BNCA Meeting Minutes
May 21, 2019 – DCTV
Dan: Welcome. All are welcome at BNCA meetings so please invite your neighbors. Clyde our Treasurer is here and Helen LaCroix our Recording Secretary is here.
Some tweaks to agenda:
Ambrose Lane will not be here–we will invite him for a later meeting.
Nicole Commodore from Ascension is here, I apologize that she wasn’t included on the agenda.
And Officer Willis is here from MPD.
Dan: Triangle Park – as you know, this park on 14th street has been a hot spot and it definitely needs some love and care and attention, some neighbors have been very active in working with our Council Member Kenyan McDuffie and various city agencies to take action to help improve this park and make it safer. We had a meeting earlier today and I’m going to ask BNCA member Tom Kirlin, who was there, to report on what happened.
Tom Kirlin: a group of 12-14 people came, neighbors and folks from various agencies and also MPD officers. We talked about making use of the $155k that CM McDuffie has brought to the table, but we mostly talked about how to re-engage city agencies, and talked about doing an event on that side of RIA. We talked about bringing in 8-10 year old kids to clean up the areas and put some family pressure on the older brothers who are out on the street dealing. A number of neighbors were there. Malik Miller organized the meeting and Kelley Cislo was also there and there were reps from BNCA, ANCs, and of course the CM’s’ office. We’re all now coordinating on an effort to bring neighbors together to attend to this issue and engage with people who largely have been left out. We’re planning for an event 4-5 weeks right now that will engage community leaders and government agencies and of course the residents of the area.
MBT 5K and Great Brookland Yard Sale report outs
Dan: The MBT race was a success, about 150 people came out for the event. There’s room for growth in that event for sure but overall it was a great success. The BNCA sponsored it and it was great to get the community out to use public space. Everyone had a chance to meet some neighbors and enjoy the trail.
Great Brookland Yard Sale – we had a successful Great Brookland Yard Sale on May 4th with about 75 sales and no rain. Thank our partners for their support–Atlantic Electric Supply Company on 10th St and Menkiti Group. They helped with printing and distributing packets, and Brookland Garden Club had their plant sale. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this successful event.
Sergeant Willis: this is my PSA. I had crime stats printed out to share with you, and then I ran to work a gun recovery on Todd Pl and wasn’t able to bring them. Overall I was pleased with the crime stats for the last month.
Dan: what are the stats looking like in this area over the last month?
Sgt. Willis: for this area I was surprised. Numbers are down which you don’t expect when the weather warms up. PSA 507 on other side of Benning Rd– that’s had the Summer Crime Initiative–it’s not a good thing when your neighborhood gets that. You’re not a candidate for that. The downside for us is, they get more resources, which means I have fewer officers to work with.
Clyde: Regarding the park on Otis between 18th and 20th. Some time back your colleague said there would be an officer stationed there. Is that still going on?
Sgt. Willis: Yes, one of my officers is on foot there now.
Clyde: What’s going on with shooting at 20th/Newton?
Willis: Our investigative team is on that, there’s nothing new I can report.
Tom: It really makes a difference to have officers on foot. Too often you’re fighting a guerrilla war with garrison troops. We need face time on foot or on bike, we understand you have to get to scenes quickly in the car, but we need more face time.
Willis: Foot is good, but it’s second class. I’d rather have mountain bikes.
Tom: That makes sense, thanks.
Lucky: When school gets out on MBT thanks for the officers on bikes at 3:30, it’s great to see you guys out on the bikes, tells the kids if they run they can’t make it. We appreciate that, thanks for that.
Treasurer’s Report and Membership Report
Clyde: I’d like to make the May report which is for activity during April. We had 3 people renew. That made $30 in income. We spent $2 on the bank paper statement fee. We sponsored the 5k race at expense of $200. Ended month with $3646 and change. We had 190 active members as of the end of April. This is the largest number of active members that we’ve had. Being able to go online and sign up via paypal facilitates that. We get most of our memberships that way.
Questions: is there a renewal?
Clyde: if you sign up online it automatically renews unless you cancel your subscription. If you want a copy I send via email.
Seeing no other questions, I ask for my report to be accepted.
Seconded. Any questions or concerns? None.
Dan: I move that it be accepted. No opposed or abstentions, it’s accepted.
Dan: I see some new faces, if you’d like to join, this is a good time to mention that you’re most welcome! Anyone can be associate member but you don’t get voting rights when we take positions on issues. You are eligible to vote if you live within our organizational boundaries.
Membership is for a calendar year. There’s one exception. If you pay in the 4th quarter, you’re paid through the following year.
Join BNCA at https://brooklandcivic.org/join
Foster Care in DC – Kathleen Stines (DC CFSA)
Dan: Please welcome Kathleen Stines to speak about opportunities to be a foster parent in DC.
Kathleen: Good evening everyone I’m a social worker at Child and Family Services Agency. Thank you for having me. National Foster Care Month is May. We use this month to acknowledge and honor foster parents in District who have opened doors to kids. We do that highlight them all year but especially in May. We also use this month to raise awareness about the need for foster families..
Children who need foster families are abused or neglected. We always try to narrow the funnel– we are always looking for relatives and anyone who can take the kid (kin). We use foster families while we are working with families to achieve reunification.
There are about 850 kids in foster care in DC. We had 3k children in care at one point. Numbers have gone down. We attributed that to concerted effort to work with families to find someone. 70% in Wards 7 and 8. 86% are African American. Many end up in MD because we don’t have foster parents in the District. It adds another layer of trauma when we put them in unfamiliar surroundings. It’s hard to preserve relationships with teachers, friends, relatives –it’s hard to maintain those.
80% of the time they’re coming in from neglect. Parents struggling with substance abuse. Parents are incarcerated, mental health, struggling with housing resources..
What’s the process? You have to be a District resident. We have a private contract that can license MD families. You need to be over 21 and an owner or renter of housing. You need an extra bedroom for the child. We look at finances–that you can make household expenses outside of stipend that you get for the child. Kids get DC Medicaid to handle mental health and doctors expense. We also go through a background check– you would be disqualified for child abuse. If there’s a hit for something else it can depend on what’s for– we understand recklessness and it can be an asset when working with kids in foster care.
Older kids are often forgotten. We start having trouble when kids hit 10 or 11. Many people far that it’s too late to help the kid, their personalities are formed, what can I do make an impact? No one ages out of their family. It’s NOT too late. They need life skills– how to make a meal, do laundry, have a bank account, get a drivers license. These kids are transitioning. One-on-one guidance is much more effective than group home–bouncing around from group home to group home leads to trouble, teen pregnancies, etc. Teens want a sense of belonging, it’s a labor of love, they definitely test people. Plus they’re coping with layers of trauma. Once we match you with a child, we don’t just place them in your home. We see it as a partnership. We have an Office of Well Being staffed with mental health professionals, nurses, educational coordinators. We’re constantly doing assessments to see where gaps are and where services need to go. We provide daycare vouchers, a stipend, mentoring, tutoring, have a unit for pre-college training, lots of supports to help you help the child.
It takes 100 days to become licensed. First step is orientation, no commitment, 6 week training (1x a week), to give you tools to deal with kid who has had trauma. We partner you with a support worker who is your advocate, someone to talk to, brainstorm ideas with you, someone to go on the journey with you. Child also has a social worker working in concert with you. 15-22 months is our benchmark for reunification. Working with parents to get them to a place where kid will be safe. 90% of foster parents move forward with adoption.
For folks who can’t take kids in — there are ways to support our work. You can help by highlighting our information. If you belong to a church that would put our info in a newsletter, put it in sanctuary, or belong to a book club, other orgs, or can help organize info tables on festivals and street fairs. Our recruiters come out on weekends, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. 99% of the time, if there’s an opportunity to raise awareness, we’re there.
Clyde: do you have to be married or in a couple?
Kathleen: I’m glad you asked that. We define family very broadly. You can be single, married, have kids, no kids, same sex, families come in all shapes sizes and colors. We’re looking for people who can dedicate time to a child.
Question: is there an age limit?
Kathleen: No, just over 21, and healthy enough to take a kid.
Stipend continues until kid is 21 if you end up adopting and Medicaid goes till the kid is 26.
What happens to kids who don’t get adopted? We started working with them a few years out–we work on housing, education track is sorted, we identify a person who is committed to them as they age out, someone for holidays and who will really stick by them.
The stipend varies. Sibling groups can be tough. Special needs kids, older children, and teen moms are tough. Foster parents are there to teach them parenting skills. Stipends may be higher. Ballpark figure $1000 a month.
Each case is unique. If the kid is on grade level, they can go to DCPS. Many kids are behind in school or have learning disabilities. They may require smaller or inclusive school setting. DCPS will work to identify school best suited to their needs. We then provide bus transportation to take them to and from whatever school they end up at. We have an educational coordinator that works with DCPS. We’re always aspiring to put them in the best school for them. We have various programs under foster care program. There’s the Interval program–folks are just committing 4-72 hours. This is for when we just need an emergency solution– for example we found Grandma but she’s in another state or needs furniture. We have the STAR program–that’s a 30 day commitment. Specialized Opportunity for Youth or SOY program is for people who have the skill set to work with kids 15-18 who are really struggling. In those situations the placements are planned and not spontaneous. Child will have chance to meet you and receive a gradual introduction to your home. Kids have been having serious struggles.
I will leave flyers on table. Please take them to your ANCs, churches, book clubs, etc. Please let us know and we’ll come out to meet your community. The presentation can be short or long as necessary.
Clyde: are there any tax write offs?
Kathleen: It’s changed over the years, I’d have to find out the status. There was a time when you could write off adoption, but I’m not sure you can write off the stipend.
Question: Can you list the child as a dependent?
Answer: I don’t know but I’ll find out.
Nicole Commodore, Director of Community Impact and Advocacy, Ascension Health
Nicole: Thank you for the opportunity to speak. Providence has new leadership since March of this year, I’m part of her leadership team. We’re no longer a hospital as of April 30th. We’re providing outpatient or community-based services. We’re continuing our legacy of serving poor and vulnerable and still offer care to the uninsured. We wanted to change the way we provide services. We’re focusing on actual needs of community so we did a needs assessment. Mental/behavioral health issues, managing chronic illness, managing senior care are key needs. That’s the core of the the healthy village concept. Senior care is a big issue. Senior care will be a primary focus going forward. Seniors and young families in Bookland. Senior care is a continuum– independent living at home, so we want to put adult day care on the campus. Then people need assisted living with memory care, then Carroll Manor, which is a skilled nursing care facility, and then there’s hospice. Also independent affordable housing. For families–urgent care, we’re trying to open that. We’re dealing with regulatory issues with Dept of Health on the urgent care. Hope to open that as soon as possible. Dispensary of Hope is providing free medication for those who need it– for chronic illness. We put a lot of this info on our new website, providencehealthyvillage.org. We post community updates, we talk about what healthy villages look like, on page 6, social services, education, job training We’ve been doing community meetings all around. My information is in this packet. We’re doing meetings here and in Wards 6, 7, 8. ANC 5d meeting is tomorrow. I’ve met with all ANCs.
Tom: Finances were cited as reason for closing hospital. What’s the financial model going forward? Are we going to have senior care facility with peripheral services for community?
Answer: It’s a huge campus. We lost $170m on that one campus because revenue wasn’t keeping it afloat. Reducing size should help–we had empty beds weren’t needed. That amount of shrinkage will stem the tide of loss. We’ll be bringing in partners and that reduces the financial burden on us. Children’s National, Mary’s Center–all these groups that need space can provide services. Carroll Manor will be run by Ascension. And we’ll take on the losses. Primary docs are staying with us and we will have urgent care. Dispensary and Pharmacy will be run by us.
Question: When do you anticipate not being in the red?
Answer: I don’t know offhand. Since we’re doing so many services it may be never, but not as much as $170m.
Age-Friendly DC – Gail Kohn (Office Dep. Mayor for HHS)
Gail: I am the Age Friendly DC coordinator, I have been there longer than anyone else in my office, I worked with Brenda Donald and you got her at family services, she’s wonderful. We have a wonderful deputy mayor, who is also the head of healthcare finance, Wayne Turnage, he’s doing that and our work in a balance, it’s impressive. I took this job as having been founding executive of Capitol Hill Village. When you’re a village leader you listen, you don’t talk. You’ve got a village happening here. I want to disabuse you of the idea that it’s only about older adults. It’s about staying in the neighborhood. World Health Organization started this initiative about transforming cities, getting them ready for future with older adults, making sure that older adults get services they need. I took the job because I couldn’t resist spreading the village concept. People are moving to cities and staying there. Empty nesters move into the city because it’s walkable. WHO focuses on health, participation, security, equity. MD is about to become an age-friendly state. There are other states becoming age friendly.
Dan: Does the West need this more than other areas of the world where there’s more of a tradition of caring for the elderly?
Gail: I went to Japan because Age Friendly DC is well known internationally – Japan wanted to hear about how we’re responding to the president, who wants less immigration. They’re interested in us as a model.
Pillars of AFDC are built environment, changing attitudes about growing older, and lifelong health security. We added emergency preparedness and resilience, and also neglect and fraud. When we studied it we found the issue is not just about older people falling for swindles, it’s also about families trying to get their older relatives’ money. In 2017 we evaluated activities we’d taken from 2012-2017 and residents were worried about financial security, having enough money to take care of themselves, and tax relief.
Clyde: a few years ago a bill passed to exempt seniors who met certain criteria from real estate taxes, and it got killed once it get passed.
Gail: It got reduced but it’s not as big as it good be. You can get some tax relief if you’re income qualified. I will send you the right info to get to the AARP Foundation–there’s a counselor to get you the information you need. DC government isn’t doing the counseling.
Lucky: Yes, the program is through OTR. Combined with homestead exemption it will give you tax relief. https://otr.cfo.dc.gov/page/homesteadsenior-citizen-deduction
Gail: Safety–if people feel they can’t leave at night they don’t come to meetings like this. That should not be the case.
Lifelong learning– universities are adding programs, they need to recruit populations who can take advantage of that, that’s older people, and also includes 70k adults having difficulty reading or calculating. So they can read books to their grandchildren.
Caregiving–need setups for caregiving to work effectively.
Again our aims: built environment, changing attitudes about growing older, lifelong health and security. Built environment includes housing and transportation. We need to be thinking about this population that’s healthy, living longer, and want to be involved in employment.
Our initiatives: Safe at Home, Vision Zero, Sustainable DC, home sharing, Comprehensive Plan. Safe at home is home modification for income qualified residents, enabling people to get fixes so they can stay at home. Vision Zero– we want people to be safe crossing the street and being out and about.
Home sharing: people are house poor. Working with Gallaudet and Howard, we find faculty who are looking for housing,
Comprehensive Plan: Please have a speaker from Office of Planning. You understand the importance. That is swarming with age friendly action.
No Wrong Door: figuring out what should be done when things go wrong. City is continuing a program started with Federal money. Office of Community Living working on LGBTQ outreach.
Lifelong health and security: there’s a heavy focus on food here. Getting food across the city.
Right Care Right Now: 911 will be changing. They should come to a meeting if they haven’t already so you can all hear about that.
Training and Response for older victims– people need to be emergency prepared.
Neighborhood watch–has died in some areas, and gotten stronger elsewhere. In Capitol HIll we’re more focused on it than we were before.
Business initiative–we’re working to highlight age friendly business in Brookland–really attracting people of any age into businesses because they have good practices, welcoming people, making materials legible, go to a friendly website, good lighting in the business. More visibility for age friendly businesses.
Tom: that’s an impressive array of services, 27% of the population in Ward 5 are 65 and older, that means a quarter of the population of this area is senior. We talk about gentrification, but we should be looking at seniors.
Gail: Brookland is a candidate for home sharing. Typically in the district it’s 19% of the population that’s senior.
Ra: a guy Ii talked with said MD was worst state to retire and DC was close to that on the list. Is that true?
Answer: Milken Institute ranked us 9th on the list of best place to retire.
Ra: Don’t forget about Boomer Buddies–if you’re over 55 the Humane Alliance will waive all adoption fees.
Question: Has Howard Divinity School reached out to you? One of their proposed ideas is to make it a lifelong learning campus.
Gail: We haven’t, we haven’t heard from them.
Dan: We can put you in touch with them.
DDOT Updates: 10th/Michigan – Joelle Burgard (DDOT)
Joelle: I work in the Green infrastructure team. This is about making public space safer for everyone. We’re still in concept so I’m here to get feedback.
Dan: this intersection is on our list of hot spots, we’re familiar with it.
Joelle: I’m coming at it from from a green perspective, and then other things got layered into it.
Resurfacing sidewalks, trip hazards, redoing sidewalk, repaved and smoothed out. Also a tree furnishing zone. Modified parking to expand triangle park–the street there is 30 feet which doesn’t need to be that wide. We’ll be adding a crosswalk to make crossing more accessible.
Dan: the left turn will reduce gridlock, that’s the idea?
Joelle: Yes, that’s the goal.
Tom: Can you make Otis one way going back to 12th st? Newton is one way.
Clyde: I disagree. The congestion stems from street parking on both sides of narrow street. I recommend street parking on only one side of the street. You need further study and views from a variety of people. I think it’s because street is narrow. It jams up.
Joelle: Buses and shuttles are also a problem. Further study is a good idea. This little portion can move forward to make it more pedestrian-friendly.
Dan: I doubt you will get opposition to the project. More likely people will want to know when this is slated to happen?
Joelle: I have to design this year and plan for construction next year.
Clyde: Otis Street is the only street you can use to go all the way from South Dakota to Metro, it’s the only street you can do that both ways. Also there are condos behind the 7-11 and te new condos across from CVS. You have increased population density which adds traffic.
Dan: Also WMATA wanted to sell that property and there would be underground parking garage.
Joelle: really? I will be back out to present further plans. firstname.lastname@example.org
Other community concerns and announcements
Dan: We’re over time. I apologize.
Ra: Here’s a flyer for a meeting we’ll be having Thursday May 30th,it’s a joint meeting to talk about traffic calming design, everyone can come out and give input, joint meeting with 5B04 and 5E01. We want BNCA there because ENC will be there.
Also there’s the ANC 5 meeting, 1731 Bunker Hill Road tomorrow at 7.
Meeting adjourned 8:49 p.m.