Tomorrow is Election Day!
Dear Neighbors and Friends,
Tomorrow is Election Day! For everyone heading to the polls, stay safe, practice social distancing and wear your mask. If you have not voted yet, make a plan to vote. Make sure you know where your nearest voting center is located, the time that you are going to vote or if you plan to vote by mail the time you will drop off your ballot at your local drop box. This is your last chance to cast your ballot and let your voice be heard - don’t sit this one out!
On October 30th, Governor Hogan renewed the COVID-19 state of emergency in Maryland, stressing the importance of remaining vigilant as we fight the spread of this virus. The Maryland Department of Health also announced that it would be expanding hours of operation at the Six Flags testing site here in the County.
That same day, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced in a press conference that Prince George’s County will remain in Phase 2 of our reopening plan. This is in response to an increased positivity rate we are seeing in the County, from 3.9% to 4.3%. The previous week also saw 852 new cases, the highest number of new cases in one week in the County since the beginning of August. It is important that we all continue to follow state and local COVID-19 guidelines as we move Maryland forward.
County Executive Alsobrooks announced the relaunch of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), following the program's initial launch in May. Landlords, property managers, and owners will now be responsible for submitting rental assistance applications for their tenants. The amount of rental assistance for tenants has increased to $1,800 per month for up to six months.
Prince George’s County Health Connect (PGC Health Connect), alongside Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) will be holding a series of virtual events in early November to help Marylanders learn more about the open enrollment period for health care coverage under the Maryland Health Connect program. The first event will be held on Tuesday, November 10th at 4 PM and will have translation services available.
Looking forward, I am excited to be participating in the Prince George's County House Delegation Public Hearing on November 19th at 7 PM. This will be a virtual hearing, and all community members are welcome to come and voice their opinions on local pieces of legislation for the upcoming legislative session.
We may not know the results of the election right away, but we must be patient as we await the results. In the words of Robert Kennedy, Jr., “Democracy is messy, and it’s hard. It’s never easy”. I think this election season has clearly display how messy and hard it is to preserve our democracy, but we must continue to participate in our democracy, even after election day.
There are a total of 41 sites for voting on Election Day in Prince George’s County. The polls will be open from 7 AM to 8 PM. You can find a list of voting sites here. To check the status of your mail-in ballot, follow the instructions on Maryland's Voter Look-Up site. If you would like to find a polling place or a drop-off box near you, you can use the Polling Place Look-Up site. The state of Maryland also offers same-day voter registration during early voting and Election Day. You must bring a form of identification showing proof of residency when you go to vote. For more voter FAQs, click here.
Healthcare Open Enrollment Period Information Sessions
PGC Health Connect and PGCMLS will be holding a series of virtual “Get Connected” events throughout early November to help educate Marylanders on the open enrollment period for health insurance. The 2020 upon enrollment period for health and dental insurance is from November 1st through December 15th, and coverage would begin in 2021. The first event, hosted by Café a las Cuatro, a program of PGCMLS, will be held on Tuesday, November 10th at 4 PM. There will be translation services available. To participate, click here. On Tuesday, November 17th at 7 PM, there will be a virtual “Accessing Health Insurance” community town hall. To participate, click here. Beginning on November 1st, there will be PGC Health Connect navigators (many who are bilingual) available at three call centers daily from 9 AM to 4 PM; late evenings until 7 PM; and Saturdays, 10 AM to 4 PM. To talk with a navigator, call (301) 927-4500, (240) 719-2167, or PGC Health Connect’s partner organization, CASA at (301) 270-8432 and (240) 270-1318. For a listing of the hours and times, visit pgchealthconnect.org. Marylanders may also enroll online at marylandhealthconnection.gov, through the free “Enroll MHC” mobile app. or by calling toll-free at 1 (855) 642-8572 from 8 AM to 6 PM on weekdays. To learn more about 2021 health insurance plans and prices, Marylanders can visit marylandhealthconnect.gov/find-help/.
Prince George's County House Delegation Public Hearing
This virtual hearing will be held on Thursday, November 19th at 7 PM. The event will be streaming live on Facebook, as well as through Zoom. To access the Zoom meeting, click here. If you would like to submit written testimony, please include the bill number on the front page and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org before 4 PM on November 19th. If you would like to give verbal testimony, please sign up here. Individuals will be given two minutes to speak during the hearing, and representatives of organizations will be given three minutes. Organizations will be limited to one representative.
Childcare Provider Recovery Grant Program
The Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation recently extended the deadline for eligible providers to apply for recovery grants. Licensed centers can receive a grant of up to $20,000 for licensed child care centers and up to $3,000 for registered family child care homes. To apply, click here.
Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)
On October 27th, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced the relaunch of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). For more information, including eligibility requirements and the application portal, please click here.
Prince George's County Police Reform Workgroup
The Prince George's County Police Reform Workgroup will be holding their last listening session on November 5th at 4 PM. If you are interested in participating, click here.
Prince George's County Free COVID-19 Testing Sites
The Prince George’s County Health Department continues to offer free COVID-19 tests for people with or without symptoms. All you need is a form of identification to get tested at the following facilities: First United Methodist Church of Hyattsville 6201 Belcrest Road, Hyattsville MD 20782 (9 AM - 3 PM; Monday, Thursday, and Saturday) Cheverly Health Center 3003 Hospital Drive, Cheverly, MD 20785 (9 AM - 3:30 PM; Monday - Thursday) D. Leonard Dyer Regional Health Center 9314 Piscataway Road, Clinton, MD 20735 (9 AM - 3:30 PM; Monday - Friday) Adventist Medical Group Primary Care 10709 MD-210 Suite D, Fort Washington, MD 20744 (7:30 AM - 11:30 AM; Monday, Tuesday, and Friday) There are also test sites operated by the State such as the Six Flags Amusement Park location (which just announced extended hours) and private entities such as some CVS locations. Click here to find a test site near you.
Distance Learning and Free Meals for Students
Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) has a Distance Learning Hotline for students and parents to assist with technical/equipment issues, instruction guidance and more. You can reach them at 240-696-6229 (Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM).
Student meals are free for all students through December 31. You can pick up the meals from your neighborhood school or a school close to home on Mondays and Wednesdays between 10 AM and 1 PM. Meals can also be delivered to many communities by school bus on Mondays and Wednesdays between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. More information and a list of delivery locations by city here. Please check the PGCPS website on meal delivery days for any important updates or changes. PGCPS is hosting free immunization clinics at multiple school sites to assist families with meeting immunization requirements. Immunizations will be offered by appointment only in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines; masks will be required. Temperatures will be taken upon arrival. We will also offer dental services and flu shots for your convenience. More information is available here.
PGCPS continues to cover the cost of the Comcast Internet Essentials program, which provides affordable high-speed internet at home, for families eligible for free and reduced-price meals (FARMS). The school system will also help non-FARMS families obtain a Comcast or Verizon hotspot for home internet access. To request a hotspot, please call our Parent Center Hotline at 240-696-3315 or email@example.com.
Utility Moratorium and Payment Rules
The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) ruled that customer utilities cannot be turned off prior to November 15th, 2020. You can contact your utility company today to set up a payment plan or request energy assistance funds. Click here for more information on how to obtain help with your utilities.
If you or someone you know is continuing to have problems, please let my office know. Please use this Unemployment Insurance Tracker Form or contact my office directly for additional assistance. To directly access the BEACON One-Stop site to file an unemployment claim, visit https://beacon.labor.maryland.gov/claimant/.
Food Distribution Sites and Resources
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, several food pantries have been set up throughout the county and in neighboring jurisdictions. Enter your zip code or address to search for the food pantry nearest you. SNAP Assistance SNAP is approved in Maryland for online grocery purchases for delivery or pickup. Walmart, Amazon and ShopRight are among the participating retailers. Call Maryland Hunger Solutions at 866-821-5552 for assistance and questions related to SNAP applications. They can assist with completing and submitting SNAP applications over the phone, submit any changes to your active SNAP case, answer questions about your benefits, and direct you to additional food resources.