Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"Step Up, Door's Closing"

Budget Hearings for FY16 are (for the most part) complete! Now the DC Council is reviewing testimony, striking deals, and collaborating with colleagues as budget markup moves into full swing.

Like most years, transportation is a hot-button issue, and if you were one of the poor souls stranded in Virginia on Monday, you know why.

However, while commuters are reeling over being late to work because of metro delays (a completely valid concern), low-income residents are still struggling with how to afford efficient transportation to and from school or work.

If this initiative passes the DC Council budget markup, low-income and disconnected youth will have a greater chance to connect to opportunities across the DMV!

In DCAYA's study "Connecting Youth to Opportunity: Better Understanding the Needs of Disconnected Young People in Washington, DC," youth reported spending an average of $120 a month on transportation for school and work.

While this barrier was significantly reduced with the establishment of Kids Ride Free in 2013, the initiative did not include rail and only served youth 21 and younger. As a recent Harvard University study points out, transportation is the #1 barrier to economic mobility.

Also, as DC continues to grow, more and more low-income residents are traveling farther distances to get to work.

Increasing access to affordable transportation is key to supporting a sustainable pathway to the middle class. This is why DCAYA is so excited about the Kids Ride Free expansion to rail!

However, the initiative only serves youth 21 and younger. Older youth who often face compounding barriers (childcare, homelessness, criminal record, etc) while striving to obtain their diploma, must still overcome the financial burden of transportation.

Help us educate the DC Council and promote a modest extension of the Kids Ride Free program to include youth through age 24 who are connected to a Local Education Agency (LEA). This small budget increase of an estimated $704,705 to Kids Ride Free, would have a huge impact on youth struggling to complete their education and become a contributing member of the community.

Be sure to thank Mayor Bowser (@MayorBowser) for the Kids Ride Free Expansion and tweet to Councilmembers: Phil Mendelson (@VoteMendo), Vincent Orange (@VOrangeDC), Anita Bonds (@AnitaBondsDC), David Grosso (@cmdgrosso), Elissa Silverman (@tweetelissa), Brianne Nadeau (@BrianneKNadeau), Jack Evans (@JackEvansWard2), Mary Cheh (@marycheh), Brandon Todd (@brandonttodd), Kenyan McDuffie (@kenyanmcduffie), Charles Allen (@CharlesAllenW6), Yvette Alexander (@CMYMA ), and LaRuby May (@LaRubyMay) to support the success of older youth!

For more on youth issues in DC you can FOLLOW us on Twitter, LIKE us on Facebook,SUBSCRIBE to this blog and VISIT us at

No comments: