Baltimore City Council Calls on Public Officials and Private Institutions to Come Together to Support Vulnerable Populations
For Immediate Release
Friday, March 13, 2020
Baltimore City Council Calls on Governor, Health Commissioner, Public and Private Institutions to Come Together to Support Vulnerable Populations
BALTIMORE, MD (March 13, 2020) — Members of the Baltimore City Council, led by Council President Brandon M. Scott, released a statement Friday morning on the need for additional support to vulnerable populations, such as seniors, students, and wage workers, in response to COVID-19-related precautions.
Councilmembers are also requesting updates about the scope of the pandemic, the city’s level of preparedness, and where residents can go for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
This week, the World Health Organization upgraded the COVID-19 coronavirus to a pandemic. While there are no confirmed cases in Baltimore City, the State of Maryland has twelve confirmed cases of the coronavirus. In this time of uncertainty, the people of Baltimore are looking to their public officials for guidance, leadership, and unity.
Measures announced by the Governor yesterday are important; the simple fact is that drastic measures are needed to slow the spread of this virus.
While the health of our entire community is of the utmost importance, we are concerned about how we support our most vulnerable populations. This includes our seniors, youth who may go hungry if schools close, people experiencing homelessness, people working paycheck-to-paycheck, wage-workers who rely on tips, and people who are incarcerated.
With some workplaces closed and others negatively impacted by COVID-19, we must ensure residents do not lose their homes or access to utilities for failure to pay. We must take care of our seniors and students, many of whom rely on senior centers and schools for regular meals.
We call on our federal, state, and city governments, as well as the business community and private sector, to come together and provide for the protections enumerated below. This information should be communicated to the public and be made accessible as soon as possible to preserve public health and public safety during this pandemic.
*Moratorium on utility shutoffs, including water, gas, electric, internet, and cell phone service;
*Plan for mortgage payment relief;
*Plan for relief from utility bills;
*Plan to feed the city’s most vulnerable residents, including children and seniors, now that schools and senior centers are closed;
*Plan for how people will get treatment if hospitals become overcrowded;
*Plan to allow pharmacies to best serve our communities and fill the unmet needs presented by COVID-19;
*Plan from the Small Business Administration to stabilize and provide relief for small businesses;
*Commitment to establishing a special health care enrollment period for people who are uninsured so they may access insurance benefits;
*Commitment to organizing a joint food drive in partnership with local food pantries to deliver canned goods to vulnerable residents;
*Detailed preparedness plan for providing for the needs of people who are experiencing homelessness and incarcerated;
*Detailed preparedness and point-of-entry plan for people relying on homeless shelters;
*Assurance that essential updates, information, materials, hotlines, and notices pertaining to the coronavirus will be communicated regularly and provided in multiple languages.
This crisis is serious, and we are urging Baltimoreans to use caution and take it seriously. But we also know this City is resilient, and so are our people.
We are strong and will get through this by looking after one another.
City Council President Brandon Scott
City Council Vice President Sharon Green Middleton - District 6
Councilman Zeke Cohen - District 1
Councilwoman Danielle McCray - District 2
Councilman Ryan Dorsey - District 3
Councilman Bill Henry - District 4
Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer - District 5
Councilman Leon Pinkett III - District 7
Councilman Kristerfer Burnett - District 8
Councilman John Bullock - District 9
Councilman Edward Reisinger - District 10
Councilman Robert Stokes - District 12
Councilwoman Shannon Sneed - District 13
Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke – District 14
Brandon M. Scott | office: 410-396-4804 | fax: 410-396-4414
City Hall, 100 N. Holliday Street (Room 400), Baltimore, Maryland 21202