$523 Million One-Time Federal Emergency Funds Given to PA to Support Schools

May 13th, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that the U.S. Department of Education has passed Pennsylvania’s request for $523 Million to support school districts. This money will be used on services such as food, professional training, technology purchases, sanitization and cleaning supplies, summer and after-school programs, and mental health supports.

Schools are being urged to prioritize families who are in need, impoverished, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.

This information was provided by https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/pennsylvania-receives-523-million-in-one-time-federal-emergency-funds-to-support-schools/ .

Gov. Wolf Extends Stay at Home Order to June 4th, 2020

The May 8th stay at home order has now been extended to June 4th, Governor Tom Wolf announced.

In addition to this new stay at home order, 24 counties have been moved to the “yellow phase.” These counties include: Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango, and Warren.

Source: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-sec-of-health-take-actions-on-stay-at-home-orders-issue-yellow-phase-orders/

Councilmembers to Introduce Pandemic Housing Protections

Philadelphia City Councilmembers Helen Gym, Kendra Brooks, and Jamie Gauthier  introduced a package of bills protecting renters for the duration of the pandemic and the ensuing economic fallout.

 

The six bills and one resolution, known as the Emergency Housing Protection package, were introduced May 1, 2020, during which council considered a revised budget submitted by the mayor.

 

The legislation would extend the eviction moratorium, create a renter repayment plan and an eviction diversion program, subsidize rents and wave late fees for the duration of the crisis, allow renters who are illegally displaced to recover damages, and appeals to the state and federal government to stabilize the housing market.

 

“Earlier this month, nearly a third of our nations 13.5 million renters were unable to pay their April rent,” Councilmember Helen Gym said via Facebook Live. “And we anticipate those numbers will significantly worsen when rent is due tomorrow.”

 

Gym said Philadelphia municipal courts had a backlog of between 1500-2000 evictions due to be heard when courts are once again open.

 

Councilmember Jamie Gauthier said the first bill would allow renters experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic to enter into payment plans with their landlords.

 

“As city councilmembers, we do not have the authority to cancel rent or provide mortgage relief to landlords at the local level,” Gauthier said. “But the next best thing we can do is give renters resources that they might not otherwise have in negotiations with their landlord.”

 

The bill would allow renters the ability to enter into a payment plan with their landlord for up to 12 months if the renter lost their job or had their hours reduced as a result of the pandemic. Renters would be able to enter into the payment plans if they themselves or a family member contracted the virus. According to the bill, tenants would pay their monthly rent, as well as a monthly repayment installment, once the 12-month period begins.

 

The bill also stipulates landlords inform tenants of the repayment plan 60 days before initiating an eviction proceeding.

 

The second bill allows renters who are illegally locked out of their home to take action against their landlord by filing with the Fair Housing Commission or the Court of Common Pleas.

 

“Illegal evictions are a traumatic event, and people are struggling through this pandemic enough as it is,” Gauthier said. “We need to make sure Philadelphians do not experience compounding problems as a result of this crisis.”

 

Councilmember Kendra Brooks intends to introduce a rent-stabilization bill that will continue for a year after the crisis. The bill would limit the amount landlords can increase rents, retroactive to Mar. 1, 2020. Brooks is also introducing a bill to waived late fees on rent during the crisis and for two months after.

 

“When we’re out of work, late fees and penalties go up,” Brooks said. “Eliminating fees will decrease the amount of debt struggling renters accrue.”

 

Gym is calling for an extension of the eviction moratorium for 60 days after the lifting of the emergency order. This bill would also apply to businesses renting space that employ under 100 employees.

 

Also, Gym is sponsoring legislation creating an eviction diversion program that will run through Dec. 31, 2020. The program will require renters and landlords to enter into mediation prior to the filing of an eviction

 

There is uncertainty surrounding the efficacy and financial commitment the city can make to these efforts due to probable cuts to the budget, which could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

 

After introduction, the legislation will be referred to appropriate committees, most likely seeing final passage in three to four weeks.

 

 

 

 

Found In Translation – Simply Fabuloso

The “Simply Fabuloso” episode of FIT featuring Zoe Colon Orlando FL DeShawn Chapman Elbert Garcia join WPPM Producer, Ray Collazo, to discuss this week’s news headlines, review Nicky Jam’s Nextflix docuseries “El Ganador,” and announce the celebrity guests that will be appearing on Thursday’s “Seven Year Anniversary Show.”

PASNAP President Advocates for More Testing and PPE for Healthcare Workers

WPPM producers, Vanessa Maria Graber and Larry McGlynn interview Maureen May, President of the Pennsylvania Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) Union about the conditions healthcare workers are subjected to on the front line. She advocated for more testing and Personal Protective Equipment for healthcare workers.