The Mayor refusing to increase the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as required by law, which she signed, is the latest in a series of decisions that harm low-income Washingtonians. About 140,000 residents who depend on SNAP to put food on the table —neighbors making tough choices about who in the house will or will not get to eat — were expecting an increase in their SNAP funds in January 2024 because of higher-than-expected DC revenues. They won’t get that money because the Mayor is refusing to follow the law.
This is part of a troubling pattern where the administration deprioritizes low-income Washingtonians. Last month, the Mayor tried to take $20 million budged for emergency rental assistance (ERAP), even as the ERAP program is already stretched too thin. The Council stepped in to stop her. And, earlier in the fall, people with more modest incomes were suddenly barred from the Home Purchase Public Assistance Program (HPAP) to cover a gap in funding.
Each of these actions are a policy choice by the administration to cover funding gaps they’ve known about for months by taking money from programs for lower-income and working-class residents. These aren’t issues of not having enough money. These are poor financial decisions. As chair of the Housing Committee with oversight of SNAP, ERAP, and HPAP, I will continue fighting for these important safety net programs. Social services are not just nice-to-have for residents, they are a crucial part of keeping families stable and secure and they help prevent future costs for social services and crime that start with bad policy decisions like these.