Happy Tuesday, Ward 1! I’m sharing new updates on vaccines, public safety, oversight hearings, and more.
We’re getting a lot of calls and emails with questions about vaccines. Let’s start with an updated list of the groups that DC is currently vaccinating:
To review the full list of the vaccine program phases and tiers use this link.
DC Health has also been working in partnership with the DC Housing Authority (DCHA) to vaccinate residents onsite at DCHA properties. This has helped us reach residents that may not have been able to register through the current system.
Last week, DC Health announced that DC residents (ages 16-65) with a qualifying medical condition will be eligible to register for a vaccine appointment beginning on March 1. If you are eligible, you will be able to register either through your health provider, the online portal, or the call center. One benefit of registering with your own healthcare provider is that they are already aware of your qualifying medical condition. Some providers may even reach out directly to patients. If you register through the online portal or call center, you will self-affirm that you have one of the qualifying medical conditions.
The link for the online portal is: vaccinate.dc.gov
The number for the call center is: 855-363-0333
The appointments will be released on an alternating schedule each week. The release times will be at either 9:00am or 6:00pm. Last week they were released at 6:00pm, so this week they will be released at 9:00am. This will help people with different work schedules have the opportunity to register.
My team and I continue to help seniors register for vaccine appointments each week. If you or someone you know needs help registering, please call us at (202) 724-8181 or email Allie Bobak at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The registration process may change soon. DC Health is planning on rolling out a registration system where residents will be able to pre-register and get a notification once eligible for an appointment. We were told the new system would be in place around early March, so we’ll be sure to let residents know once DC Health makes that switch. However, I also encourage you to sign up for email or text alerts from DC Health to make sure you don’t miss any time-sensitive or important announcements.
If you want to keep track of where the District is with vaccine doses administered, DC Health has created an interactive vaccine dashboard that you can take a look at.
Last week, the Department of Employment Service (DOES) was running an update to their system and there was a technical glitch that caused thousands of residents to not receive their unemployment insurance payment. DOES has been working with the vendor managing their system to try to resolve the issue and get payments out to residents. Those impacted should be receiving their missed payment and the current week’s payment by either today or tomorrow.
I know this must be incredibly frustrating and stressful for many of you. My team is here to help, please reach out to us if you need assistance. Also, if you want to share your story or experience with unemployment insurance, the agency’s performance oversight hearing is coming up on Wednesday, March 3 at 10:00am. You can email email@example.com to sign up to testify or submit testimony for the official record.
Gun Violence Prevention
Following the Council’s efforts to create and fund the District’s first Gun Violence Prevention Director, Mayor Bowser has appointed Linda Harlee Harper to fill the position. The new cabinet-level position will allow the District to carry out gun violence prevention work across all government agencies, rather than just the agencies in the public safety cluster.
I want to thank the members of the DC Chapter of Moms Demand Action who advocated for the Council to create position. I also want to thank Councilmember Charles Allen, Chair of the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety, for his leadership on getting the legislation introduced and passed.
On February 17, Mayor Bowser announced a new comprehensive gun violence prevention program called Building Blocks DC. With the launch of the program, the District is recognizing gun violence as a public health crisis, establishing a gun violence prevention emergency operations center, and creating a process for agencies to respond to epicenters of violence.
The District is committing $15 million to launch this program, which will focus on engaging the people most at-risk of becoming a victim or perpetrator of gun violence and the places where gun violence is taking place. To determine the places to begin, the city analyzed the 2020 gun-related crime reports to identify 151 city blocks where 41% of offenses have taken place. The Council has asked for the list of 151 blocks, and we hope to be able to share more information on this program in the near future.
As you may know, I’ve been pushing for the District to take a comprehensive public health approach to gun violence for years now. I’ve worked to direct our investments into people and community resources each budget cycle and introduced legislation to get guns off our streets, so I look forward to working together with the Mayor, agency officials, and my council colleagues to reduce gun violence in Ward 1.
Health Equity and Access
For the past several years, I’ve been working to reform and fund DC Healthcare Alliance, a medical assistance program that provides access to health care for our undocumented residents. In a previous newsletter, I mentioned my work on this issue. Recently, La Clínica del Pueblo invited me to join them for a discussion on Immigrant Health: Local Responses During and Post COVID. You watch the full discussion here.
La Clínica was also recently featured on Telemundo as they work to vaccinate the Latino community in DC!
Oversight hearings are in full swing! Check out the Council’s calendar to see the dates and times for hearings.
If you’re interested in the agencies under the Committee on Human Services, I’ll be chairing several hearings. To sign up to testify, click here.
We’ve already heard from public and government witnesses for the Department on Disability Services (DDS) and Office of Disability Rights (ODR). If you missed it, you can still watch a recording of the hearing here.
As we talked with ODR Director McCollugh about how we can improve accessibility for virtual meetings, we noticed that there were over 100 people on the zoom webinar alone (not including multiple live streams) - more people than can sit in the hearing room we would typically use. Thank you to everyone who joined us!
Roundtable on Rental Assistance and Eviction Prevention
Yesterday, I convened a roundtable on the topic of: Rental Assistance and Eviction Prevention. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the District along with the rest of the country has experienced substantial job loss, putting thousands of individuals and families at risk of eviction and homelessness.
The District has utilized a number of strategies including implementing eviction moratoria; increasing funding and revising regulations for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP); and establishing new programs like the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP), Housing Stabilization Grants, and the Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program (TBRA).
In January, Mayor Bowser established the “Saving DC’s Rental Housing Market Strike Force,” an advisory group tasked with examining the District’s preparedness to anticipate changes to the District’s rental housing market. The many topics that the Strike Force will be investigating and providing recommendations to the Mayor about include rental assistance programs and immediate eviction issues.
The purpose of yesterday’s roundtable was to allow for public witnesses to testify about the programs currently in place and provide a diversity of perspectives for the Strike Force. Thank you to all who testified! Recordings of the roundtable can be found here: (Part 1) (Part 2)
My School DC
Parents, the PK3-8 lottery application deadline is next Monday, March 1. You can apply here. If you have questions, you can call (202) 888-6336 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Jayson and I just filled out the PK4 application for Zoe and all I can say is, hang in there.
Transportation Safety Meeting
DDOT is hosting a second public workshop on transportation safety on March 9. RSVP here.
Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment
Applications for the Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment close on February 27. For more information, visit summerjobs.dc.gov
Leaf Collection & Holiday Trees
The Department of Public Works (DPW) has extended it’s 2020-2021 vacuum leaf and holiday tree collections through February 27. For more information, click here.