Create the Office of Migrant Services without harming unhoused residents!
On Tuesday, September 20, 2022, the DC Council passed the emergency legislation without making the changes that we advocated for. Councilmember Pinto tried to amend the bill to remove many of the harmful provisions and to add in legal and safety protections for migrants. Councilmembers Silverman, Lewis George and Gray voted for her amendment, but it failed 9-4. There is still a chance to undo the damage, though, in the temporary and permanent legislation. Councilmember Nadeau has set a hearing for October 20 on the bill, and has pledged to continue to work on changes, despite her strong opposition to Pinto's amendment. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to stay involved in this campaign, and keep a lookout for the hearing at https://www.brianneknadeau.com/testify.
Mayor Bowser is asking the DC Council to pass emergency legislation that will create an Office of Migrant Services, which we strongly support.
But the legislation also makes it harder for many DC residents to access shelter and other homeless services, right on the eve of hypothermia season, and may stop immigrants, even those who have lived in DC for a longtime, from seeking help when they have a housing crisis.
We believe that immigrants of all countries of origins, languages, and incomes should be welcomed and supported as new residents. We also believe that any person in DC who needs lifesaving emergency shelter, particularly when it is freezing outside, should have access to that service.
It is irresponsible to consider major changes to eligibility for homeless services in emergency legislation with no opportunity to fully consider the impact, when getting it wrong could lead to hypothermia or even death.
Please take action to make sure that DC starts up an Office of Migrant Services without harming unhoused persons.