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More than 5,500 households have begun or completed applications for Baltimore City’s $13 million rental assistance program, according to Tammy Hawley, spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Housing.

Applications for the program, which aims to prevent mass evictions by paying April, May and June rent for renters who have lost income due to COVID-19, were due at 7 p.m. Sunday. The payments go directly to landlords. 

The department sought to help at least 6,000 households and may have leftover funds. 

Seth Sawyers/flickr

The unions that represent teachers, administrators and other school employees in Baltimore County are calling for students to begin the school year at home, doing online learning. 

The unions said Monday at a news conference that school buildings are unsafe. 

Marie McSweeney Anderson

While we can do a lot more now than we could in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are those who have decided to remain on lockdown.

They are taking a pass on seeing family and friends, as well as going to work, a restaurant, the gym, the mall and church.

They are staying in phase 1 in a phase 2 world.

Jamyla Krempel

Trans activists and allies took over several blocks of N. Charles Street Friday to paint a new street mural reading “BLACK TRANS LIVES MATTER,” as reckonings over race and health continue to play out across the country. 

The mural, stretching from 21st to 23rd St., is on the same set of streets that many Black trans women perform survival sex work -- that is, the practice of trading sex for basic needs. Some of them have been killed or died from overdoses.

 

edkohler/flickr creative commons

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Maryland, Baltimore resident Chantel Outlaw was able to pay her rent. But shortly after the state went under lockdown, Outlaw lost her job at a fast food restaurant, leaving her behind on rent for months. Unemployment benefits she applied for in April did not come until mid-June. She applied for several jobs with no luck. 

“It was really, really nerve-wracking,” she said. “Just trying to figure out if I’m going to be able to keep a roof over my head, when I’m going to be able to put food on the table for my children.” 

 

John Lee

Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Darryl Williams will look into whether hate symbols like the Confederate flag should be banned in the county schools.

The Baltimore County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to order the inquiry and directed Williams to report back by January.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Maryland officials have uncovered a scheme to defraud the state unemployment insurance program of $501 million dollars, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday.

 

Speaking at a press conference, Hogan said the “sophisticated criminal enterprise” used stolen identities to file more than 47,500 fraudulent claims. He said the state was alerted to the scheme because of an unusually high number of out-of-state claims. 

Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

Parents are wrestling with the question of whether to send their kid into the classroom this fall, log them on, or come up with Option C.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­What to do about school. It is the only thing parents talk and think about.

Will it be 100% virtual? 100% in-person?  A hybrid model with some in-person teaching?  Will masks actually be worn? Could shields and dividers help? Why not have all classes outside? Transportation issues, bathroom access…recess? 

John Lee

Baltimore County School Superintendent Darryl Williams said Tuesday night that he is leaning towards not reopening school buildings in September. Instead, county students would pick up where they left off in the spring, with virtual learning from home.

The Baltimore County School Board Tuesday night heard from Williams and other members of his staff about what the next school year will look like.

WYPR’s John Lee monitored the meeting and discussed what happened with Morning Edition host Nathan Sterner.

Noah Walker

As school systems throughout Maryland wrestle with questions of how to open in the fall a statewide coalition of educators called on state leaders Tuesday to open schools as virtual academies, not only in the fall, but for at least the first semester.

The Maryland State Education Association, the Baltimore Teachers Union, and the Maryland PTA asked Governor Hogan and state schools Superintendent Karen Salmon to “not roll the dice” on the students’ and teachers’ health this fall.

Earlier this year, the union that represents editorial workers at the Baltimore Sun launched an effort to wrest control of the paper from its owner, Chicago based Tribune Company.

Now, that movement has spread to nine other Tribune-owned papers in six states because the journalists at those papers fear the influence of a New York hedge fund.

Noah Walker

Baltimore City School administrators haven’t made any decisions yet about how classes will be held in the upcoming school year, but they’ve announced some possibilities.  And they’re asking students, teachers, and families to engage on the topic through surveys, virtual town halls, and focus groups throughout July.

CHARM TV

The Baltimore City Council voted favorably on a prominent charter amendment to restructure city government on Monday night. WYPR’s Emily Sullivan and Nathan Sterner discuss what "good government" charter amendments may appear on Baltimore voters’ ballots in November.

Mary Rose Madden

In the midst of Baltimore's sweltering summer heat, the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks offers some relief.

Five city pools open on July 13: Cherry Hill Splash, Clifton Park, Patterson Park, Riverside, and Roosevelt Park. Five more will open July 20. But, Reggie Moore, the director of the city's Recreation and Parks said, there will be some restrictions.

“Starting July 6th, you can start registering for a time slot to swim in our pools,” Moore said. The time slots will be in “hour and half hour increments.”

AP/PATRICK SEMANSKY

 

Baltimore City has extended the deadline for applications for its temporary rental assistance program to July 19. Applications were originally due at 7 p.m. Monday, July 13. 

The city launched the program July 1 to help residents who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It aims to prevent mass evictions by paying April, May and June rent to landlords. 

 

Michael Braverman, commissioner of the city’s Department of Housing and Community Development, said 4,000 applications have been submitted thus far and that he is aiming to help 6,000 households.

 

Teachers Association of Baltimore County

Baltimore County teachers have a lot of questions about what the reopening of schools in September might look like.

TABCO, the Teachers Association of Baltimore County, plans to meet Thursday to draw up a list of concerns for school administrators.

Bruce Fingerhood/flickr creative commons

Parking meter enforcement will resume in Baltimore on Monday, months after the city suspended nonessential activities as the coronavirus pandemic first arrived in Maryland.

“As people continue to move around and be outside, it is important as we continue through Phase Two that we return many of our services to help our economy recover,” Mayor Jack Young said in a statement.

Rachel Baye / WYPR


Maryland public schools will likely operate this fall with a hybrid of in-person and virtual classes. Gov. Larry Hogan told NBC’s Chuck Todd Sunday that he expects a report this week from state schools Superintendent Karen Salmon. 

 

Maryland won’t “be rushed into” reopening schools full-time this fall, Hogan said. “I think everybody would like to get our kids back to school as quickly as we can, but we also want to do it and make sure that our kids are going to be as safe as possible.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A COVID-19 outbreak at the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center has caused the state to pause classes at the youth detention center and send educational staff home indefinitely. 

 

At least six staff at the facility have confirmed cases of COVID-19, officials said Friday.

SCREENSHOT VIA CHARMTV FACEBOOK PAGE

Mayor Jack Young said Thursday that protestors who tossed a downtown Baltimore statue of Christopher Columbus into the Inner Harbor engaged in destruction of property and will be brought to justice. 

“We support peaceful protests. That is not a peaceful protest,” the Democrat said at a Thursday news conference. “When we find out who destroyed the statue they will be held accountable.”

J Holsey Photography


  A Maryland legislator is calling for a ban on confederate flags and other hate symbols in the Baltimore County Public Schools.

She was asked to submit the request for a ban by a Black Lives Matter group in a part of the county that is overwhelmingly white.

 

Baltimore County Public Schools


  Students, teachers and administrators who say Baltimore County schools have a problem of systemic racism, laid bare their feelings in an online forum Wednesday.

 

Rachel Baye / WYPR

The pool of money that pays for Maryland unemployment benefits, the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, is running out of money. As a result, Maryland businesses could be forced to pay more into the fund. 

 

State Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson told a group of lawmakers and community leaders on Thursday that, after paying a “record number of applicants,” the fund has about $615 million left — a little more than the benefits paid out since March 9.

From Live Stream

Mayor Jack Young announced Thursday morning a partnership with the Baltimore City Health Department, Johns Hopkins Medicine, the University of Maryland Medical Center and BUILD to increase mobile on-demand testing across the city. The city will begin opening the new testing sites next week. 

Rachel Baye / WYPR


On Election Day this November, Marylanders will be able to cast ballots at their regular polling places, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday in a letter to the State Board of Elections. However, voters who want to vote by mail will have to submit ballot applications.

 

The plan is a departure from the June primary, ahead of which all registered voters were mailed ballots. Instead, the state will send all registered voters applications for mail-in ballots.

Rachel Baye/WYPR

Gov. Larry Hogan hasn’t ruled out a 2024 presidential run, the Republican said on NBC’s The Today Show Wednesday morning.

The governor, whose public pushback of President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic garnered significant attention from the national press, appeared on the program to discuss his upcoming political memoir, a telltale sign of presidential ambition.

Baltimore County

Overcrowded schools have been a profound problem in Baltimore County for three decades.

That’s according to a county councilman who wants to create a task force to study the law that controls developments in school districts.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced Monday that he is allocating additional funds to support residents struggling to pay rent due to COVID-19. 

Last month, the county set aside $1 million of its federal and state emergency assistance funds to prevent evictions. After receiving 1500 applications, the county is now allocating an additional $1 million in federal CARES Act funding. 

 

The county is also allocating $2 million in grant funding for Phase 2 of its eviction prevention program.

 

 

Colin's Restaurant

The economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been a deathknell for some businesses. But others are thriving.

Baltimore County is trying to figure out why some businesses are doing well, and how the others that are tanking might be helped.

from livestream

Baltimore community members and grassroots organizers gathered in front of City Hall Thursday afternoon to demand that the city and state do more to protect tenants and those experiencing homelessness. 

Speakers included residents who spoke of their experiences living in local homeless shelters amid the coronavirus (COVID-19 pandemic). They also read original poems and presented artwork. 

 

Mayor Jack Young launched a $13 million pandemic rental assistance program on Wednesday, and Gov. Larry Hogan announced a $30 million fund to prevent evictions last Friday. But advocates say that this is not enough.

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