Tuesday, April 21 2020
Officers present: Dan Schramm, Renè McCray, Helen LaCroix, Fred Jackson, Terence Hardy
Dan: Welcome and thank you all for joining this unusual meeting. Let’s go ahead and get started. The BNCA bylaws and constitution do not prevent us from conducting business remotely. Nothing says we have to do in-person meetings to have a discussion and conduct business. I would like to open this topic for discussion to see if anyone feels differently. There’s at least one agenda item that may require a decision and a vote. Before we get to that we want to make sure people are on board with doing business in this way. The bylaws require at least a few officers and at least 10 voting members present to vote. Any thoughts or discussion around this?
Dan: To do this properly we should make sure we have a quorum. I’ll do a count looking at the list of attendees to make sure we have a quorum. [Verifies quorum] I’d like to move that we conduct business remotely so long as the other terms of bylaws and constitution are met.
Yeas have it (vote in chat). Unanimous.
Treasurer’s Report – Terence Hardy
I’ll be going through the report for February and March. Our beginning balance $4728.28. Deposits included $175 in renewals and for expenses we had $30 in meeting snacks and the paper statement fee. March expenses include paper checks and paper statement fee. I have canceled the paper statements so we hopefully shouldn’t see that expense any more. Closing balance $4699.52
Motion for report to be accepted.
No objections. Motion to accept the report is unanimously approved.
Dan: Let’s move to our first guest Alice Thompson from the DC Department of Aging and Community Living.
Alice: Thank you. I have a few updates on what the district is doing to help residents during the coronavirus pandemic. The District launched a new hotline for residents of all ages who are medically quarantined (e.g., tested positive) and who do not have access to food or supplies. 1-888-349-8323 for assistance. DCPS Grocery Distribution is available from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at Brookland Middle School on Monday. Grocery distribution is also available at Eastern Senior High School in Ward 6 on Mondays from 12:30 to 2 p.m. On Tuesdays Grocery Distribution is at Kelly Middle School in Ward 7 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Also on Tuesdays from 12:30 to 2 at Stanton Elementary School in Ward 8. On Wednesdays Grocery Distribution is at Coolidge High School in Ward 4. More information is available on the website. Distribution is happening all across the different wards. Groceries are available for anyone–including seniors.They aren’t turning people away.
Renè: I walk around Turkey Thicket everyday and I see lines of people of all ages at Brookland Middle School. I can confirm that the program is for people of all ages.
Alice: We also have what we call the “Call to talk program” for seniors living at home. If a senior dials in and they reach someone in our office, they stay on the line talk. How do you feel, did you eat, what do you like to do, questions like that. We’re trying to bring them into a conversation so they feel happy. We want them to feel useful and happy. Isolation makes happiness hard. We’re trying to help seniors who can’t go to our senior wellness centers–there are 6 of them throughout the city but they are closed right now. Once you join one you can go to any senior wellness center and 39 community dining rooms for a free meal. They are open to the public–most are located in apartments where seniors live. You join the wellness center for no fee and then you can eat in any of the dining rooms. There are about 3,000 seniors currently enrolled in wellness centers who went to lunch at the dining rooms. Instead, we’re delivering 7 days of food once a week. They can eat one of the meals and put the rest in the freezer. 202-724-5626 is the number to call–information referral and assistance line. That’s our call center. We also have the Safe At Home program–people called if they felt unsafe at home and we had staff to do home visits. Now that we have a pandemic we can’t necessarily go in. If we hear of a serious emergency we do have to act.
We also have the Medicaid EPD Waiver–that’s a program for people who meet income qualification–say for example if you have had a stroke and you are disabled in your home. People may need someone to help with daily chores.The EPD Waiver is a Medicaid program to allow you to stay in your home instead of going to a nursing home.
The DC Housing Authority operates buildings that house about 10 of the community dining rooms. Ft. Lincoln has some of the oldest seniors in Washington DC. Quebec St, St Albans Church–there are community dining centers in churches not just apartment buildings.
With regard to nursing homes–we try to help people who are leaving and integrating back into the community. We have a staff who will help people transition to independence. Nursing homes don’t want to let people go–many times you see healthy people congregating outside of nursing homes because they have no place to go. We’re trying to help people to get back into the community.
We work with 20+ community-based organizations to deliver 40+ programs. May is Older Americans month but it’s all being canceled. We have our Centenarians luncheon that is usually attended by 50 or 60 people. I’m the Team Lead for Community Outreach. I have 35 events scheduled. I don’t know when we’ll be back up and running again.
Charmekia: Do you engage with seniors’ health plans? We’ve been working with vulnerable seniors to make sure we’re personally delivering food to. I’m with Amerigroup, one of the Managed Care Organizations serving DC enrollees.
Alice: We try to help with day-to-day living chores. We can’t suggest to a person what type of insurance to get. We can have events and invite reps from insurance companies.
Enid: What she’s asking about is whether you work with seniors to direct them to a healthcare provider–a lot of providers in the region are providing food directly to seniors.
Alice: I’m not familiar with health care providers doing that.
Charmekia: I’m with Amerigroup DC. We find that seniors are dual eligible. As an MCO that’s something we’re really focused on.
Alice: The Department of Aging and Community Living delivers food to people who are frail, sick, or shut in. That’s required by the Older Americans Act.
Dan: If someone wants to access resources offered by your agency what number should people call?
Alice: We provide home delivered meals to sick, shut in, frail, people, those with a disability where they cannot cook for themselves. Very elderly or people who are so despondent they don’t cook. The number to call is 202-724-5626.
Dan: We’ll make sure you connect to Charmekia.
Dan: Let’s go to our next guest, Zachary Parker, Ward 5 Representative on the State Board of Education.
Zachary: It’s good to be with you. I represent Ward 5 on the State Board of Education. We oversee graduation requirements, learning standards, special education regs. We are associated with OSSE. I want to give you a quick update on things happening in education–both pandemic-related and also a resolution on fully funding birth to three legislation.
I’m first sharing a link that has information on each Ward 5 school site–all the relevant policy and regulatory updates that have been enacted or implemented because of the pandemic. First and foremost, the stay-at-home order has been extended through May 15. DCPS will end on May 29th. That’s 3 weeks ahead of schedule. The hope is to make up lost instructional time on the back end. OSSE submitted a waiver to the US Department of Education to waive state testing requirements for this year–namely the PARCC test. That waiver was granted. There will be no statewide testing. Or testing in fall will not count as formalized testing, and there will be no updates to the school report card. Emergency legislation passed by Council waived the 180 day requirement for the full school year, along with the community service requirement, and the Carnegie unit requirement. Those are the major education updates.
And of course from Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Brookland Middle–any student under 18 can go pick up a packaged meal. Several other schools are doing meal distribution.
Before this crisis I had been working with different community groups to have neighbors sign on to a resolution for full funding of Birth to 3 legislation that has previously passed and been signed by the Mayor. I can share some resources on the first thousand days that are so important for kids. There is a shortage of birth to 3 seats in the District. 2018. The Council voted unanimously, in the Birth to Three act, that every student in DC should be entitled to sufficient academic and health support. It’s up to the Council and the Mayor’s Office to fund it. It hasn’t been fully funded. We’re seeking a resolution to fully fund the legislation in this year’s budget. This effort started before the pandemic–now we know there’s going to be lost revenue because of the pandemic. But we’re still pushing and raising our voice to say that it’s significant. Possibly this is even more important–given school closures and learning loss. Lots of organizations have signed on already. We’re sharing a sample resolution–in hopes you will stand with the Council Member, neighbors, and other groups.
Dan: I have given the resolution a read, it seems worthy of support. What do you think realistically you are looking for? Has your ask changed to the Council?
Zachary: We’re asking for a $40m investment for birth to three resources–health and academic resources. That was before the pandemic. There are 2,500 families in Ward 5 that need help. We haven’t amended that ask–we’re waiting to see the amended draft budget.
Renè: Is there a comment period?
Zachary: What I’ve shared is a draft resolution–you can amend it however you like. You can hold until the Mayor’s budget comes out, and the Council will vote June or July. The ask will need to be amended because of the crisis. $600m shortfall is being forecast–agencies are being asked to slash budgets.
Nolan: The Mayor will deliver the budget in May and the Council will vote in July.
Zachary: Signing on to resolution is symbolic, it shows to CM that he has your support and sends a message. Sends a message to the Council to say it’s a priority.
Dan: Thanks Zachary. A request has been made of our organization to support this effort with a resolution. Everything I’ve seen, all his research etc., points to the significance of this period to making whole healthy human beings.
Helen: I move that we pass a resolution.
Anne: I support the idea in concept but I haven’t had time to read it.
Renè: Me too. I can’t read it now.
Dan: We have two options–if membership supports the concept we could have the BNCA Board review the draft resolution. Another option would be to send it out to membership and we vote in the May meeting.
Zachary: That would be fine. The important thing is to count Brookland members in the push.
Anne: And we can talk it up in the meantime to garner more support.
Zachary: And I can share my contact information. firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-856-4422.
Dan: Thank you Zachary. Now on to our final guest, Charmekia Martin from Amerigroup.
Ms. Martin: In addition to food resources,we’re thinking about all members who are identified as most vulnerable, who may be facing high risk factors for covid 19– we’re doing everything we can to identify them– we’re trying to ask them, do you have enough food to last for 2 weeks? We’re asking that of every single member we talk to . Amerigroup is one of three Managed Care Organizations doing Medicare in DC–supporting food banks, Boys and Girls Club, working with partners to figure out what we can do. We have a service called Live Health Online–trying to increase access to care. Getting access to care is a complicated issue– people can log on to LHO 24/7, we have translation services, mental health services. Doctors can fill prescriptions–get your medicines filled. Anthem is our parent.
We also have Psych Hub–that’s completely open to the public. To address mental health issues–online platform. Isolation, loneliness, job loss. That’s available to everyone.
Another service is a resource hub called Aunt Bertha. This has information on resources available and there is no account required. Should be most up to date.
Dan: Thank you Charmekia.
Any other announcements:
Renè: I want to emphasize, please request an absentee ballot for the upcoming election! Voting starts on May 22. People need to request absentee ballots. We’re one month away from voting. There will be only 20 sites for voting. If you can avoid voting in person please do so.
Ra: We will be holding our ANC 5B meeting on April 29th. We did a dry run the other day with our technology and we ran into some glitches. We decided to do another dry run to get it all down. Visit Anc5b.com and you will get the link for our April 29th meeting. It will also be on our Facebook page.
Casey Trees is razing the funeral home–over the next couple of weeks. Everyone is slightly behind–DDOT is too so the permits are a little slow. Construction will be ongoing.
DC History Museum is doing a real time initiative – they want to capture stories of people living in the District during this time. Visit their website to tell your story–about your experience. They also have a hotline to make sure we’re talking to seniors and others who may not want to go online. It’s a great opportunity to be included in DC history.
Anne: You all know that DC got shafted in CARES Act. If we had been treated properly we would have gotten $750 million more in funding. A bunch of organizations sent a letter to Congress asking for more money.
Dan: Thanks. Are they going to fix it in the next piece of legislation?
Anne: Not in this next one, that’s more narrow. The one after that is an omnibus bill that treats DC equally, but not clear if it will include the $750m we didn’t get.
Dan: BNCA could consider a resolution on that, if not too late.
Anne: Not at all, please do.
Dan: I enjoyed seeing all of you. If you have any suggestions for how to improve, please let me know.
Nolan: Board of Elections is supposed to be sending an absentee ballot request form with voter information packet.
Nolan: Mayor’s Budget out first week of May. There will be virtual hearings. Council is meeting virtually. Contact by phone and email still works.
Dan: Thank you and let’s adjourn!
Meeting adjourned 8:35 p.m.