A lot of people came out to testify at the Task Force East of the River hearing, but there was one gentleman who truly stood out.
Below you will find the manuscript of his testimony:
Good afternoon, my name is Robert Morina. I live at the DC General Shelter with my two sons–13 and 4 years old. My sons and I have lived there since December 22, 2011.
I worked 25 years for the federal government, 15 years in the Army National Guard. While I was working, I developed sciatica nerve damage and could no longer work.
I receive per month $706 in SSDI, $12 in SSI, and $336 in TANF. So I can longer afford the rent I was paying while I was working. All the places I’ve tried to find to love are run by slumlords, but they were the only places I could afford and that would rent to me based on my limited income. I get turned away from places I would like to live because the landlords say I need to earn 4 times my monthly income in order to support my family after paying rent. I need a voucher in order to afford high rents in the District. And the shelter itself tries to find places for my family to live, but they are all in bad neighborhoods.
My oldest son is an “A” student, city-wide spelling bee champion, plays chess and football. I want to see my kids continue to excel but that can’t happen unless I find a place I can afford where my kids can play outside and I’m not worried about their safety and where they can go to a good school.
I want the DC government to help not only my family but other families-help them not just find a place to live but develop a plan that enables families to find decent, affordable places to live in safe neighborhoods. The city needs to invest in renovating abandoned homes into affordable housing and building affordable housing in good neighborhoods.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.