to sweep water out the back door and throw away everything that had been destroyed from the water damage including the rug my mom had just purchased. I did not complain because I was just grateful we had our own key and no one could tell us to get out.

My housing is in a pretty decent neighborhood; my issues are with the conditions of the property itself. Fast forward and it is February 2017, and to date, my ceiling leaks once a week either in the bathroom or kids’ bedroom. I have several holes in my ceilings that DC Housing Authority employees covered with plastic bags. Those bags have been hanging from my ceiling for about a year; one is in the living room, and the other in the children’s bedroom. I’m sure my kids and I are living with mold from the water damage.

Over the years I have had to throw away children’s beds and now they sleep on air beds because of the leaks. I cannot afford to replace mattresses regularly. Other items I have had to discard and replace are towels, clothing, toys, shoes, etc.

I have never had heat in the winter months so I purchased space heaters to keep us warm. I live on the first floor, and none of my windows lock. I’ve asked DCHA to fix the locks and they haven’t done it. In the summer months we cannot sleep with the windows open because someone may break in while we are asleep. My bathroom is falling in around us. DCHA has come in and patched the bathroom ceiling, but the next day it floods from upstairs – what’s the point?”

About four out of every five of DC’s public housing units need significant improvements, according to a study by the DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI). The upgrades and replacements are estimated to require $1.3 billion in expenditures. Meanwhile, the federal government only contributed $14 million for capital improvements in 2015-2016, “and much of that went to filling gaps in the agency’s budget.”

Due to this drastic and dangerous under-funding, Bread for the City and Empower DC, along with the Fair Budget Coalition, successfully advocated for DC to put $15 million of its own local dollars into public housing repairs in FY17. This year, we are supporting Empower DC’s call for $25 million in additional local dollars for public housing repairs. Until FY16, DC had not put local money into public housing repairs.

Due to the inadequate and potentially shrinking funds for federal rent subsidies, DC’s Housing Authority wait-list is still closed with just over 40,000 people on it. Bread for the City is part of Fair Budget Coalition’s call for about $45 million to be spent across six vital subsidized housing programs, plus $150 million for housing construction and preservation, in FY18.

If Trump’s massive disinvestment is successful, it will help the political forces that want to make the case that public housing is a failure and must be radically diminished and/or privatized. We have already seen, both in DC and in major cities across the country, that the privatization of public housing, done without specific intent to keep people in their communities, causes serious community disruption and displacement. That’s why we’ve been working with residents at Kenilworth Courts, Park Morton and elsewhere to pressure the city to implement phased redevelopment plans that keep residents in their neighborhoods during and after construction.

Last year, Bread for the City successfully advocated for a DCHA Board Resolution that prohibits the creation of resident screening criteria (like drug testing, credit checks, and work requirements) for New Communities Initiative (NCI) properties that are more stringent than the screening criteria DCHA uses for traditional public housing developments. Our Community Lawyering Project was also then able to get the protections of that Resolution included in the zoning order and relocation/re-occupancy plan for Kenilworth Courts – a non-NCI property.

We know that unsafe and unhealthy conditions abound in DC’s public housing, and that chronic disinvestment, plus traumatic withdrawals of resources such as in Trump’s proposal, put people in unsafe living conditions and out on the street. We know the real problem is not any personal failings of public housing tenants, but a discriminatory disinvestment by public officials.

In order to shed light on these issues and publicly present the need for greater funding to repair people’s homes, we are calling on public housing residents and residents with vouchers to submit photos of their conditions to Bread for the City. This can be done completely anonymously by emailing us at, or calling us at 202-791-3997 to share your photos or videos.

You can also tweet them publicly with the hashtag #RepairOurHomes and/or #unacceptable. It’s our belief that by publicly sharing these images, we can show our mayor and city council members that they must fund repairs and allow our neighbors and community members to live safely, healthfully and with dignity and justice.


For more information, visit:

Disinvestment from HUD will have catastrophic effects on DC

This two-part series on the proposed budget cuts to Housing and Urban Development will take a closer look at the impact these cuts would have on DC…

The Trump administration is aiming to cut Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) budget by $6 billion, or 13%. This massive disinvestment from low-income housing and neighborhoods – the steepest housing cuts since the Reagan administration – would exacerbate dangerous housing conditions and homelessness in DC and around the country. While these proposed cuts are dire, Trump did not start this trend – as of last year, HUD funding had already fallen $4.6 billion, or 8.7%, since 2010.

Trump’s proposed budget threatens to accelerate a familiar cycle of preordained failure: government massively disinvests from public housing, declares it a failure (usually blaming that failure on tenants and/or public systems in general), and names the solution as further disinvestment and/or privatization of public housing.

Public housing capital funds from the federal government are already bare bones, and Trump appears to be planning to cut them by $1.3 billion, about 32%. DC could lose $19 million in vital funds used to operate and repair public housing. As part of that loss, capital funds for the DC Housing Authority (DCHA) would shrink from $14.3 million to $4.5 million.

That money is used to pay off old debt, and it’s possible DCHA would have to eliminate vouchers in order to make up those debt repayment funds – on top of voucher losses from voucher funds directly cut by HUD.

DC funds vouchers for about 4,000 families and individuals, which allow them to pay a third of their income toward rent, with the city covering the rest: a crucial, though underfunded piece of the affordable housing puzzle. DC could lose 1,000 vouchers, unless it replaces the federal funding with additional local funding.

Additionally, the draft budget threatens to cut direct rental assistance by $300 million, along with a total of $221 million that would be cut from assistance programs for seniors, people with disabilities, and Native Americans.

“This budget proposal deserves an F,” wrote former HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “It would benefit the wealthy and military contractors at the expense of America’s middle class and the poor. By cutting funds for housing opportunity, this budget would drive up homelessness for veterans, families and young people. Congress should reject it.”

Trump is spending $3 million per weekend traveling to his golf resort in Florida, and wants to move $54 billion from civilian expenditures to military, despite the US already spending more on its military than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, France, India, and Germany – combined.

Washingtonians simply cannot afford a massive cut to housing subsidies. Public housing serves over 7,000 of DC’s lowest income families, and is likely the last support system between many and homelessness. Last year, about 8,400 DC residents were experiencing homelessness, a 14% increase from the previous year. About 70% of DC’s public housing residents are living on poverty-level fixed incomes or government assistance, including Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), pensions, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Most of the rest are working one or two jobs; yet would not be able to live in DC without public housing.

Tenants pay 30% of their household income toward rent; the average rent for a public housing tenant is $255/month, impossible to find in the DC area’s private housing market. Meanwhile, there is still a 40,000-household waitlist for housing vouchers at the DC Housing Authority.

Due to decades of disinvestment, living conditions in public housing are dangerous for many residents. Common problems include mold, rodents, holes in ceilings and walls, leaky pipes, and dysfunctional heating and cooling, and generally poor construction with shoddy materials. Stories of ceilings falling in on tenants are common, and many units have a noticeable humidity.

Meanwhile more than half of public housing families are headed by seniors and/or persons with disabilities. More than a third of the households have children. Many public housing tenants with dangerous living conditions understandably refuse to pay rent as the conditions remain unrepaired. When DCHA submits an application to HUD to get permission to demolish a property, they must declare that the property is unsuitable for housing. Yet we know that on properties like Barry Farm, Lincoln Heights, and Kenilworth Courts, tenants living with deplorable conditions are being evicted for non-payment of rent.

This is unjust, and why we are demanding that DCHA waive rental arrears for all properties where the Authority has admitted to unsuitability by virtue of submitting an application for demolition and disposition.  

Stay tuned for part two of this look into the effects HUD budget cuts would have on Washington, DC.

DC Coalition Urges Major Investments in Affordable Housing

Following is an excerpt from the “Poverty & Policy” blog written by Kathryn Baer…

We’re in the fairly early stages of the annual budget season. And advocates have already begun pressing their cases — for more affordable housing funds, among others.

The Fair Budget Coalition has released its annual recommendations — a far-reaching set, both in scope and total cost. Not a mere wish list, however, since we’ve reasons to expect funding increases for some of the priorities, even if not as hefty as FBC calls for.

Nine of the recommendations address what the report terms “housing security,” i.e., safe, affordable housing for both families with children and people without. These recommendations represent at least 53% of the total new spending FBC advocates.*

Surely everyone who lives in the District or attends to what goes on here outside the White House and the Capitol buildings knows that the shortage of housing the lowest-income residents can afford is a huge problem — hence also the homeless problem.

The recommendations go at the linked problems in several different, though in some cases related ways.

Read the full blog post here:


Keep Talent like Brittany: Stop Cuts to AmeriCorps

Today, Brittany Morgan, a talented Public Ally and native Washingtonian, helps hundreds of Bread for the City medical patients access social services and thrive, despite managing a chronic illness. But tomorrow, thousands of service leaders like Brittany will be eliminated if President Trump’s cruel 2018 budget passes Congress.

Please join us to stop the cuts in Trump’s 2018 budget, which would eliminate the U.S. Service Corp and put more than 88,000 AmeriCorp workers like Brittany out of work forever.

Brittany is happy at work helping BFC clients!

Brittany is happy at work helping BFC clients!

“If it weren’t for Brittany, I would still be looking for help to update my resume,” said Marie Salmon Gregory, a Bread for the City medical patient. “I am a home health aid and the highest earner in my extended family. Brittany is patient and kind; she listened and showed me how to translate my years of experiences into words so that I can improve my job search, and increase my working hours so I can send money back to my daughter in Jamaica who has recently been diagnosed with cancer. It’s people like Brittany, who open up their hearts to us, that keep me coming back to Bread for the City because it makes a huge difference in my life.”

As the Health Resource Room Coordinator, Brittany helps medical patients learn more about their diagnoses, access senior services and wellness classes, obtain affordable transportation, connect with housing services, and other critical services that allow people to thrive, despite illness.

“Working at Bread has confirmed my commitment to becoming a social worker,” says Brittany Morgan, BFC Health Resource Room Coordinator and Public Ally. “Without the Public Allies national service opportunity, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to build my career around helping people and making the world a more just place where everyone has a chance to succeed.”

Today, Brittany helps empower hundreds of Bread for the City medical patients to become leaders in their own healing and wellness goals; tomorrow Brittany could be leading the next Bread for the City, making the world a more just, kind place. Unless we stop it, Trump’s 2018 budget would cut an affordable, nonpartisan, human-to-human exchange program that has lifted up communities for years. If unchecked, Trump’s budget might also eliminate the next generation of leaders in service.

Please join us and 1,000 similar community-based organizations across the country to stop the cuts in Trump’s 2018 budget, which would eliminate the U.S. Service Corp and put more than 88,000 AmeriCorp workers like Brittany out of work forever.

GOP Budget Would Cut Services Vital to DC Residents

For many parts of the country, the workings of the federal government are abstract and distant. For residents of Washington, DC, however, it is very concrete: with a budget controlled by Congress and a region dependent on the federal government for much of its economic vitality, changes to federal agencies can have a huge impact.

As the Washington Post reports, the GOP’s current budget proposal would gut programs on which DC residents rely. Plus, 25% of the District budget is direct federal funding – far higher than most other states – so the proposed cuts would deeply impact the DC government’s ability to provide the services that most cities take for granted.

Not surprisingly, the GOP budget would impact DC residents living with low-incomes most of all. Examples from the proposed budget include:

  • Housing programs would be cut by $17M.
  • Nonprofits, like Bread for the City, that provide social services and counseling to DC residents would be set to lose $10.5M.
  • The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which subsidized heating and cooling costs for those living below a certain income level, could lose $10M. In DC, around 22,000 families use this service and would be impacted by this cut.
  • Medicaid cuts would reduce the number of insured families.

Altogether, if the GOP budget is passed as currently written, it would devastate residents who rely on government safety net programs for assistance during rough times. Plus, the budget cuts would make it harder for private charities like Bread for the City to operate the same programs at the same level.

As Iris Lav, a senior fellow at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities notes in the article, the budget “hits a lot of low-income programs. It hits things that help students, and a lot of things that help seniors and people with disabilities. It’s pretty difficult for any jurisdiction to replace the kind of money they’re talking about.

Bread for the City stands against budget cuts that increase human suffering in DC. The work of ending poverty cannot be done by private charities alone – we need the reach and support of robust safety net funding from the federal government in order to do our part to help end poverty.

In the coming months, as more details on the proposed budget are released, we will be advocating, as always, for our clients, their families, and our DC community. Please stay tuned to this blog and other Bread for the City channels.