December 3, 2021 | Update

Ward 1 Update: Vaccine News, Violence Prevention, & Encampment Legislation

Hi neighbors, 

Before we jump into updates, I want to invite you to my December ‘Brianne on Your Block’ next Wednesday, the 8th from 6:30PM – 8:30PM at Purple Patch, 3155 Mount Pleasant St NW! I’ll be there with our Constituent Services team, Oscar and Allie, to hear directly from you, provide updates on projects, or just chat. 



If you can’t make it on the 8th, you can email or call us for assistance.Our constituent services team has closed out nearly 2,000 cases since January. Reach out if you need us!  

I'll also be on The Politics Hour today at 12:30pm if you want to listen along! To call in during the live show, dial (800) 433-8850. 




Mask Mandate 
On November 22, the District’s indoor mask mandate was lifted. Immediately after, I joined several of my Council colleagues to call on Mayor Bowser to reconsider the decision to end the District’s mask mandate. We were seeing cases in Maryland and Virginia, where masks are not required at the state level, going back up. Yesterday, Mayor Bowser issued an indoor mask advisory. Now, masks are highly recommended indoors and still required, regardless of vaccination status, in the following circumstances: 

  • Any private business that wants a mask requirement; 
  • On public transport like buses and trains, inside train stations, in airports, and while in ride share vehicles; 
  • Inside schools, childcare facilities, and libraries; 
  • Congregate facilities, such as nursing homes/assisted living facilities, shelters, dorms/residences, and correctional facilities; and 
  • In DC Government facilities where there is direct interaction between employees and the public
Making decisions about public health in the middle of a pandemic is not easy, but the best evidence we have shows that now is not the time to be abandoning this critical protection. I will be monitoring this issue carefully going forward and highly encourage neighbors to continue wearing masks indoors. 

Being fully vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and loved ones from COVID-19. You can find vaccination locations here.

  • Booster shots are available for residents 18+ who received a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine on or before May 29, 2021.
  • Children 5-11 are now eligible to get vaccinated. Children receive a smaller dose of the Pfizer vaccine than adolescents and adults, approximately one-third the dose that people 12 and older get.
  • Starting December 6, families will be able to book at-home vaccination appointments for children 5-11. You can call 1-856-363-0333. 
  • Adults accompanying children at pediatric vaccination clinics can also receive their COVID-19 vaccine, including boosters.



Violence Prevention Expansion  
Earlier this week, the Office of the Attorney General announced four new Cure the Street program sites. One of the coverage sites will service part of Columbia Heights in Ward 1. This past budget cycle, I fully supported and voted in favor of funding the expansion of the Cure the Streets program, and I’m grateful that the Office of the Attorney General is directing additional, targeted resources to our ward.

Cure the Streets is a community-driven and evidence-based model that seeks to reduce violence. It includes hiring violence interrupters who engage with the community to learn about conflicts and resolve them before they result in violence. They provide outreach workers to identify those at high risk for involvement with violence and connect those participants with needed services (housing, counseling, employment assistance) and develop action plans for a positive future. The program also mobilizes the community through programs to engage with residents, community leaders, local businesses, faith leaders, service providers, and high-risk individuals to build coalitions and develop strategies to reduce violence. More here



I wanted to provide another update on what’s been going on with encampments since my last newsletter. I expressed my concerns around the new CARE pilot program then, and I’m still fighting to change how the program is being executed.

On November 26, joined by Councilmembers Robert White and Elissa Silverman, I called on Mayor Bowser to pause encampment clearings until the end of hypothermia season, while continuing to offer housing and support to unhoused residents. While we do believe the program is well-intentioned, we continue to have significant concerns about its execution. The letter followed prior requests to the Deputy Mayor and a public roundtable where we heard a resounding rejection of the approach the pilot program is taking. Encampment residents, organizers, and service providers made clear the difficulties residents are facing to obtain housing.

The letter went unanswered, so yesterday, I introduced emergency legislation to pause the clearings of encampments until at least the end of hypothermia season - separating the housing and support services element of the program from the clearings and evictions element. Many people will accept housing, but it doesn’t work when we force them to do it on an arbitrary timeline. 


[Photo Credit: Héctor Alejandro Arzate / DCist/WAMU] 

I visited the New Jersey & O St encampment site yesterday as it was being cleared. There were a number of case workers, advocates and community members helping several residents who had not been housed pack up their belongings. There was confusion among encampment residents - some did not know if they were receiving a housing resource, hotel, or if they need to pack up and find a new location to sleep. Some were feeling uncertain about their future, not knowing exactly how long the resources offered, if any, would last.

There was one resident there who was eligible for housing but had not been able to get an ID in order to finish the process to secure housing. Many times it is not a matter of whether encampment residents will accept housing, it is that they have been experiencing homelessness and there are real challenges that can’t be resolved before 10:30AM on a date that someone else chose. We need to house our neighbors in a way that builds trust and honors their autonomy. The emergency legislation will be voted on at the next legislative meeting on Tuesday, December 7th.

Friendly reminder: please take a moment to save the number for the shelter hotline. If you see someone in need of shelter, you can call 202-399-7093 or 311. 

Traffic Safety 
Last month, 24-year-old Nina Larson was struck and killed by a car in Adams Morgan. I attended the vigil for Nina and offered my deepest condolences to her family and friends. I recognize that there are no words that can do justice to how tragic it is to lose a young person so senselessly, but there are actions that government leaders can take to ensure that her death was not in vain.

I’ve tried to lead on pedestrian safety issues on the Council because I know that our residents want action, not words. I immediately called for flexipost daylighting of all the crosswalks on Columbia Road, and for a speed camera to be installed on the 1800 block. I also provided neighbors an update on some of my plans on how to improve traffic safety in Ward 1 and the District. You can read more about those plans on my website.

I received a letter from DDOT about the anticipated planning process for Columbia Road, but I’m still waiting for an update on the improvements I called for. Yesterday, my team was out identifying and filing 311 requests for additional improvements, including tree pruning, additional signage, and lighting. Parking enforcement has been out on Columbia Road over the past couple weeks issuing tickets for unsafe/illegal parking and educating drivers. However, it's clear that ticketing alone won't solve the issue, especially for delivery drivers with a lack of clear loading zones. I'm looking forward to working with the ANC and community partners to make the critical improvements we know are needed.




ANC Vacancies  
There are currently a few vacancies in Ward 1 Advisory Neighborhood Commissions – 1A03, 1B10, and 1C05. Visit the Board of Elections website to learn more

DC Health Link Open Enrollment  
Open Enrollment is here. The American Rescue Plan lowers monthly premiums for qualified residents for the entire 2022 plan year. Check out new plans and enroll before the January 31 deadline. Visit DC Health Link’s site for more information.  

Leaf Collection 
Leaf collection will continue through January. Make sure you have the correct dates on your calendar. Check out the picture below for the dates that you need to rake leaves out by and the collections dates.  
Tuition-Free Classes for Adults 
The Carlos Rosario School is accepting new applicants for the Spring semester. The first day of Spring 2022 classes will be on January 25th. Start the application process by adding your name to the Interest List by December 13th. To add your name to the list or get information on class offerings, click here




Park View Holiday Market at Hook Hall: Dec 4, 11, and 18; 10AM - 2PM
The Park View Holiday Market is back! The market will feature small and local artisans, makers and food vendors.


DC Holiday Lights: November 26 – January 6 
DC’s Main Streets and commercial corridors have joined together to bring residents holiday cheer! Through January 6, you can visit the participating corridors and then cast your vote for the best decorated corridor. See participating locations here

Congresswoman Norton & National Park Service Meeting: December 9, 7:00PM 
Congresswoman Norton’s district office is hosting a joint community meeting with the National Park Service. Email NortonEvents@mail.house.gov to RSVP for the event and receive the Zoom link.

Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccination Virtual Town Hall: December 13, 7:30PM - 8:30PM 
The District of Columbia Hospital Association, in conjunction with Children’s National Hospital, Howard University Hospital, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and Mary’s Center, will be hosting a Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccination Virtual Town Hall. The town hall will provide parents the opportunity to ask questions and get additional information about the COVID-19 vaccine for children. Click here to register.