WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — The District council is considering major reforms to a DC housing program, but not everyone supports the proposed changes.

On Thursday, the council held a public hearing on the Rapid Re-housing Reform Amendment Act. The proposed legislation would make several changes to the Rapid Re-housing program, which is overseen by the Department of Human Services.

Currently, the program “is a time-limited housing and support designed to assist families experiencing homelessness – or at imminent risk of experiencing homelessness – to afford dignified and safe housing in the private market,” according to the DHS website.

Rental assistance and other services are provided for 12 to 18 months, depending on the situation. These services include the first month’s rent, security deposit and mandatory case management. Families must be referred through another DHS program, like a shelter.

The bill would reform how the program works, addressing some major concerns of those in it.

“Is this program here designed to help aid me, or not?” Arica Moody said during Thursday’s hearing. Moody is a participant in the program.

“It has been very detrimental to my mental health causing headaches, stress and anxiety and depression. The only time you hear from case management is to inform you of how much time you have left in the program,” she said.

“Although I was approved for the program it was not until nine months and a legal team later that I ever received any money from the Rapid Re-housing program,” Shay-Queen Darby said during the public hearing. “I was told I fell off their radar. This is what ultimately led to months of neglect by the Rapid Re-housing program.”

If passed, the legislation would do several things: ensure no family pays more than 30% of their income on rent; require all participants to be assessed for permanent housing vouchers; make case management optional and establish criteria for targeted affordable housing vouchers.

“I think if this draft legislation passes it’ll dramatically reform the program and the program will actually have a chance of being successful,” said Amber Harding with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless.

Harding has been critical of the program and said it often leads to eviction because people can no longer afford their rent when the subsidy program ends. She believes the proposed changes are a good thing.

“Families will feel more supported, they won’t feel set up to fail,” said Harding.

Laura Green Zeilinger, director of the Department of Human Services, doesn’t agree.

“DHS does not support the proposed legislation,” she said.

According to Zeilinger, the proposed changes would do more harm than good.

“These provisions make Rapid Re-housing basically no different than voucher programs operated by the DC Housing Authority. The agency does not support this provision because it effectively creates a right to affordable housing through the homeless system,” she said.

Zeilinger explained the purpose of Rapid Re-housing is to be temporary by nature and not permanent. She also said the proposed changes do not address the root issue with the Rapid Re-housing program, which is that there is not enough affordable housing in the District.

“The homeless system cannot solve the affordable housing crisis,” she said. “Unfortunately, Rapid Re-housing does not end poverty. It does not erase the inequities and discrimination that are the root causes of poverty and homelessness.”

“Rapid Re-housing provides a path out of homelessness, support for a period of time expecting that people will seek and find employment,” she said.