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Advocates Push For Social Services In Budget

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By Peter Granitz

The D.C. Council will examine Mayor Adrian Fenty’s proposed budget this week. Low-income advocates are pushing to make sure social services don’t take too hard a hit.

Faced with a budget gap of more than a half billion dollars, mayor Fenty intends to cut spending on human services, like temporary cash assistance for the disabled.

“This is a lifeline for the people who are often waiting a year or two years for their federal benefits to be approved,” says Ed Lazere, head of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute. Lazere says the District has fully funded the “Interim Disability Assistance Program," but the new budget slashes its funding.

He adds, the budget also pares money for the office of the tenant advocate and legal assistance for low-income residents.

“For families who are struggling to keep their apartment and maintain their household, those programs are really important,” he says.

The Council will vote on the budget May 25th. Lazere says he expects changes to the budget, but it is unclear what else will be added and removed.

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