The council also voted to amend the city’s homeless law and boosted funding by $25 million to pay for training, case management, transportation and other services in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The District is in the process of limiting TANF benefits to no more than five years, as most states did during welfare reform 17 years ago.
The council voted for a flat 10 percent increase in the subsidy paid to providers who care for the children of low-income and working parents. But the increase applies only to infants and toddlers and not to providers who care for preschool-age children or offer after-care for school-age children.
Even with the increase — to $59.85 a day for infants and $55.96 a day for toddlers — the subsidy falls short of the market rate to care for children in the District: $84.48 a day for infants and $75.52 for toddlers, according to the most recent survey by the University of the District of Columbia.
“The increase will help, but there are still a lot of providers who will be left struggling,” said Jeff Credit, who runs two child-care centers and heads a local association of child-care providers. “I see a lot more of them going out of business.”
The UDC survey found that nearly one-third of family home providers and 12.4 percent of child-care centers that operated in the District in 2010 were no longer licensed in 2012.
After a contentious day-long hearing in June, a petition and weeks of closed-door negotiations among city officials, council members and advocacy groups over reforms to the city’s homeless laws, the council also voted Wednesday to require those in shelters to set up savings accounts.
But instead of requiring the homeless to save 30 percent of their income or face being kicked out of a shelter, as originally proposed, the council voted that savings accounts be for individualized amounts and that rather than the homeless being forced out of shelters for failing to comply, other sanctions could be considered.
The council also did not give city officials the authority they sought to more easily move people out of shelters.
Faced with a homeless population that has quadrupled since 2008 and shelters that remain packed year-round, city officials sought to have families placed in shelters on a “provisional” basis until case workers could assess whether the family had no other housing options. If other options were found, the families would be forced to leave.