For Immediate Release: April 15, 2019
Contact: Rita D. Lewis, Communications Director: (202) 256-7154;   rlewis@dccouncil.us

Councilmember Robert White Works with the Bowser
Administration to Improve Support for Returning Citizens  
 
Today, At-Large Councilmember Robert White announced a significant win for the District’s returning citizens. In March, Councilmember White wrote a letter to Mayor Bowser asking her administration to allow returning citizens newly released from federal facilities to have access to services at the new READY (Resources to Empower and Develop You) Center. The services provided at the READY Center include housing and employment assistance, educational opportunities, and access to mental health services.    

Currently, only returning citizens from the DC Jail have access to READY Center services. In his letter to Mayor Bowser, White noted that residents returning from the BOP generally have the most severe needs. They often are incarcerated for many years, serving their sentences several hundred miles from home. In some cases, they are incarcerated at multiple BOP facilities around the country with minimal re-entry support, further excluding them from the resources they need to be productive residents upon their return. This reality compounds issues for returning citizens who already face housing, employment, and healthcare challenges. White said, “Residents coming from BOP facilities need the direct and simultaneous access to District agencies that only the READY Center provides.”
 
Beginning Monday, April 29th, the READY Center will service DC residents returning from BOP facilities on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. While this expansion of the READY Center focuses on those recently returned from BOP, the Office on Returning Citizen Affairs will remain the primary hub for returning citizens in the community and will continue to provide extended case management for all returning citizens, regardless of when they return home.
 
One of Councilmember White's top priorities continues to be meeting the needs of our returning citizen community. As Chair of Committee of Facilities and Procurement, Councilmember White has oversight over returning citizen affairs, including the Office on Returning Citizen Affairs and the Commission on Re-Entry and Returning Citizen Affairs. Councilmember White said, “I thank Mayor Bowser for recognizing the need for more support for our returning citizens and the importance of expanding access to the READY Center’s resources.” 
 
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