Aid for Local Groups on the Front Lines of the Migrant Humanitarian Crisis
Hello District Neighbors,
Our office has a strong track record of standing up for immigrants and taking action to improve public safety across the District. In response to the Texas and Arizona Governors’ callous decision to bus thousands of migrants to the District, we created a new grant program to provide immediate support to these vulnerable people.
Last week, our office announced that we will give a total of $150,000 in grant funds to six local organizations that are providing critical humanitarian assistance and services on the front lines helping migrants coming to the District without any resources or support. We will continue to do everything we can to support and help this community.
Our office has worked to protect the rights and safety of immigrant communities and has challenged several federal laws and practices that unfairly target immigrant communities, from the Muslim travel ban to limitations on asylum, the termination of Temporary Protected Status for Haitian-born residents, the Trump administration’s attacks on DACA, family separation, and more. We have also advocated for states and localities that have instituted pro-immigrant policies by helping to protect public safety funding for sanctuary cities and to limit local resources for federal immigration-crackdowns.
You can read more about the organizations that will receive funding here.
Creating New, Affordable Housing at Congress Heights and Holding Slumlords Accountable
As a result of our major legal victory against the slumlords and developers who tried to force long-time Black residents out of their homes at the Congress Heights Apartments, the long-neglected 47-unit complex will be transformed into 179 units of affordable apartments and significant retail opportunities. This week, I attended a press conference announcing the historic new investment.
The Congress Heights Apartments were the subject of our office’s first-ever lawsuit to protect tenants and preserve affordable housing back in 2016. Since this lawsuit was filed, we’ve secured multiple victories that have held landlords accountable for endangering tenants and had a positive impact on the lives of Washingtonians. As of early 2022, we’ve returned more than more than $3 million to District tenants and won judgements that will return another more than $1.3 million to tenants who were wronged by their landlords.
Calling on District Residents to Nominate Inspiring Youth for Right Direction Awards
We are kicking off our call for nominees for the 6th Right Direction Awards to celebrate District youth who have overcome significant obstacles and are positively affecting the community. At our office, we have worked to harness the energy of District youth and help propel them forward so they can thrive and become the next leaders and changemakers of the District. That’s what these awards are all about.
Established in 2015, the Right Direction Awards has celebrated over 150 inspiring young people in the District. This year’s theme is “DC’s Most Influential Under 24,” and will showcase youth ages 14-24 who have demonstrated great leadership in the community and who are positive role models.
We need your help identifying exceptional young people and nominating them for a Right Direction Award by Wednesday, October 5, 2022 at 11:59pm EST.
Click here to learn more about the awards and nominate someone you know.
White House Roundtable on Tech Platform Accountability
Last week, I was pleased to join a White House Roundtable to speak about our office’s tech and privacy work, diagnosing the problem of privacy and competition in the tech industry at-large, and discuss newly introduced federal privacy legislation, the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA).
Alongside senior White House officials and privacy experts, we talked about how the rise in tech platforms and growth of tech companies has led to new challenges and potential for abuse, including anti-competitive marketplace practices and threats to consumers’ personal information.
Read a full readout of the conversation from the White House here.
College Bound Gun Violence Town Hall
Over the weekend, I spoke at a panel hosted by College Bound, Inc., a DC-based non-profit that offers public and private charter school students in grades 8-12 resources to prepare for college, on gun violence in the DC metropolitan area.
We discussed gun violence intervention and how to reach individuals before they get involved in violent crime in addition to how we can help communities respond to and heal from such traumatic events. Our primary role at this office is to protect District residents and to advance public safety. I spoke about how every day the hundreds of employees at our office work to advocate for DC residents by standing up for consumers and protecting them from scammers, fraudsters, and others who would take advantage of them, protecting vulnerable, low-income tenants and preserving affordable housing by suing neglectful landlords, defending workers by fighting wage theft and making sure they get the wages and fair treatment they deserve, and investing in and supporting our youth by addressing trauma and the root causes of crime when working to prevent them from reoffending.
Educational Webinar on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PLSF) Program
Our office, alongside the DC Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking as well as the Student Borrower Protection Center, held a student loan repayment webinar last week on the Public Service Loans Forgiveness (PSLF) program.
This webinar followed information we received indicating that at least one student loan servicer provided inaccurate information about the PSLF program to thousands of DC residents. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Education temporarily relaxed some of the rules around its PSLF program.
If you are a teacher, first responder, government worker, nonprofit employee, or other public servant, you have until October 31 to apply for the PSLF program under relaxed rules that may help you reach forgiveness sooner.
Calling on the Federal Government to Reduce Single-Use Plastics Consumption
Our office led a coalition of 10 Attorneys General in calling on the Biden Administration to phase out single-use plastics consumption by the US government, the largest consumer of supplies and services in the world. We must stop clogging waterways, harming wildlife, and infiltrating drinking water with plastic waste.
Changes to the federal government’s procurement policies regarding these harmful materials would be a significant first step in reducing usage nationwide and paving the way for states to follow.
Read the full letter here.
Sign up to Receive a Report From our Office
I know many of you are loyal readers of this newsletter—because, among other reasons, you made it this far down! If you’re interested in learning more about our office and our work, I invite you to sign up to receive the physical copy of our office’s report this fall. It will provide information on where you can report everything from consumer protection violations to acts of discrimination. It will also show how far the office has come in the last seven years and will include a special message from me as I reflect on my time as Attorney General.