(Washington, DC) Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the District’s Chief Equity Officer Dr. Amber Hewitt released the Office of Racial Equity (ORE) Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Process Summary, which detailed unprecedented investments that support advancing racial equity in Washington, DC. ORE staff played an active role in the FY 2023 budget review process by working closely with the Office of Budget and Performance Management (OBPM) to review agencies’ budgets to consider impacts specifically on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, and to identify programs and services that have the greatest capacity to move the needle on closing racial equity gaps. Additionally, ORE staff created a Racial Equity Budget Tool (REBT) for District agencies to identify and develop budget proposals that advance racial equity and answer questions that assess how their budgets might benefit or negatively impact communities based on race.
“We have said before that this budget is the most equitable budget put forth under Home Rule – it invests $19.5 billion into helping more Washingtonians build a future in a safer, stronger DC,” said Mayor Bowser. “We know that the disparities that exist in DC and across the nation were intentionally created by years of discriminatory policies like redlining and segregation. My Administration is tackling institutional racism by breaking down barriers and rebuilding the city’s infrastructure to create a more equitable city. Our historic budget focuses on just that and helps us continue to build on the progress that will be felt for generations to come.”
Below are examples of some of the investments in the Mayor’s FY 2023 budget that are highlighted as having the potential to advance racial equity.
Planning and Economic Development
- Historic $500 million investment in the Housing Production Trust Fund to support the creation, acquisition, and maintenance of affordable housing in the District and $9.7 million to ensure that the Local Rent Supplement Program availability matches with estimated demand.
- $10 million invested in the new Black Homeownership Fund to increase access to homeownership for longtime District residents.
- $1 million to assist multi-generational families in maintaining their family property after the death of the original homeowner.
- $775,000 to continue support for the Aspire to Entrepreneurship program, equitable access to the legal cannabis market in the District with a focus on returning citizens and veterans, and Ward 7 and 8 Dream Grants, which enhance the ability of microbusinesses in areas of the District with the lowest density of overall local businesses to stabilize and grow.
Education and Out-of-School Time
- 5.87% base increase in the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula.
- $20 million to raise wages for Department of Employment Services job training and Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment Program participants.
- $13 million to increase slots for Department of Parks and Recreation summer camps, Tiny Tots Tennis, Senior Olympics, Learn to Swim, and other recreational programming.
- $156,000 to support increased digital skill building support at libraries in Wards 5, 7, and 8.
Operations and Infrastructure
- $2.6 million to help residents in flood prone areas, especially in Wards 7 and 8, retrofit their homes to reduce risk of damage.
- $102 million over six years to continue a multi-year plan to make bus transit faster and more reliable across the District.
Public Safety and Justice
- $1.7 million to provide 23 personnel to support high-quality care coordination, including life coaches, to provide critical violence intervention services for at-risk individuals
- $786,000 to expand funding for OVSJG's Hospital-based Violence Intervention Program (HVIP), providing more staff and more program resources which will provide more support to victims engaging in HVIP services.
- $281,000 to enhance capacity to adequately implement the Resilient DC strategy equitably, allowing the District to see more progress on the 68 initiatives included in the plan that drive inclusive growth, address climate change, prepare for an increasingly digital future, and address health inequities and violence.
Health and Human Services
- $31 million for new permanent supportive housing vouchers and other initiatives to end chronic homelessness and make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.
- $11.8 million to allow District residents who meet income guidelines to continue receiving cash assistance and allow families who receive means-tested support to keep pace with the increased costs of living in the District.
- $2.6 million to continue supporting the ongoing operations of the District’s Sobering and Stabilization Center (SSC) which will provide critical support to individuals experiencing an alcohol intoxication or drug overdose.
- $11.5 million committed to increasing Home and Community Based Service Provider rates over the next three years to fund salary increases for Direct Support Professionals, who care for our most vulnerable residents.
- $4.5 million committed to hiring additional school nurses needed to improve coordination of care and comply with D.C. Law 22-61.
- $1 million invested in reducing online administrative burdens and making the District’s online presence accessible and easy to use.
- Continued commitment to making sure DC facilities are accessible and reach compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Mayor Bowser’s FY 2023 proposed budget is a reflection of her commitment to advancing racial equity in the District. As the Mayor previously stated, we have the opportunity to attack the root causes of inequities,” said Chief Equity Officer Dr. Amber Hewitt. “To that end, the Mayor’s Office of Racial Equity was excited to partner with the Office of Budget and Performance Management to apply a racial equity lens within the District’s budget process. The racial equity budget tool requires agencies to purposefully consider disparate outcomes by race and ethnicity, focuses on evidence, and encourages community input and involvement. Though FY 2023 was a pilot year for the tool, agency participation was strong - an encouraging whole of government response.”
To normalize the application of a racial equity lens in the District’s budget process, ORE began preparing for the FY 2023 budget formulation process in July of 2021 by developing the Racial Equity Budget Tool (REBT). The REBT assists District agencies in identifying and developing budget proposals that advance racial equity. ORE reviewed budget enhancements against four touchstones: the strength and quality of the evidence presented, consideration of the enhancement’s potential benefits and burdens on communities of color, discussion of potential unintended consequences, and the role of community engagement in the development of the enhancement’s proposed activities.
The District’s commitment to advancing racial equity is not limited to the FY 2023 Budget enhancements listed above. For example, ORE is working with twelve District agencies to pilot racial equity tools, complete a departmental assessment of racial equity, and develop racial equity action plans. Through the racial equity data standards pilot, ORE is collaborating with four District agencies to develop guidance on race and ethnicity data collection and analysis. Continued progress toward a racially equitable DC requires a whole-of-government approach where each District government agency and employee recognizes that they have a role to play. Since ORE’s establishment, more than 350 District agency managers have attended a racial equity training.
Established by Mayor Bowser in 2021, the Office of Racial Equity (ORE) focuses on developing an infrastructure to ensure policy decisions and District programs are evaluated through a racial equity lens; the office also carries forward the implementation of the Racial Equity Achieves Results (REACH) Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Law 23-181). ORE is led by Chief Equity Officer Dr. Amber Hewitt within the Office of the City Administrator. To view the report and learn more about the Mayor’s Office of Racial Equity, visit ore.dc.gov.