Members of PFFC’s Downtown DC Public Restroom Initiative, their advisors, and other supporters have delivered more than 40 presentations at DC Council Oversight and Budget hearings. We have testified in support of:
- The need for more clean, safe public restrooms in needed areas of DC;
- Bill 22-0223, Public Restroom Facilities Installation and Promotion Act of 2018
- Funding in DC’s FY 2020 budget needed to implement Law 22-280 with the same title
In the near future, members of DC Public Restrooms will be delivering testimonies at DC Council FY 2022 oversight and FY 2023 budget hearings supporting the need for additional funds in DC’s FY 2023 to cover a shortfall in funding for the standalone public restroom pilot.
In England, where I lived until 2015 and also served in a downtown Church, lack of clean, safe, public restrooms is not a problem. Our local governments appreciate that access to clean, safe public restrooms is critical for personal and public health. Accordingly, they have made an effort to install clean, safe public restrooms in multiple locations. We even have apps which direct us to these restrooms!
I myself am homeless and once walked more than ten blocks, from Gallery Place to George Washington University Hospital, before someone let me use the bathroom. Metro stations will not let anyone into their restrooms and most stores keep their doors locked. Even the stores I regularly buy from would not let me in, they said their restrooms were closed. Of course, the situation was becoming more urgent as time passed. If I didn’t make it, I would have been too embarrassed to catch the bus I needed.
My business is not a retail establishment, so we don’t have to clean up anything that someone may have left behind when they couldn’t get to a restroom in time. But I can tell you if you ever need a reminder that it’s Monday, simply walk down the alley between 20th and 19th and L and M streets and the odor will make it clear. We have clients who often drive or, in good weather, walk through that alley. It can be embarrassing.
As someone who has a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) who often needs a restroom urgently, I struggle to find one that is open and available in our city. In the past, I have shared many stories of unfortunate accidents that I have experienced due to the lack of access to restrooms throughout the city, but I will spare you the stories this time.
Testimonies delivered at DC Council Oversight Hearings
Since 2014 members of PFFC’s Public Restroom Committee, joined by our advisors and supporters, have testified at a number of yearly oversight hearings.
Listed below, by year, are testimonies delivered at hearings focusing on the Departments of Health, Human Services, General Services, Public Works, Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization, Transportation and Environment, Small and Local Business Development.