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Mayor Bowser Unveils Economic Mobility Action Plan

(Washington, DC) Today, Mayor Bowser launched the DC Upward Mobility Action Plan, a new framework for resident mobility that visualizes how DC residents might take advantage of District housing, financial well-being, and workforce programs to reach their personal and financial goals. The Mobility Action Plan (MAP), led by the Office of the Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) and the Office of Planning (OP), is the result of an interagency effort to better align District programs, policies, and investments to boost residents’ upward economic mobility. 

“We know our city is rich with programs to uplift residents and give more Washingtonians a fair shot, and this effort is about taking a step back to see what’s working, what needs to be improved, and what’s missing,” said Mayor Bowser. “The Mobility Action Plan is about laying out clear pathways to the middle class and making those pathways accessible to DC residents across the income spectrum.” 

The MAP offers recommendations for future actions to enhance coordination and evaluation to ensure District programs are meeting resident needs and advancing economic mobility across the city. Four streams of recommendations are identified in the MAP to be implemented by District agencies and community partners: 1) Improving resident experience with District programs, 2) Aligning economic mobility programs, 3) Measuring economic mobility progress, and 4) Evaluating program effectiveness to improve resident outcomes.   

“The Mobility Action Plan and the work that went into it builds on the bold citywide goals and investments to produce and preserve affordable housing, as well as more recent investments like the Black Homeownership Fund and Food Access Funds that will help close racial wealth gaps and boost economic mobility for our residents,” said Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio.

In early 2021, Washington, DC was selected as one of eight counties for the inaugural Upward Mobility Cohort, led by the Urban Institute and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Over the course of a year, DMPED and OP worked together with 14 core agency partners, more than a dozen community organizations, and over 500 residents to develop the MAP.  

The MAP introduces a three-part framework for boosting upward economic mobility. It starts with approaches that help residents reach economic stability and is followed by measures to boost mobility, with the goal of reaching prosperity. Additionally, the plan lays out three illustrative resident pathways – shown from the perspective of an unhoused individual, a single mother, and a returning citizen – that reflect the populations, themes, and goals that were discussed most frequently during community engagements. A resource guide complements these pathways, offering program descriptions and cross-agency contact information for residents.  

“The collaboration with the Urban Institute has highlighted ways that the District can partner with community groups to eliminate barriers that our residents experience related to economic mobility.  The Mobility Action Plan will guide the work to build vibrant and resilient neighborhoods in a way that helps District households journey from stability through mobility to prosperity.” said Anita Cozart, Interim Director, DC Office of Planning.  

Residents and community partners are encouraged to provide feedback on the MAP to DMPED and the OP team via the survey available at the Upward Mobility website: upwardmobility.dc.gov. The website also includes key economic mobility metrics and data as well as additional resources on District economic mobility programs for residents. The feedback survey is open this summer through July 30.  


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