Best Practices in Safety Net Programs to Inform an Equitable COVID-19 Recovery

As the US slowly recovers from a long COVID-19 pandemic, US cities and states have an unprecedented opportunity to pursue an inclusive recovery. District of Columbia leaders can harness federal recovery funds to improve on the city’s track record of economic and racial inclusion for historically excluded populations. In this memo, we address best practices and policies for safety net enhancements and reforms in DC. Building on key stakeholder recommendations provided at Council’s May 21, 2021, safety net hearing, we identify research-and evidence-based policies and practices that DC can use to generate productive outcomes, as well as provide relevant examples from the emerging recovery plans in other places. In this memorandum, we define the scope of the safety net as including cash, as well as support for utilities, shelter, and food.