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October is off to a busy start here at the Council. On Tuesday, October 5th the Council returned from summer recess for a very important legislative meeting where we addressed the concerns of many of our families who are navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and a return to in person learning.  Over the course of several weeks my staff and I have been in constant communication with parents and educators to address the gaps in virtual learning, COVID-19 testing in schools, and disenrollment concerns.

By way of emergency legislation my colleagues and I passed the Protecting our Children Emergency Amendment of 2021. This measure requires that notification of all positive COVID-19 cases be shared with entire school communities, mandates that an asymptomatic testing program be instituted at all schools and requires that all schools provide a distant learning option for students who are ineligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and a medical professional has recommended that the student participate in distance learning if in person learning would endanger an individual in the student’s household.

This fall we have also experienced a number of tragedies that have impacted our neighbors. We have seen ongoing traffic, bicycle and pedestrian safety issues affect the lives of many in our community, leading to injury and tragic loss of life. Addressing these issues is a collective effort that requires both the agencies, community leaders and me to remain diligent in our commitment to ensuring both the immediate investments in safety improvements are made, along with continued long-term planning, education. Please see my letter on traffic safety below and a copy of Director Lott's response here.
The epidemic of gun violence continues to permeate our City. I have spent years working to address the seemingly intractable issues that perpetuate violence in our City and will continue to do so. While I am pleased that the NEAR Act is reaching full funding, I know that a comprehensive approach to public safety reform remains a work in progress.

There is much to do to take the very necessary steps to keep us safe and healthy.  I will continue to fight for the interest of our children, their families and all the residents of Ward 5.
In service,
In this issue of the Ward 5 Report:

Legislative Flash Back

The “Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Amendment Act of 2016,” or the “NEAR” Act, authored by Councilmember McDuffie, is a comprehensive, public health-based approach to crime prevention and intervention. The Council approved more than $38m in FY22 to fund programs and services provided by the NEAR Act

What does the NEAR Act do?
  • The NEAR Act Identifies and engages at-risk violent offenders through the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (ONSE).
  • The NEAR Act requires the creation of the Office of Health Equity (OHE) within DC Health to develop and implement public health strategies to combat the spread of violence using risk assessment tools, cognitive and family-based therapy, and service coordination.
  • The NEAR Act requires a Community Crime Prevention Team program that links individuals exposed to crime to behavioral health resources.
  • The NEAR Act increases transparency of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to build better police-community relations.

Ward 5 Redistricting Hearing

Those who wish to testify must sign up no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 18, 2021, by providing their information using the following link:  

Councilmember McDuffie's Letter on Traffic Safety

Kenyan in the Community

Councilmember McDuffie joined 5B Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners Colleen Costello and Prita Piekara for a community meeting with Department of Transportation Director Everett Lott to discuss the serious traffic safety concerns in the Brookland community.  Councilmember McDuffie stressed the need for a fast-tracked, comprehensive approach to traffic-calming measures in this community and throughout Ward 5.
Councilmember McDuffie joined DC Housing Finance Agency - DCHFA for the ribbon cutting ceremony at The Douglass: A Todd A. Lee town home community.
This project will create eight new D.C. homeowners who are earning workforce incomes between 60-120 percent of AMI. This exciting project was developed by H2DesignBuild.
Councilmember McDuffie joined Principal Berger and the entire Banneker High School community for the celebration of their new school building.

Small Business Spotlight

Fresh Dry Cleaners (at 10 Florida Avenue NW) is celebrating 10 years of business. Thanks to Ishmael and Rochelle Wilson for their dedication to providing dry cleaning services to residents in Ward 5 and beyond. #OurWard5

Comcast has announced a second round of cities to receive grants from the Comcast RISE Investment Fund, providing $6 million additional dollars to hundreds of small businesses owned by people of color (POC), including Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and Asian American owners, among others.

Beginning on October 1, and through October 14, eligible businesses in Houston, Miami, Oakland, Seattle, the Twin Cities, and Washington, D.C. can apply for a $10,000 grant at A total of 100 grants per city, or 600 grants overall, will be awarded in November 2021. The Investment Fund is an extension of Comcast RISE, the multi-year, multi-faceted initiative launched in October 2020 to support small businesses owned by people of color and provide the resources and tools they need today and in the future.

Businesses must be in the following geographic locations to be eligible: Houston, TX (Harris and Fort Bend Counties); Miami, FL (Miami-Dade and Broward Counties); Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington Counties); Oakland, CA (City of Oakland); Seattle, WA (King and Pierce Counties); and Washington, D.C. (Wards 1-8.)

Councilmember McDuffie extended the Rhode Island Ave Great Street boundary to include 12th St NE between Otis Street NE and Michigan Avenue NE. Many of our legacy small businesses will now be able to benefit from this new expansion. #OurWard5

Learn more about the Great Streets program here.
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