We’ve Got Your Back
County Executive Alsobrooks Leads A Coalition Of Institutions Aimed At ‘Helping Neighbors’ Through Shut Down Crisis
By Raoul Dennis
With just hours before thousands of furloughed federal employees of the partial government shutdown felt the first loss of pay, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks stood with a group of leaders from county institutions, regional utility companies and the business sector January 10. There are an estimated 70,000 federal employees in Prince George’s impacted by the shutdown.
“We began this discussion on Monday when we realized that we would come up on Friday and many of our neighbors would be without a paycheck,” says Alsobrooks. “I have to tell you that people have come together in ways that have just been amazing: This was Monday and by Thursday [now] the offers are still coming in. Everyone wants to stand with our neighbors.”
“This shutdown has names and faces attached to it,” Alsobrooks said. “You have heard 300,000, and 800,000 but what we want people to know is that these are people’s mothers, fathers, children, uncles, sisters and brothers who are impacted by this shutdown. This is not just a policy disagreement. These are lives that hang in the balance every day. We are so mindful of that. It’s important to each of us for our neighbors to understand that we don’t know how long this will last. It’s our great hope that it won’t be long, that it can’t last forever. But what they should know is that we will stand with them every day of this shutdown. We will be here for them and with them and that this government will work overtime to provide for their needs. As this continues downtown, we want Prince Georgians to know that we’ve got your back. We will be here for you.”
The county executive directed residents to access services at the county’s dedicated page: www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/shutdown
The page will be an evolving information source throughout the shutdown period.
The county executive stood alongside the leaders of at least eight county and regional institutions including the Prince George’s County Council, led by chair, Todd Turner; Rosie Allen-Herring President & CEO, United Way of the National Capital Area; Prince George’s Community College President Charlene Dukes; Interim President Dr. Monica Goldson of the Prince George’s County Public Schools; Carla Reid, General Manager, WSSC; The Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, led by Elizabeth Hewlett; Felecia Greer, Director and Customer Advocate, Pepco; and Phil Sardelis Owner, Sardis Restaurants.
The Prince George’s County Council
The council has been working to amplify the voice of the county in the face of the shutdown by building bridges with surrounding jurisdictions. These efforts include, but are not limited to, the following:
*A joint letter to county partners to address day-to-day needs county residents are concerned about with regard to the shutdown.
*The Metropolitan Council of Governments (COG) board of directors met and approved a joint letter representing 34 jurisdictions in the Washington DC area urging the federal government to end the shutdown. It also joined with governors of Maryland, Virginia and the Mayor of the District of Columbia in outlining the impact of the shutdown on state and local governments in the region.
Turner noted that COG believes that there are 361,000 federal workers within the Washington, DC region: 17% of those live here in Prince George’s County. In terms, of the partial shutdown, 40% are directly affected: 145,000 in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. “That’s almost 30,000 people potentially in Prince George’s County that are directly employed by the federal government that are either furloughed or working without pay,” said Prince George’s County Council Chair Todd Turner. Flanked by Prince George’s County Council Vice-Chair Rodney S. Streeter and Councilmember-At-Large Mel Franklin, Turner noted that the COG estimates that there are over 400,000 contractors in the Washington, D.C. area working for the federal government and “We have our fair share here in Prince George’s County. We know these federal workers are our neighbors and friends and family members. That’s why we are here today to address some of those needs,” he said. “Residents can depend on us serving as a bridge between our residents and how they can get information and resources.”
The United Way
The United Way of the National Capital Area has eight jurisdictions: Alexandria, Arlington, District of Columbia, Fairfax/Falls Church, Loudoun County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Prince William County. Regional Councils have been established for each.
*Activated Emergency Assistance Fund with $50,000. It was immediately matched by PEPCO for housing and food related efforts. (Bank of America is also a partner).
We also invite the general public to get involved. Contributions to the fund: unitedwaynca.org/support
Prince George’s Community College
Prince George’s Community College services 37,000 students through six locations in the county.
*Spring 2019 semester beginning on Jan 22: For students who are financially eligible we will accept the IRS form 1040 and other documents in lieu of the standard IRS verification process.
*PGCC will place holds on student accounts during this process and allow them to begin or continue their college education. For outstanding balances, they may qualify for assistance grants and/or extended payment plans.
*For students already signed up in the latter part of 2018, PGCC will extend period for payment and offer a zero down payment plan, with the first payment due Feb. 20, 2019 and adjust their subsequent payments accordingly.
* Students may be eligible to receive one-time grants for up to 50% of their total cost for books and tuition fees.
To be eligible for these opportunities, students must be in good academic standing, be residents of Prince George’s County and document that they are directly nor indirectly impacted by the shutdown among other things.
The funding for the efforts at PGCC includes support from PGCC and the PGCC Foundation. For more information, students are encouraged to contact the college at (301) 546-0154 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Prince George’s County Public Schools
Prince George’s County Public Schools serves 132,322 students.
*Any student impacted by the shutdown, will receive a standard hot meal through Friday Jan. 11. Parents are encouraged to apply for free and reduced price meal programs so that they can receive support after Jan 11.
*New fund established to ensure all students needing a hot meal will receive one through the shutdown and beyond through Excellence in Education Foundation for PGCPS (meals cost $2.75, breakfast $1.60). The fund has raised $15,000. to date which will cover 5,000 meals. Old Line Bank, NAI Michael, Lanier Electronics and Education Federal Credit Union all contributed to the fund immediately. www.pcsps.org DONATE HERE
There are three Sardis Restaurants in Prince George’s County.
*Tuesdays: buy one, get one free for ¼ chicken meal
*10% card that’s good for any day of the week.
*$2,500 will be donated Prince George’s County Public Schools for student meals.
PEPCO services 842,000 in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area
*$50,000 matching gift to the United Way. The gift will aid the Capital Area Food Bank and the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington in providing essential food and housing support for families.
*Individually tailored payment arrangements
*Budget Billing Program: Customers can avoid [higher billing] seasonal peaks by having energy bill divided evenly across the year.
*For customers whose main source is from government or other low income entitlement programs, they will qualify for an extension of their due date.
*Learn more by www.pepco.com (202) 833-7500.
1.8 Million customers in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties
*Suspend all water service shut-offs.
*Waive all late fees
*One on one service with customers to craft payment plan