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The GroundTruth Project

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Baltimore Mayor Jack Young is calling on city residents to respond to the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau announced last week that counting efforts will end on Sept. 30, four weeks earlier than originally planned.

“This is something each of us can do to help the future of our city. It only takes 10 minutes, but it's that important,” Young said at a press conference Wednesday morning. 

Young said responding to the census is more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. For each person not counted, the city loses $18,000 of federal funding for various services over the course of 10 years, he said.

SARAH Y. KIM

At least two people died and at least seven were critically injured after a gas explosion in Northwest Baltimore that destroyed three homes Monday morning. 

The explosion, which occurred near Labyrinth and Reisterstown roads shortly before 10 a.m., damaged surrounding homes. More than 200 rescue personnel from Baltimore City and surrounding counties were on the scene through the evening, searching for victims trapped in the rubble. The cause of the explosion is still unknown.

 

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Dr. Jay Perman, Chancellor of the University System of Maryland, said Thursday he decided to open the state’s 12 public colleges and universities with combined in-person and virtual learning this fall based on student feedback. 

“If we took a blanket approach and said nobody can come to campus I don’t think we would be serving the public good,” Perman said at a press call.

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Tropical Storm Isaias struck the Mid Atlantic this morning, bringing inland freshwater flooding and strong gusts of winds to Baltimore City. 

While heavy rainfall subsided early this afternoon, James Wallace, Acting Director of the City’s Emergency Management Office, says residents should be vigilant for storm-related hazards. 

“While the ground remains saturated, high winds are always a concern because they'll start to bring down trees and bring down power lines,” he said. 

Patrick Semansky/AP PHOTO

More than halfway through the year of the 2020 Census, barely half of Baltimore residents have responded to the decennial survey, well below the rates for Maryland and the nation.

Fernando Armstrong, a regional Census Bureau director, says only 52.5% of Baltimoreans have responded, compared to Maryland’s rate of 66.6% and the national response rate of nearly 63%.

Armstrong says it’s not unusual for census response rates in larger cities to trail behind national rates. 

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Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh sent a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan today, asking him to extend and expand on eviction protections.  

The letter requests that Hogan implement a moratorium on evictions until Jan. 31 and provide more rental assistance. 

“This is money that is, I believe, absolutely essential not just to the folks who are about to lose their homes, but to their landlords and everybody else,” Frosh said in an interview with WYPR.

The letter also asks Hogan to renew executive orders that protect Marylanders from debt collection and termination of utilities . 

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Applications for Governor Larry Hogan’s $10 million assisted housing relief program are due this week. The program will use federal CARES Act funds to provide rental assistance to tenants affected by COVID-19. Property management companies will receive direct payment from the program for April through July rent. 

While the tentative deadline is currently noon on July 31, the program may close before that date. Gregory Hare, who is overseeing the program, says that the housing department will be accepting applications on a first come first serve basis.