Laura Newland, director, DC Office of Aging and Community Living
Laura Newland, director, DC Office of Aging and Community Living

It’s June! While it’s not how any of us expected to start the summer, staying home, practicing good hygiene, and maintaining a safe social distance has helped keep us safe. Together, we’ve flattened the curve.

Last month, Mayor Muriel Bowser presented her Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) Budget and Financial Plan to the Council. While the financial impact of COVID-19 requires us all to make sacrifices, the Mayor remains steadfast in the District’s commitment to maintaining the critical services our residents expect and protecting our most vulnerable neighbors.

In the FY21 budget proposal, the Mayor is finding ways to save resources so that we don’t lose ground on our shared progress in the District. As the Mayor says, we are all in this together, and we will get through this together. The Mayor’s FY21 budget is driven by DC HOPE — Health, Opportunity, Prosperity, and Equity — and is a testament to the Mayor’s commitment to DC Values, even in times of unprecedented crisis.

For DACL, this means continued investments in our vital programs and services, such as nutrition, health and wellness, and in-home support. COVID-19 required all of us to adapt quickly, and DACL launched new programs and activities to provide additional support to our community:
Home-delivered meals. We increased our meal delivery by almost 200%, delivering meals to more than 6,400 District seniors — and that number increases every week. Since the start of the public health emergency, DACL has delivered more than 300,000 meals to seniors!
Launch of DACL’s “call and talk” line. DACL provides a friendly voice and conversation to those in need of a connection.
Regular confidential wellness and reassurance calls. Participants in DACL-funded programs and services are receiving regular check-in calls from our service providers.
Mailings to seniors. We’re planning two big mailings this fiscal year to seniors to make them aware of DACL and city services with support from the Mayor’s Office. We want to make sure we’re reaching out to those who might not be connected to us yet.
Technology for seniors. In partnership with OCTO and DHCF, we’ll be launching a technology connection program for qualifying seniors to connect with telehealth and online social and wellness programs.

In addition to our initial COVID-19 response, the Mayor’s ongoing commitment to seniors remains strong and includes significant investments in critical programs that allow people to stay in their homes longer, including:
$5M investment in Safe at Home
$1.9M to provide transportation for essential medical trips, such as dialysis and cancer treatments

The Mayor also affirmed her capital investments:

$11.4M to open a new senior wellness site in Ward 8 by 2022
$35.5M to renovate the Therapeutic Recreation Center, which will have supportive
programs for caregivers
$1.5M to complete expansion of Ward 5 & 8 Senior Wellness Centers

On Monday, June 15, I’ll be testifying at our annual Budget Oversight Hearing before the Committee on Housing & Neighborhood Revitalization, which will be held virtually this year. To learn more or to submit your testimony, please see the Budget Oversight ad to the right. I’m proud to talk about the Mayor’s continued commitment to our community, and I can’t wait to hear from you!

Stay safe!

Your Testimony is Encouraged

On Monday, June 15, Director Newland will represent DACL at our annual Budget Oversight Hearing. Due to the public health emergency, all public hearings will be held via virtual meeting platforms. Written or transcribed testimony from the public is highly recommended and will be taken by either voicemail or email. We encourage you to join us and share your thoughts on DACL’s programs and our proposed FY2021 Budget.

To submit written testimony, please email or mail to
The Office of At-Large Councilmember
Bonds, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW,
Suite 404, Washington, DC 20004.

To submit testimony via voicemail, please call (202) 350-0894. All testimony received will be made a part of the official record.

To testify live, the Committee on Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization will provide slots for witnesses to testify on a first-come, first-served basis. If you would like to sign up to testify live, send an email to and you will be emailed a link to access the virtual hearing.

Please include your name, address, phone number, organizational affiliation, and title (if any), your preferred email address, and the name of the agency or program that you are testifying about.

If you would like to testify by phone, please call 202-724-8064 and leave your name and phone number. The committee will call you before the hearing to make sure that you are connected.

The Committee will contact all witnesses by phone or email on the day before the hearing to confirm that they have received a slot. Please sign up to testify no later than the close of business two days prior to your hearing date. Witnesses will be limited to three (3) minutes.

The committee encourages only one witness per organization. For more information, please contact the Committee on Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization at or 202-724-8064.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.