Budget Oversight Testimony on Office of LGBTQ Affairs
Before the Committee on Government Operations
April 22, 2019
Please accept this testimony for the record, as I cannot appear in person. I am Richard J. Rosendall, former president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, which marked its 48th anniversary last week.
We have had a productive relationship with the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Affairs since it began under the Williams Administration. Its current director, Sheila Alexander-Reid, is a past recipient of our Distinguished Service Award. She has been invaluable in helping us interact with various District agencies and the Mayor’s office.
The Mayor’s proposed budget of $378,000 for the Office of LGBTQ Affairs includes a new staff position with unspecified duties but no money for grants. As we understand it, LGBTQ Affairs currently manages grants only for youth experiencing homelessness, but it is unclear where those funds reside. We, like other groups, support adding $3 million to LGBTQ Affairs to address LGBTQ health equity. This would include a staff person to oversee a competitive grant process to support LGBTQ organizations. Funding priorities would include youth, seniors, the transgender community, housing, and employment opportunities.
We support LGBTQ Affairs receiving 24 housing vouchers for LGBTQ older adults through the Housing Authority.
We support continuing grants through LGBTQ Affairs to help LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness.
We encourage the Office of Aging, Office of LGBTQ Affairs, and the Housing Authority to work together to address the unmet housing needs of LGBTQ adults, specifically seniors.
We support creating a staff position at Veterans Affairs to support LGBTQ veterans and servicemembers in partnership with LGBTQ Affairs.
Interagency coordination is unavoidable given that the LGBTQ community crosses every other demographic. Greater clarity from the Mayor’s office regarding the funds in question would be helpful.