Blog For The City

The Wait is Over!

We are excited to reveal the lineup of super-duper, ultra-exclusive, extra-special opportunities that will be up for grabs during this Saturday’s Good Hope Gala live auction.

Drumroll please…

Take Me Out to the Ballgame! – The Nats are going all the way this year, we can feel it! Catch the team as they face off against the San Francisco Giants. Treat yourself and three friends to seats in the Dugout Box- prime seats for your game-viewing pleasure.

Welcome to Miami – Party in the city where the heat is on! Stay at The Betsy hotel, a beachside haven in South Beach, and eat your heart out at Joe’s Stone Crab, a historic seafood hot spot.

Hello… it’s Adele! – Missed your chance to snag tickets to Adele’s stop in DC? We’ve got you covered. You’ll get to see her at the Verizon Center in floor seats!

Beach Week in the Outer Banks – Enjoy a week at a six-bedroom beach house in Duck, NC. This vacation package has everything you need (including a hot tub!) for a fun-filled week-long vacation.

Hooked on Fishing in St. Michaels – Meet Captain Herman Haddaway on Maryland’s Eastern Shore for a half-day private fishing trip for up to three people. This package even includes a one-night stay at the scenic Hambleton Inn in St. Michaels, MD.

Jet Off to Rio! – Hop on a jet plane to exotic Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for a one-week stay in a luxurious one-bedroom apartment in the heart of the city.

Dining Out in DC All Year Long – Treat yourself to the ultimate DC foodie package with gift certificates to 12 area restaurants, one for each month of the year.

Top top-gunGun Experience – Do you have what it takes to be a fighter pilot for a day? With this package, you’ll get to fly a real military fighter jet with an instructor pilot for the thrill of a lifetime.

Viva Las Vegas! – Jet off to Las Vegas and spend two nights in a terrace studio at The Cosmopolitan. Located right on the Vegas Strip, you’ll have everything you need right there. You can also spring for a special dinner with your $100 dining credit.

Hamilton in NYC – See the sold-out sensation Hamilton in NYC during your July 4th weekend getaway to The Big Apple. This packages includes a two-night stay in a one-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side, dinner for two at E&E Grill House, and two tickets to Hamilton!

It’s not too late to join us as we auction off these exciting packages. Purchase your gala tickets today at www.breadforthecity.org/Good-Hope-Gala-Tickets.

See you Saturday!

Thank you, Good Hope Gala sponsors!

With our annual Good Hope Gala just days away, we can’t tell you how grateful we are for the 100+ corporations and individuals throughout DC and across the nation that have come forward as sponsors of our largest event to date.

There are a lot of great perks that come with sponsoring our gala as an individual or a corporate partner, but the best benefit of all is the fact that our sponsors are so critical in helping Bread for the City continue doing what we do best–providing food, clothing, medical care, legal and social services to more than 34,000 DC residents every year.

Please join us in thanking all of our individual sponsors and corporate partners. Want to join this amazing group of BFC supporters? Contact Amanda Nover, Corporate Partnerships Manager, at anover@breadforthecity.org.

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Mark & Cindy Aron
The Dweck Family
Mayberg Family Foundation
Katherine & David Bradley
George & Carol Jones
Cynthia Krus & George Corey
Ellen & Roy Rosenthal
G. Paul Moates & Constance Sadler
American Airlines
Forest City Washington
Gary & Carol Berman
CoStar Group
Tanisha Carino & Jalyn Henton
Dentons US LLP
Kristin & Mike Foti
Louise Hilsen & Donald Foley
Marie & William Hoffman
The JBG Companies
Novartis
The Bernard & Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust
Steptoe & Johnson LLP
Derek Thomas
Alan & Miriam Pemberton
Rosalind & Donald Cohen
Craig & Belinda Stevens
Donald Friedman & Rhona Wolfe Friedman
Carter Phillips & Sue Henry
Nowell & Michele Rush
Jeannine Sanford & Charles Parker
Irma Poretsky
Steuart & Linda Thomsen
Chris & Meg Wilber
Jon Fee & Joan Suttin Fee
Reformation Fitness
Randi Abramson & Michael Lieberman
David & Adrienne Umansky
Sharon & Charles Bates
Carpe DC Food Tours
Mary A. Christie
Janet & Michael Cornfeld
Abbie & William Eckland
Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Giant Food
Jon & Jennifer Glaudemans
Hollingsworth LLP
Mark Hopson
Peter & Susan Keisler
Toks Exum Ladejobi
Elizabeth & Henry Linsert
Liz & David Nover
David & Katherine Pastrick
Lester Poretsky Family Foundation
Cokie & Steve Roberts
Richard Rome
Matthew & Marjorie Schneider
Paul & Claudia Taskier
Emily & Brian Torruellas
Vinson & Elkins LLP
Ed & Barbara Zinbarg
Garvey Schubert Barer

 

Stop Smoking! Stay Healthy!

Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the United States and causes more deaths than HIV, alcohol, illegal drug use, car accidents, and gun related violence combined. Here at Bread for the City we take smoking cessation seriously.

Of the clients seen in Bread’s Medical Clinic in 2015, 25% were identified as smokers. The majority stop-smokingof our clients are considered light smokers (ie smoking less than 10 cigarettes or ½ pack per day), with half smoking less than 5 cigarettes per day. This is partly due to the high taxes on tobacco.

Though smoking fewer cigarettes is a change in the right direction, we know that light smokers carry several of the same health risks as heavy smokers. Research has shown that even adults that smoke 1-4 cigarettes per day are three times more likely to suffer from ischemic heart disease than nonsmokers.

After collecting this data and recognizing how much tobacco impacts our clients, we made the decision to make tobacco cessation a priority. We have invested more time and resources into enhancing our existing smoking cessation program – “Partners in Quitting”.

In February 2016, Bread for the City sent Dr. Monica and me (Health Resource Coordinator) to a certification course that focused on the most successful approach to tobacco cessation. Dr. Monica and I are now Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialists and are utilizing the skills and information we gained to improve Partners in Quitting.

Partners in Quitting is a 6-week program that integrates weekly group sessions, one on one motivational interviewing, periodic follow ups with primary care providers (PCP), phone check-ins, and a text message based program. We have found that integrating behavioral support has been a key factor in our ability to build relationships based on trust and open communication.

During one of our recent classes, a Partners in Quitting participant said, “If I didn’t feel so supported then I wouldn’t be coming every week.”

Here at Bread, we know that the more you invest in the patient, the more successful they will be.

Michael Blue, Partners in Quitting Client Champion

One of our most exciting additions to the program is having a Client Champion. Mr. Michael Blue, a long term client, board member and graduate of Partners In Quitting has graciously agreed to become our Client Champion! This role entails contact with other clients during group sessions, sharing his personal struggles and successes with quitting tobacco, and providing clients with support and encouragement. Mr. Blue completed PIQ in 2015 and we are happy to report that he has been smoke free for 8 months! Our hope is that with time, more clients will join Mr. Blue by becoming leaders in the community, healthier individuals, and tobacco cessation champions. We are grateful to Mr. Blue for helping us in this endeavor.

To help our clients successfully complete the program, we are making an effort to alleviate any potential barriers. This includes, transportation costs/access and providing nicotine replacement therapy right here in our medical clinic.

We are excited to see how these changes will help our clients be more successful and strengthen the commitment they have made to live a healthier life. In one client’s words, “If you apply yourself then it will work. You gave me the inspirational hope that I could do it and I did. If you really want to do it, it can be done.”

To Support Our Smoking Cessation Program, Click Here

Good Hope Gala, we’re coming for you!

We’re counting down the days until our Good Hope Gala–just 18 days to go! Get ready for a night of fun and dancing with 400 of your closest friends on April 30th at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

We’re coming to you today with the top 5 reasons why you can’t miss this year’s event:

5. Allergy season got you down? We’ll help you ditch the Beltway Blues with awesome vacation packages up for grabs. Participate in our live auction and bid on great vacations to Rio de Janeiro, Las Vegas, Miami, and the Outer Banks!

4. At our Good Hope Gala, we’ll dance the night away with the help of the JoGo Project! Get a preview here. Want to keep dancing? We’re raffling off tickets to Beyonce’s Formation Tour in Baltimore!chico bag

3. Limited-edition BFC apparel…YES, PLEASE! At our Good Hope Gala, you’ll be among the first to have access to brand new BFC baseball caps, BFC ChicoBags, and tees for adults and kids. Shopping spree!

2. Miss your chance to snag tickets to Adele’s tour stop in DC? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered. Bid on two floor seats during our live auction!

1. If all that’s not convincing enough, join us to help make our mission possible. Together, we’ll raise more than $500,000 to fund our poverty relief services here in the District. We can’t do that without you.

Purchase your tickets today!

 

Chairman’s Corner: Two Worlds of Housing

Welcome to Chairman’s Corner”, where our Board Chair, Paul Taskier, will write about a variety of topics that impact Bread for the City and indeed the community and nation at large. We invite you to Read, Enjoy and Share!

Economic viability in our society rests on three legs: education, employment, and housing. Of the three, having housing is arguably the most important. Without a place to live, achieving an education or retaining a job poses an almost insurmountable obstacle.

Right now there are almost 70,000 names on the waiting list for DC Housing Authority assistance (for public housing or Section 8 vouchers); people wait years before their names come up, and the list itself has been closed since April 2013. Concurrently, opportunities for housing have shrunk dramatically as the city continues to price longstanding residents out of the market.

The fact that the number of afBreadHousingAccessProgramfordable housing units has dropped by 50%–less than a quarter of which qualify as “low cost” housing–coupled with the fact that the city is seeing an unprecedented boom in luxury buildings means there really should be no surprise that our homelessness crisis is so expansive.

Indeed, in Bread for the City’s Northwest neighborhood the changes are mind-boggling as I look back on the 20+ years I have volunteered at Bread.  Kelsey Gardens, the Section 8 building once across the street is gone, replaced by a huge luxury apartment building – complete with restaurants, a pet supplies store, and a gym. The O Street market one block south is now a massive luxury apartment complex. The laundromat next door to our property, which was also an informal gathering place for folks in the neighborhood, is now a coffeehouse that is packed mostly with newly-arriving, white millennials.

All of this development, while aesthetically pleasing to some, destroys the long-standing fabric of our neighborhoods, and has driven out families — usually Black families who have lived here for generations–because they can no longer afford the places they’ve known as home.

Market rents are so high that working families at the minimum wage cannot afford a two bedroom apartment for a family of four. Even with the DC minimum wage rising in July to $11.50 an hour or the Mayor’s call for a $15.00 minimum wage by 2020, the fast-rising market rents require two-income households, and for both people to earn almost $30 per hour.find-a-new-home

So we are confronted with two worlds of housing: a world where people who can afford to do so, get to live in modern housing at market rates, and a world where people who the system has forsaken are increasingly marginalized and forced into homelessness or substandard housing.

The answer is clear: we must make systemic changes to the quality and amount of housing in DC. Over 60% of people living on extremely low incomes spend more than 50% of their income on housing. That is nearly double the 30% that the US Department of Housing and Urban Development sets as the standard measure of affordability. Obviously, that is economically unsustainable.

The lack of affordable housing in DC is a billion-dollar problem that will take us years to fix.  To make serious progress towards bottom-up economic growth and an overall reduction in poverty, the District needs to develop and preserve housing for residents living on low and moderate incomes.

Safe and secure housing is a critical piece in the success of communities, and we at Bread for the City, through our Advocacy Program, are committed to doing our part to change the dynamic and take the key steps needed to fix the problem.

Paul Taskier cropped

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support our Housing Advocacy Campaign

Ivy and Coney

We have the BEST neighbors!

Our pals on 7th Street at Ivy and Coney are hosting a crazy awesome fundraiser to benefit Bread for the City. On April 14th, Ivy and Coney invites you to put on your fancy pants and join them for all you can eat and drink from 7-11pm on IVY AND CONEY’S BRAND NEW ROOF DECK! Don’t want to dig up your prom dress? Don’t worry…a super fancy tuxedo t-shirt is included with your ticket.

And the best part is: Ivy and Coney will donate 100% of the event proceeds and 100% of all tips to Bread for the City!

It means so much to us to have good neighbors who support our mission. As Ivy and Coney’s Josh Saltzman puts it:

“For us, supporting Bread for the City means supporting the community and city that Ivy and Coney calls home. We are so impressed with all of the amazing programs the organization offers. Anything that helps spread the word about the great work BFC does, we’re 100% for.”

Aww, we <3 you, Ivy and Coney! Ivy and Coney Master Logo (1)

We can’t wait to party at Ivy and Coney on April 14th.  Join us!

Purchase Tickets!

Save the Date!

We’re so excited for Bread for the City’s Good Hope Gala!

On Saturday, April 30th, we’ll come together for an evening of fun and dancing at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. Guests will be treated to a live auction with some seriously cool items up for grabs (Adele tickets, anyone?) and lots to learn over the course of the night. Then, we’ll cap off the evening with a performance by the JoGo Project!

The food, fun, and dancing will be pretty sweet, but even more important is the fact that our gala is so critical in helping us meet the ever-growing need here in DC. With our community’s support, we’ll raise over $500,000, which will allow us to continue serving more than 34,000 low-income DC residents every year, providing food, clothing, medical care, legal and social services, in an atmosphere of dignity and respect.

Join more than 400 Bread for the City friends and partners at this awesome event by visiting www.breadforthecity.org/good-hope-gala. Reserve your ticket today!

Questions? Contact Amanda Nover at (202) 386-7611 or anover@breadforthecity.org.gala pic

 

 

 

 

 

Purchase Tickets

Bread for the City’s Asylum Clinic

For over 10 years, Bread for the City has been conducting forensic medical evaluations for individuals seeking asylum in the greater DMV area.

An asylum seeker is someone who has fled their home country with fear of persecution due to their race, political affiliation, religion, sexuality, or social group. An asylum seeker has not yet been given refugee status and is in fear that if they go back to their country their lives will be at risk.

The majority of indasylum seekersividuals that we see at Bread for the City have suffered from political persecution and/or imprisonment. These individuals flee from all over the world. Over the past year, these countries have included Ethiopia, Cameroon, Rwanda, Sudan, and Uganda.

In addition to political persecution, many women that we see have suffered from forced Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Ethiopia. FGM is recognized as a violation of human rights but continues to be widely practiced in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. This practice can not only cause severe health problems and death, but it also causes psychological trauma and increased risk of childbirth complications.

In recent months, we have also seen an increase in gang violence cases from Central America and individuals from all over the world fleeing domestic violence, human trafficking, and fear of persecution due to their LGBT status.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Randi performs most of BFC's asylum exams

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Randi performs most of BFC’s asylum exams

When a person is seeking asylum, they find a lawyer through one of the many private law firms and law schools in the area, or organizations like Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC) and the Tahirih Justice Center. Their attorney will then contact Bread for the City’s Asylum Clinic to schedule a forensic medical evaluation to document the physical harm the individual experienced.

The client is then matched with a physician that is trained to perform this type of evaluation. At Bread for the City, there are two staff physicians and a number of volunteer physicians that are aptly trained.

On average each physician conducts 1-3 forensic medical exams per month.

In the evaluation, the physician looks for scars, burns, broken bones, FGM, or any signs of physical trauma. These evaluations typically take 1-2 hours. The physician will then write a formal affidavit to be used in court that explains how these physical markings could be traced to violence and persecution. The physician also often comments briefly on the psychological trauma that the patient has endured. These affidavits are crucial to the success of an asylum seeker’s case.

Over the past 5 years, Bread for the City’s Asylum Clinic physicians have performed over 240 medical evaluations and there has been a slight increase in cases each year. In 2015, we performed 53 evaluations and we have already seen 14 so far in 2016.

For more information about Bread for the City’s Asylum Clinic, please contact asylumclinic@breadforthecity.org.

Make a donation to the Bread’s Asylum Clinic.

Guest Blog: TANF is a Lifeline for DC’s Most Vulnerable Kids

This blog is re-posted from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute: http://www.dcfpi.org/guest-blog-tanf-is-a-lifeline-for-dcs-most-vulnerable-kids. Written by Kimberly Waller, Senior Policy Attorney at Children’s Law Center.
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program ensures that children have their most basic needs met despite the economic hardships their parents face. However, under current law, DC will cut 13,000 children from all cash assistance this October, simply because their families have reached the TANF time limit.
This harsh rule ignores the reality that cutting off families before they are ready will push thousands deeper into poverty. This is why Bread for the City supports the DC Public Assistance Amendment Act of 2015, which will create exemptions and extensions for families who need more time to continue on the path to self-sufficiency. This series of guest blogs will share various perspectives on the need for a more flexible time limit. More information can be found atTANFisalifeline.org.

All too often, the policy conversation surrounding TANF – the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program that provides minimal cash assistance, job training and other services for struggling families – focuses on adults. But here in DC, there are more than 13,000 children from over 6,500 families who are poised to lose this critical safety net on October 1, 2016 due to existing time limits on the program.

Given this horizon, it’s an important time to step back and understand the population that TANF helps most in our community: kids in crisis

Today, one in four DC children live in poverty – that’s about $24,000 a year for a family of four – and in our poorest neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River, thTANF is a lifelinee figure is closer to one in two. The modest cash benefits that TANF provides – just $441 a month for the average family receiving TANF – are often the only reason a child may have food for dinner and heat in the winter.

The evidence is clear: TANF works and protects kids from the harshest effects of poverty. Conversely, the experiences of families in other jurisdictions tell us that cuts in TANF benefits have resulted in increased hunger and poor health outcomes among children. Additionally, children in families who have lost TANF support do worse in a number of developmental areas and score lower on tests of quantitative and reading skills, resulting in long-ranging effects on these children’s ability to finish school and find meaningful work as adults.

While the direct impact on a child’s future well-being can be devastating, what is equally alarming is the link shown between cuts to TANF and increased homelessness and involvement in the child abuse and neglect system. Studies in multiple states have shown that TANF cuts correspond to increased housing instability and increased contact with the child welfare system.

If we are to use other states as a guide, if the TANF cut-off takes effect without transitioning these families to jobs and other support, our child welfare system, homeless services and other human services functions must be prepared to absorb a significant increase in demand. Many of these families will face an increased risk of instability and others will immediately fall into crisis.

The bottom line: eliminating TANF payments to families is the wrong thing to do. It will hurt children and will strain our social safety net.

That is why the Children’s Law Center supports the District of Columbia Public Assistance Amendment Act of 2015. This legislation was co-introduced by six councilmembers and is strongly supported by the community. The bill:

  • Continues benefits to parents and their children, who are passed the 60-month time limit, but face a severe disability, domestic violence, homelessness or other barriers that have gotten in the way of employment;
  • Continues benefits after 60-months for families who are doing everything they can, following program requirements, but are still unable to find a job;
  • Supports our poorest children in the TANF program, even if their parents cannot otherwise qualify, because children should always have their most basic needs met no matter what.

Forty-four other states offer time limit extensions to families whose circumstances have prevented them from finding employment that would allow them to successfully transition off of aid. Without these extensions, the District lags behind its peer jurisdictions, placing children at risk of premature and crisis-inducing cut-offs.

All too often, the Children’s Law Center sees the impact that poverty can have on our most vulnerable youth. We believe it’s time that the District steps up to provide the necessary safety net to prevent children from falling into crisis.

Guest Blog: Cutting TANF Would Hurt Domestic Violence Survivors

This blog is re-posted from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute: http://www.dcfpi.org/guest-blog-cutting-tanf-would-hurt-domestic-violence-survivors. Written by Andrea Gleaves, Strategic Partnerships Associate of DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program ensures that children have their most basic needs met despite the economic hardships their parents face. However, under current law, DC will cut 13,000 children from all cash assistance this October, simply because their families have reached the TANF time limit.
This harsh rule ignores the reality that cutting off families before they are ready will push thousands deeper into poverty. This is why Bread for the City supports the DC Public Assistance Amendment Act of 2015, which will create exemptions and extensions for families who need more time to continue on the path to self-sufficiency. This series of guest blogs will share various perspectives on the need for a more flexible time limit. More information can be found at TANFisalifeline.org.

When a mother flees from domestic violence, or loses her job due to an abusive partner, her safety can depend on having access to economic resources. Domestic violence affects individuals and families in the District at every socioeconomic level, from all wards and walks of life, but low-income parents are especially vulnerable to the impact of abuse. For victims without financial resources, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other public benefits provide a financial separation from abuse—and a bridge to independence.

TANF is a lifeline

That’s why the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence is concerned about DC’s rigid TANF time limit, that will cut off victims of domestic violence and other families in dire situations starting this fall. Instead, we support TANF legislation introduced last December extend assistance to families under certain conditions, and to follow the lead of many states that never cut children off from aid. Information on the legislation, and on ways to sign on as an organization, can be found at www.TANFisalifeline.org.

More than one-fourth of DC homeless families have a history of domestic violence, a higher percentage than those with severe mental illness, chronic substance abuse, disability and chronic health problems combined. On just one day last year, 511 victims and families sought shelter and support from domestic violence shelters in the District. Due to a shortage of funds and staff, however, the programs could not meet all the needs and had to turn some away.

Programs like TANF provide a source of financial stability for many low-income survivors of domestic violence who may struggle to support their family after abuse. Domestic violence survivors who reach the time limit more frequently return to abusive partners in a time of desperate financial need. Without TANF, families impacted by domestic violence are at risk of further harm or re-victimization.

The vital role TANF plays in providing economic stability to survivors is why domestic violence advocates are working to reform TANF. Even with the best TANF services, barriers like domestic violence get in the way of finding or holding a job. Continuing to provide supportive services and financial support to vulnerable families recovering from abuse is a national best practice. We need to reform the District’s TANF program so that our families are supported as they heal from domestic violence and rebuild their lives.