Budget and Homeless Shelter Plan Pass Quickly, Unanimously, and Without Controversy

Sometimes you can judge a meeting, like a hearing on a hot topic with dozens of witnesses, by its length.

Today, importance and duration were inversely related. Votes on matters of great import, on topics long discussed prior to today, were quickly dispatched by a unanimous Council.

The budget for the coming fiscal year was approved with a few technical changes, and one substantive, amendment. With the support of the chairs of the relevant committees, $1 million was shifted from a Department of Public Works heavy equipment line item to instead fund planning for cafeteria and gym improvements at Shepherd Elementary School.

Importantly, the Council persisted in its approach to approving the budget under the terms of the budget autonomy initiative which is currently the law of the land.

In regards to the homeless shelter plan, the core of the plan remained the same as it had been since its introduction: DC General will be closed as soon as possible, with smaller family shelters opening citywide. As a result of Council action, all shelters will be located on sites that are currently, or prospectively will be, owned by the District Government. A new shelter in Ward 1 will replace an outgoing facility on Spring Road, a just-constructed women’s shelter will be Ward 2’s component of the plan, and Wards 3 through 8 will see new facilities envisioned directly as DC General replacement shelters. 

While some amendments were made to the homeless shelter plan as approved at the prior Legislative Meeting, none met with controversy and all were approved by voice vote.  Adjustments were made to the maximum capacity of certain shelters, the location of the Ward 6 shelter was shifted, and the two potential Ward 5 shelter sites were narrowed to one.

In the end, all sites in the bill passed today are supported by their respective Ward councilmembers.

For a full listing of all votes taken at the meeting, please click here.