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Hello, Neighbors.

I hope this message finds you as well as can be expected as we settle into the winter months and face
challenging public health metrics related to COVID-19 (coronavirus). As you probably know, Mayor Bowser has issued an order extending the public health emergency through March 31, 2021, as well as closing indoor dining through January 15, 2021. In addition, some of the limited in-person DC Public Schools classrooms that recently opened have been closed through January 4, 2021, due to reported positive cases. These are challenging times. Please reach out if you need assistance connecting with government resources, and please check on your family, friends, and neighbors.

With regard to official Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B business, the Commission is on recess this month. When we meet again in January (Monday, January 25th at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom) we will welcome two new Commissioners in Single Member Districts 4B03 and 4B05, as well as elect Officers to the Commission for 2021. I'd like to thank Scot Knickerbocker (outgoing Commissioner for Single Member District 4B03) and Perry Redd (outgoing Commissioner for Single Member District 4B05) for their work on behalf of and dedication to the community.


You will find below in this month's Takoma Neighborhood News information on Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B's newly launched Housing Justice Committee; an overview of the Commission's work over the year, as well as my efforts via Resolutions; updates and resources related to the public health emergency; and a legislative update. If you are looking for more information on individuals and organizations to support via volunteer time or donations, please read my update here. 

All the best,

Erin


Housing Justice Committee Update

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B has officially launched our new Housing Justice Committee! The Committee met for the first time on December 12th.

The Commission approved the formation of the Committee in February 2020. The newly formed Committee will (1) review proposed developments within the Commission area to consider leverage points to maximize affordable housing; (2) review proposed legislation and agency action related to homelessness and affordable housing, and advocate for mechanisms to increase and expand deeply affordable housing; and (3) host educational events and town halls within the Commission regarding topics related to affordable housing. 

We have a really wonderful group of Committee members, who I am confident will provide the Commission invaluable expertise and insight as we continue to work to end homelessness and support deeply affordable housing. You can read more about the members below, additional details regarding the Committee's goals
here, and you can view a recording of the Committee's first meeting here. I am so very excited for the work of this Committee!
It's also extremely exciting that other Advisory Neighborhood Commissions in Ward 4 are pursuing significant and creative efforts related to affordable housing. In Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4C, the Commission approved Recommendations on Development, Affordable Housing, and Community Benefits, which call for affordable housing or affordable housing contributions to Ward 4 housing non-profits for all new housing projects reviewed by the Commission, and recently held a very informative community conversation on affordable housing in Ward 4. A recording is available here.

And in Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3/4G, a sub group of their Task Force on Racism specifically focused on housing released a report detailing a history of exclusion of Black people from participating in the growth and development of the community, as well as proposals to rectify past inequities. You can read the report
here. There is so much good work across the Ward, and Commissioners are collaborating across Commissions in unprecedented ways.


ANC 4B Annual Report

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B approved its 2020 Annual Report at our November meeting. The Report is dense, but it provides a useful overview of the Commission's work over the last year. Specifically, the Report highlights key issues before the Commission and Commission action in response to those issues, including the COVID-19 (coronavirus) public health emergency; housing justice; vision zero and transportation; public safety and accountability; civic engagement; and education, recreation, and community spaces. The Report also highlights the Commission's operational and financial reporting improvements.

To my knowledge, the Commission did not previously produce an Annual Report (required by statute). The Commission is proud to have begun the practice in 2019 and continued it this year. I hope you will read the report.
And if you will indulge me for a moment, I wanted to highlight some of the 18 Resolutions I worked on that the Commission passed in 2020, including the following:
  • providing extensive feedback on the District’s Comprehensive Plan;
  • supporting and providing recommendations regarding legislation prohibiting discrimination against individuals experiencing homelessness and individuals relying on subsidized housing vouchers;
  • calling for additional funding to end chronic homelessness;
  • calling for funding, preservation, and expansion of public housing;
  • calling for expansion and improvement of rent control;
  • supporting full vote-by-mail elections;
  • supporting universal municipal Internet;
  • calling for improvements to how the DC Council and other government agencies conduct public hearings to facilitate public participation; 
  • calling for divestment of local police funding and reinvestment in community-based supports and services
  • opposing cuts to Metrobus service and fare increases; and
  • several Resolutions addressing traffic calming and infrastructure issues.
You can review all of the Commission's approved Resolutions here. The Commission has turned a corner in terms of its civility and capacity for collaboration, and we've accomplished a lot for an advisory body without much by way of resources or support.


Neighborhood Updates & Resources

*Mayor Bowser's December 18th Order: In the face of worsening public health metrics related to COVID-19 (coronavirus), Mayor Bowser has issued an order extending the public health emergency through March 31, 2021, as well as closing indoor dining through January 15, 2021, among other limitations. The DC Council's legislation authorizing Mayor Bowser to extend the public health emergency includes an extension of the moratorium on evictions and the moratorium on disconnection of utility services until March 31, 2021. Council Chair Phil Mendelson originally sought to end the moratorium on disconnection of utility services in January. More here.

*COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Testing: DC residents 3 years of age and older can get a free test. There is no need to provide a doctor's note or make an appointment for any of the District’s walk-up testing sites, but individuals who have health insurance will be asked to provide their insurance information when registering for a test at a public site. (No one will be turned away or charged.) To save time in line, register in advance and create a profile from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. You can find a searchable map of testing locations here. The Takoma Aquatic Center sometimes serves as a testing site.
*COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Vaccine Approval & Distribution: The Food and Drug Administration recently authorized the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 (coronavirus). Both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have concluded that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective for use in people 16 and older. Under the current distribution formula, which is based on residency, DC has received 6,825 doses of the vaccine. Maryland and Virginia are sending 8,000 additional doses to DC. Six sites in DC will receive the District’s initial allotment of 6,825 doses. These six sites will partner with other hospitals and health care providers across the city to begin vaccinations for frontline health care workers and first responders. Check here for updates.

*Food Resources. Community organizations throughout the District are distributing fresh and non-perishable groceries to District residents. Residents are encouraged to bring a cart and/or tote bag to transport groceries home. There are several sites in Ward 4, including
Emory Beacon of Light, 6100 Georgia Avenue, NW, (Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.). Please wear a mask, and please call ahead to confirm hours of operation. More here.

In addition,
Ward 4 Mutual Aid offers free, customized packages (including food) to individuals in need. Their partnerships with DC Central Kitchen, the Central Area Food Bank, and Bread for the City allow them to provide fresh produce and shelf stable food to hundreds of families every month. Ward 4 neighbors can call or text the hotline at (202) 681-3098 to request items. And Feed the Fridge - a project among restaurants and government entities that has been installing community refrigerators stocked with healthy, restaurant-quality meals in public spaces - is located at the Takoma Aquatic Center, 300 Van Buren Street, NW (among other locations across DC). Meals are available for anyone from Monday through Friday while supplies last. 
*Metrobus Fares Resume January 3rd: Metrobus will resume fare collection and front-door boarding beginning Sunday, January 3, 2021, as part of Metro's pandemic recovery plan that aims to preserve service and transit jobs. The cost per trip is $2 payable in cash or with SmarTrip. For a faster, contactless way to pay, customers can add SmarTrip passes to their Apple Wallet and then pay using iPhone or Apple Watch. Simply hold the mobile device over the SmarTrip target, just as you would a SmarTrip card. To get started, download the SmarTrip app from the App Store. More here.


Legislative Update

The DC Council held its last legislative session of the year, passing several important pieces of legislation. Notably, the Council approved the Second Look Amendment Act on final reading. The legislation allows individuals who have been sentenced for DC Code offenses while under age 25 and who have served 15 years in prison to petition the DC Superior Court to have their sentences reviewed. Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B unanimously supported the legislation in a September 2019 Resolution. You can read more about the legislation here.

The Council also approved legislation allowing the Office of the Attorney General to bring civil lawsuits against people who commit hate crimes; a watered down version of legislation requiring DC employers to send job offers to employees who were laid off during the public health emergency if their jobs become available; prohibiting DC agencies from cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and creating an independent legislative agency tasked with improving outcomes for children involved in the child welfare system by holding all agencies that impact these children accountable for fulfilling their responsibilities under the law. More here and here.


SMD 4B02 Remote Office Hours

Let's chat about the neighborhood by phone, email, or video! During this time, I am canceling my in-person office hours. Please feel free to call me to talk about neighborhood issues during my office hours on the third Thursday of every month from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. or any other time. I can be reached at at (202) 821-6333 and by email at 4B02@anc.dc.gov.
Phone: (202) 821-6333 | Email: 4B02@anc.dc.gov | Website: erinforanc.com | Social Media: @Erinfor4B02

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