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FY21 Oversight Testimony: DHS

March 1, 2021

Countless Children’s Law Center clients depend on the Department of Human Services (DHS) for basic needs like housing and the administration of public benefits. Every day, we receive referrals to help families who experience housing insecurity and rely on DHS to provide them with services through the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center, permanent housing vouchers like PSH and TAH, and the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). We also are referred many families whose children are experiencing the harming effects of unsafe and unhealthy housing, which is particularly concerning during the pandemic.

Children’s Law Center Senior Supervising Attorney Kathy Zeisel testified at DHS’s oversight hearing that while we commend the agency for making important changes amidst the pandemic that allow DC families to more easily access public benefits online, we are very concerned that once the District’s eviction moratorium ends post-public health emergency, even more children and families will be at risk of homelessness. DHS’s own statistics show an alarming rise in families funneled into Rapid Rehousing units, while the majority of permanent housing vouchers were unused last year. We strongly urge the DC Council to consider this data and work with advocates to find ways to better serve some of DC’s most vulnerable families.

Read our testimony here: