After six-month delay, Baltimore to relaunch cash assistance program
by Mark Reutter
Published February 9 in Baltimore Brew
Excerpt: Last September, the Board of Estimates voted to divert $6 million from the Baltimore Children & Youth Fund for one-time cash assistance to low-income households impacted by the pandemic.
Even before Covid struck, eliminating tens of thousands of restaurant, hospitality and construction jobs, there were about 134,000 Baltimore residents living in poverty, according to the American Community Survey.
They included more than 28,000 food-insecure children whose annual food needs would require $75 million to meet at an average cost of $3.32 per meal.
The city’s plan was to distribute $400 to up to 15,000 people, age 16 or above, who did not typically access government assistance programs, such as undocumented immigrants, the homeless, members of the LGBTQ community and those with criminal records.
Money from the youth fund would be transferred to the nonprofit Open Society Institute-Baltimore, which would then distribute sub-grants to “CBOs” (Community-Based Organizations) providing pre-loaded debit cards for eligible applicants to afford groceries and other essentials.