Mayor Scott Announces $2 Million “Direct Care Worker Relief” Grant Alongside 1199SEIU

Crest of the City of Baltimore

Brandon M. Scott
Mayor,
Baltimore City
250 City Hall - Baltimore Maryland 21202
(410) 396-3835 - Fax: (410) 576-9425

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds to Distribute $2 Million in Grant Awards to Eligible Applicants in Home Healthcare, Long-Term Care, Nursing Homes

Mayor Brandon M. Scott speaking at SEIU event

BALTIMORE, MD (Wednesday, September 27, 2023) - Yesterday, Mayor Brandon M. Scott, alongside leadership and members of 1199SEIU, announced an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funded investment to provide Baltimore’s direct care and service workers needed relief funds. A $2 million ARPA grant will be provided to 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds (TEF), operating on behalf of the Healthcare Industry Grant Corporation, who will issue the funds to direct care and services workers. Direct care workers continue to play an indispensable role in delivering essential home healthcare, long-term care, and nursing home services during the challenging COVID-19 public health emergency. 

“Despite being overworked and underpaid, Baltimore’s direct care workers have been on the front lines throughout the pandemic, providing essential services to the elderly, disabled, and those needing healthcare assistance,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “This grant reflects our deep gratitude for their unwavering service, dedication, and selflessness. These workers often became a source of companionship and comfort, easing the loneliness and anxiety that many experienced during the pandemic, all while working on the front lines of healthcare during the most challenging days of the public health emergency.”

Baltimore’s direct care workforce is underpaid and overworked as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have lingered for the past three years, stressing an already strained medical system. These workers often provide critical patient care to our most vulnerable community members while subsisting on wages below a livable wage. A Maryland Regional Direct Services Collaborative study states, “Inadequate compensation is the single biggest factor driving the workforce crisis.” The same study cites Maryland’s direct care and services workers are overwhelmingly Black women. Women make up 84 percent of home care workers, 85 percent of workers at assisted living facilities, and 95 percent of workers in nursing homes, while Black workers make up 68 percent of home care workers, 80 percent of workers at assisted living facilities, and 76 percent of workers in nursing homes.

“Baltimore’s direct care workers are dedicated individuals—often unsung heroes—who have been instrumental in safeguarding the health and well-being of our most vulnerable citizens. Their contributions are remarkable, and we appreciate their efforts,” said Chief Recovery Officer Shamiah Kerney. “We hope that direct care workers see this ARPA grant as a gesture of support for their unwavering dedication and service to Baltimore communities.”

Each eligible applicant will receive a direct cash grant of $500. Beneficiaries must meet all of the following qualifications to be eligible to receive an award:

For Homecare Workers:

  • Must be a resident of Baltimore City
  • Must be employed by a Residential Services Agency on the Maryland State Department of Health’s list of approved agencies for a cumulative of at least 6 weeks between March 1, 2020, through August 31, 2022.

For Long Term Care/Nursing Home Workers:

  • Must be a resident of Baltimore City
  • Must be employed by a provider on the Maryland State Department of Health’s list of approved skilled nursing facilities for a cumulative of at least 6 weeks between March 1, 2022, through August 31, 2022.

“1199SEIU is very excited to work with the Mayor’s Office to make this benefit a reality for thousands of Baltimore City Direct Care Workers,” said Joshua Harrold, Regional Director of 1199SEIU TEF Funds, Maryland/DC region. “By directing federal COVID relief funds directly into the pockets of caregivers, Mayor Scott is sending a message that these healthcare workers deserve recognition for the sacrifices they made during the public health emergency. This type of leadership is part of a growing movement to improve the standards and secure the future of care across Maryland.”

The Recovery Office will work closely with 1199SEIU TEF to ensure that these funds are distributed equitably by prioritizing applicants who live in Qualified Census Tract neighborhoods and with incomes within a certain threshold. TEF will provide detailed information on the application timeline and how eligible workers can apply for these grants in the coming days how eligible workers can apply for these grants in the coming days.

About the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided $641 million to the City of Baltimore in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and its negative economic impacts. Mayor Brandon M. Scott has established the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs to transparently and effectively administer this funding on behalf of the City. For additional information, visit the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs website at arp.baltimorecity.gov.

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