Juneteenth Celebrations & Police Reforms
Last weekend, Juneteenth was celebrated throughout the country. Johnson House in Germantown held a virtual festival with speakers and educational programs. I spoke at the Black Lives Matter Freedom Fighters March in Wilkes-Barre. I also attended a rally in Selinsgrove and a march in Germantown. 155 years after the end of enslavement, there is much work left to do.
As a result of the Black Lives Matter protests throughout Pennsylvania, a package of police reforms is being negotiated in Harrisburg. Reforms that may pass in the next week include:
- Creation of a statewide database of police personnel information.
- Requiring the creation of use of lethal force policies by police departments.
- Ending the use of chokeholds and knee holds.
It is time to pass these reforms, including my proposal to appoint a special prosecutor for police-involved killings.
Read more about racial justice legislation here. To demand change in Pennsylvania, text BLM to 787753.
Green Phase Begins in Philadelphia Region
This Friday, Montgomery County and Philadelphia will enter a new phase of relaxed COVID-19 restrictions. These activities can resume on 26 June in Montgomery County and Philadelphia:
- Personal services such as salons, barbers, and spas.
- Residential swimming pools and private swim clubs.
- Small indoor social and religious gatherings (up to 25 people).
- Zoos (outside only).
In Montgomery County, gyms, malls, libraries, museums, schools, and colleges may reopen on 26 June, but not until 3 July in Philadelphia. Casinos, theaters, and indoor gatherings above 25 people can resume operating in Montgomery County on 26 June. They will remain closed in Philadelphia until a later date. For details on Philadelphia’s transition to the green phase, please go here. For green phase guidance that will be followed by Montgomery County, please go here.
Masks will still be required when entering a business for all green phase areas. Telework is strongly encouraged. The fight against COVID-19 is not over. Remain safe.
Housing Relief for Renters & Homeowners
Renters and homeowners statewide will soon have additional relief. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) will open an online application for rent and mortgage assistance on Monday, 29 June. $150 million will be available for renters. $25 million will be set aside for mortgage assistance.
Renters will be eligible for up to $750 per month for six months. Homeowners can receive up to $1000 per month. To receive money, you will need to document a 30% or greater reduction in annual income since 1 March related to COVID-19, or you must have become unemployed after 1 March. If unemployed, you must have filed for unemployment compensation.
PHFA will identify partner organizations to process applications. Submissions can begin on 6 July. For details, please see the PHFA press release. Application information will be released Monday at www.PHFA.org.
Also, Philadelphia City Council recently voted to save renters and small businesses from eviction until 31 August. Mayor Kenney pledged to approve the extension. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) also extended its moratorium for single-family Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages and evictions to 31 August. All other evictions and foreclosures may resume on 10 July, pending further developments in Harrisburg.
$225 Million Small Business Grant Teleconference
I will host a teleconference soon for local businesses to discuss the $225 million COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Grant program. I will be joined by local representatives of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). Businesses will have an opportunity to learn about the application process from CDFI representatives and ask questions.
To join the call, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, title/organization, and 1-2 questions you have about the program. My staff will respond with the teleconference log-in information. Thank you.
Musical Mood Boost
Here is a song perfect for protests because the people are ready for a change. Give the People What They Want by The O’Jays. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uebYua_vdPc
Be the Light,
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