Blog For The City

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.

When the waitlist for public housing was closed in April 2013, there were 72,000 names on the waiting list. After conducting an extensive outreach campaign to locate and update the information for these individuals and families, DC Housing Authority reported in May 2015 that it has been reduced to 41,000. Regardless, the list still remains closed at this time. 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.

TANF is a Lifeline: Let’s Protect DC’s Children and Help Their Parents Succeed!

This blog is re-posted from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute:  http://www.dcfpi.org/tanf-is-a-lifeline-lets-protect-dcs-children-and-help-their-parents-succeed. 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 at TANFisalifeline.org.

The District’s leaders will make critical choices this budget season over how to modify the city’s rigid Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) time limit, with tremendous consequences for the well-being of DC’s children. Under current law, the time limit will cut 13,000 children off from assistance this fall, regardless of their family’s circumstances. Yet a time limit that cuts off families who are not ready will simply push thousands of families deeper into poverty and distress, worsening DC’s homelessness crisis, reducing children’s success in school, and increasing the chance that children will end up in foster care.TANF is a lifeline

By contrast, a TANF program focused on protecting children, with a time limit that recognizes that some families need more time, can help put DC’s poorest families on a path to success. That’s why the DC Fiscal Policy Institute and a number of organizations support legislation introduced last December to 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.

DC’s TANF program ensures that our children can have their most basic needs met despite the economic hardships their parents face. Protecting families is not only the right thing to do, it also helps children go to school ready to learn and improves their chances of future success.

Yet this lifeline for DC’s children is at risk. Under current law, DC is poised to drop 6,500 families who have reached the 60-month time limit from TANF – including more than 13,000 children – this October. We know that even with the best TANF services, some families face barriers, like domestic violence or a disability, that get in the way of finding or holding a job. Equally important, DC’s economy is not working well for low-income residents. Wages have fallen for residents with less than a college degree, and unemployment remains high years after the end of the Great Recession. The income of the poorest DC families has fallen to just $9,300, a $1,500 drop over the last decade

The reality is, if families are kicked out of TANF without being ready, they will end up straining other costly programs – such as homeless services or child welfare programs.

• Half of the families trying to move out of homelessness through Rapid-Re-Housing are TANF recipients at the 60-month point.

• When TANF benefits are cut off from mothers of preschoolers, their children are three times more likely to have serious behavior problems than other young children.

• When parents are cut off of TANF without a secure job, their children are more likely to be abused or neglected and end up in foster care.

This week, the District’s Dime will share various perspectives on the need for a more flexible TANF time limit. Our blog posts will focus on TANF’s critical role in addressing a number of serious issues including family homelessness, domestic violence, and child welfare.

Navigating DC’s Department of Human Services: My Experience as a Refugee

Last Thursday, the DC Council held an oversight hearing for the Department of Human Services (DHS), which provides low-income District residents with public benefits such as TANF, SNAP, and Medicaid/Alliance health insurance.

These hearings are an opportunity for community members to raise concerns about DC agencies. Below is an excerpt of written testimony from a Bread for the City client:

My name is Zahraa Alnajjar. I am mother to two children and wife to my husband. We are a Syrian family. Our story began when the war broke out in Syria and there was no way to return to the homeland. Everything there was gone.

My family applied for asylum in January 2013, and our waiting began. We did not have authorization to work, and the little money we had ran out. There was no way to get aid. We were lucky we could take our children to doctors at Bread for the City. They helped us apply for health insurance. My husband and I enrolled in Alliance, and my children received Medicaid.

My husband and I had to interview every 6 months in the human service center (H Street) to renew our Alliance. We always waited for hours. There was nowhere to sit.

Our cases stayed unchanged for two years and a half. I told the lady at the Service Center that our asylum would be granted in a month and she said: “I can’t do anything until you have documentation. When you get it you can get food stamps, TANF, and Medicaid”.

The day came and we got a letter indicating we were all granted asylum. We were happy because we knew with asylum came rights and hopefully we could work soon. I ran directly to the human services center … I dreamed that once I give them the papers we will get help, I will kill the poverty we had been living in, and forget the suffering and cruel nights that passed us by nearly 3  years in America…

After 4 hours, a lady rudely said: “Why you are here? You already renewed your Alliance!” I told her what her colleague said last time, and she interrupted: “This center is to assist American citizens not asylees. You have to go to the refugee center.”

At the refugee center, he said very coldly: “What do you want?? You already have health insurance” He talked to the assistant director. “Go back to H Street, they will switch your health insurance to Medicaid.”

Frustrated, I met with the health insurance worker at Bread: “I am so sorry for that. Go to the human services center, and I’ll explain to them.” She called them. They did not answer. She left a message.

I went back and waited as usual for three hours. The man who told me to go to the refugee center was surprised when he saw me: “Why you are back here?” He did not listen to the message from Bread. After a long discussion with his supervisor: “The refugee center was supposed to help you, but they refuse. My manager will call them.”

I felt at that time I’m like a ball they exchange among themselves in the time-out of a boring game.

I began the application and gave them all the papers they asked for. Then I got the rejection as if nothing happened, as if we did not get asylum.

On October 30th, I received a letter again to renew our Alliance…

I had completely given up. I did not want Alliance. The medicine we need is not covered by Alliance … Every day was worse than the previous! The problems with getting insurance negatively affected our health so much!

I told Bread I gave up and then talked to a lawyer. She went with me to Human Services. I felt I had power for the first time. I felt strong. It was still a long wait but finally we spoke to someone and months later I have Medicaid.

The name of the agency is Human Services. “Human.”  I always want to find the humanity. I don’t see that there. I suffered a lot. I felt like I was still in the third world. I want to help improve that. Because I love the USA.


More potatoes to harvest, more people to help, more work to do. Why I serve.

Steven V. Roberts is a journalist, writer, political commentator, and Bread for the City board member.

Some years ago, my wife Cokie and I decided to stop giving each other Christmas presents and donate whatever we would spend on gifts to worthy local charities.

Bread for the City has always been one of our major beneficiaries, since we believed deeply in its mission of feeding the hungry, especially at holiday time. Then we attended the 40th Anniversary Gala two years ago and our commitment to the organization –and our knowledge of its wider mission—continued to deepen. Yes, we bought t-shirts (which our grandchildren wear proudly), but far more importantly, we came to understand that Bread did far more than feed people. We came to understand that the organization’s core insight made total sense, that its clients required a range of services that included medical treatment, legal advice and community advocacy—all in one accessible place.

Steve and Cokie Roberts at BFC's 40th anniversary gala

Steve and Cokie Roberts at BFC’s 40th anniversary gala

Within several months, after talks with George Jones and other Bread staff members, I agreed to join the board. I didn’t realize my education was only beginning.

At one meeting, I moderated a panel about expanding Bread’s presence in the Southeast community and learned a lot about the nature of our client base and the Washington real estate market. At another, I heard a marvelous presentation from the staff of WomenStrong-DC, an innovative program that focuses on supporting and empowering women as leaders. During the holiday season, I took my three grandsons who live here to volunteer on a Saturday morning. We thought we’d be filling grocery bags. Nope. You quickly learn that when you volunteer at Bread you do whatever needs to be done, no questions asked. That morning, a vast but very dirty load of sweet potatoes had come in from City Orchard, the BFC-run mini-farm in Beltsville that produces fresh fruit and vegetables for Bread’s feeding programs. So we spent two happy hours scrubbing those potatoes clean. Actually, one of my larger grandsons joined the team that hauled and stacked boxes. Another specialized in bagging the cleaned yams. A third got really dirty joining me on the scrub line. A great day, and at the next Board meeting I recommended the experience highly. Being part of the Bread family helps build a commitment to community service that’s far more effective than listening to a speech or a sermon.

So, now to the future. I know I have a lot more to learn and to contribute. For example, Bread knows that affordable housing is a key problem for many of our clients. Just look at the building boom surrounding our 7th Street center. Where are the people who used to live in our neighborhood going? How can they afford a new place? How can we continue to serve them when they need to take a couple of buses or metro rides to reach us?

My wife and I will be at the Good Hope Gala this year and we hope you’ll join us. The more you learn about Bread, the more you’ll be moved to support its vital mission. Every day, every dollar, every sweet potato makes a difference.

Cokie and I look forward to seeing you on April 30th.


BFC Community Advocating for ID Access!

This past Monday, Bread for the City’s Kathleen Stephan along with several others from the BFC community testified at the DC Council oversight hearing of the DC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The hearings serve as annual check-ins with DC agencies about their work, and are an opportunity for community members to raise any concerns.

At the hearing, Kathleen gave an overview of why ID access is so important and the scope of the problem:

“It is vitally important to have proper government issued identification. Not having an ID can be an impediment to employment, housing, public benefits, or to entering government buildings. This is a growing problem across the city – during the calendar year 2015, Bread for the City received over 1,000 in-person visits from DC residents with questions about how to obtain a DC ID.  DMV hearing

Several community members were on hand to share stories about the barriers they have faced at the DMV. BFC client leader, Ms. Hunt, spoke about how she has never been issued a correct birth certificate and as a result, has no way to prove her identity at the DMV. She said:

“The DMV requirement that I provide my birth certificate has kept me from getting an ID and blocked my job search. I want the DMV to create an exemption process for people in similar situations. I also want the DMV and Vital Records to work together in order to better assist applicants in obtaining their required documents.”

During the hearing, Bread for the City made the following asks of the DMV:

● The DMV should expand their lists of accepted documentation based on best practice in other REAL ID compliant jurisdictions. Many other states accept additional types of documentation and DC should follow their lead.
●The DMV should also create exemption processes for situations where individuals are unable to reasonably obtain the required proofs.
● The DMV should expand their current memorandum of understandings (MOU). As an example, the DMV currently has a MOU with the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA) that aims to easily provide IDs to returning citizens. However, it does not cover residents in halfway houses such as HOPE Village, many of whom are trying to seek employment and cannot do so without an ID.
● Lastly, the DMV should create a means-based fee waiver for non-driver’s ID and licenses. This would ease the financial burden on applicants, who could easily prove eligibility by showing proof of income or enrollment in other means-tested programs (such as SNAP, Medicaid or SSI).

Are you interested in helping these advocacy efforts? Please consider contacting your Council Member and reiterating the above asks!

Chairwoman Mary Cheh asked DMV Director Lucinda Babers to form a task-force to address ID issues. We’ve followed up with Director Babers to set up an initial meeting for March 2016 – keep an eye on our blog for updates on the date/time/location.DMV hearing

During the hearing, there was expression of fear that expanding the list of accepted proofs of residency will result in residency fraud. However, this argument rings hollow as a government issued photo ID is NOT required in order to establish residency for public assistance programs. The continued sharing of narratives from impacted individuals is integral to undoing the troubling stereotype that people living in poverty are trying to misuse resources.

We know that the DC DMV has an important mandate and we’re excited for this opportunity to work together towards more inclusive policies. We hope that more members of the community, like those who testified on Monday, will continue to come forward with their stories about the barriers they faced while trying to obtain identifying documents.

*To read more about the ID advocacy work that Bread for the City has been doing, check out our four part blog series from earlier this year.*