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Baltimore City could approve plan to give one-time payment to thousands of families in need

Posted at 8:46 PM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 07:39:24-05

BALTIMORE — Relief could soon be on the way for more than 10,000 low-income families in Baltimore.

On Wednesday, the board of estimates will vote on the city’s COVID-19 emergency assistance program, which looks to give up to 15,000 families a one-time payment of $400 on a prepaid card.

If approved, the program would launch on March 1st.

The city plans to use $6 million from the Baltimore Youth Fund, which had a surplus, to fund the program.

The Mayor’s Office of Children and Family Success will take the lead on effort, but the city will also partner with a dozen community-based organizations to identify families who need the assistance the most.

Tisha Edwards, who is the executive director, said the program will target those disproportionately affected by the pandemic such as minority communities, undocumented immigrants as well as people who are still waiting on unemployment benefits.

“It’s an opportunity to give them dignity and agency to get what they need in order to get through this really difficult time,” she said.

Throughout the pandemic, Edwards said the city has given out more than 7 million meals, adding 3,000 people have requested assistance to pay their rent.

Cathy Pitchford works with the Center for Urban Families. It’s one of the organizations partnering with the city.

She’s seen firsthand how the pandemic has impacted families and believes this money will go a long way to help them pay their bills and put food on the table.

“They’re calling because they don’t have food. They can’t pay their phone bills,” Pitchford said. “That 400 dollars can really help families.”

She added, “it’s a lot to family that has little or nothing.”