Resources for Planners During COVID-19 Crisis

Planetizen has compiled an extensive list of resources and tools that planners can utilize during the COVID-19 pandemic. The outbreak of COVID-19 has challenged many public policy departments to look for new ways to combat the spread of the disease, and may also be changing the way professionals plan for the future. Planetizen has put together an article that includes new mapping resources, data visualization tools, and links to innovative ways jurisdictions throughout the country…

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Howard Council Introduces COVID-19 Rental Protection Bill

Emergency legislation introduced by the Howard County Council aims to protect residential and commercial renters.  The bill seeks to protect and stabilize thousands of renters and businesses in Howard County from having their rent increased or services cut during the pandemic. The Baltimore Sun reports: The Rental Protection and Stability Act would prevent residential and commercial landlords from increasing rents during the state of the emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic and for up to…

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Anne Arundel Executive Announces Financial Protections for Residents

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman announced a new Anne Arundel County program, developed with the Local Development Council, to help residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Eviction Prevention Program, designed to help renters "struggling to pay rent or utility bills because of recent job loss or employment disruption in the wake of the COVID-19 public health crisis," will provide assistance to households with incomes up to 80% of Area Median Income adjusted for household…

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Baltimore County Libraries Expand External WiFi

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) branches will now offer new exterior WiFi resources to support residents. Residents will be required to remain in their vehicles and adhere to all guidelines. BCPL Director Paula Miller acknowledged that internet access is critical for everyone during this time and said she is "thrilled with this solution" that allows branches to support members of the community. From the press release: “This crisis has…

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Federal COVID Assistance? Here’s What We Know

A Maryland analysis of the elements of federal emergency funding has been released - with a partial picture of what to expect across multiple governments and functions. The Department of Legislative Services presented an analysis of federal COVID-19 response funding provisions, offering the most Maryland-level detail yet seen. The 5-page analysis is available on the General Assembly website. From coverage in the Baltimore Sun: The largest amount coming to Maryland will be a $2.3 billion…

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Governor’s Orders Ban Foreclosures and Evictions During Coronavirus Pandemic

Governor Larry Hogan has issued additional executive emergency orders that (1) prohibits lenders from commencing foreclosures and (2) expands the ban on evictions to cover commercial and industrial properties in addition to residential properties. The Baltimore Business Journal reports: Nearly 70 banks, lenders and other institutions statewide have agreed to offer a 90-day forbearance and deferral period on payments, and will not be charging late fees so long as customers reach out to the providers…

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Counties Promote Census Day… on Twitter

Census data is used to allocate billions of dollars in federal funding for education, health, transportation, housing, community services, and job training. Moreover, businesses and industries decide where to locate new facilities and services based on census data, creating new jobs and promoting economic growth. An accurate census count, or lack thereof, has a lasting effect on counties, particularly when it comes to the distribution of federal funds. An under-counted population may lead to a…

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Montgomery County Libraries Announce Digital Library Cards

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) reported that an array of digital services will be available for members of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced closures of the physical branches. Individuals will not be able to sign up for a Digital Library Card which will give members immediate access to most online services and resources. From MCPL's Press Release: “Our buildings are closed, but the libraries are very much open for business,” said…

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USDA Supports Rural Communities During COVID-19 Outbreak

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is stepping in to help rural communities suffering from financial hardships due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus. Actions include a moratorium on evictions for residents that have received a home loan through USDA, waving many different program requirements, and extending certain deadlines. From the press release: USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19…

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