Takoma Park has been deeply impacted by COVID-19. We’ve seen a higher rate of infection than Montgomery County as a whole, and our residents and businesses have been hard hit by the economic impacts of the pandemic.
This document compiled by City staff this summer illustrates some of the level of need, challenges, and opportunities we are experiencing.
This is why I strongly supported the creation of a COVID-19 Fund with monies from FY20 and an additional $400,000+ in FY21. This fund is ensuring critical assistance to residents and small businesses through emergency financial assistance to residents and businesses, rental assistance and advice, assistance with PPE, small business and healthy business initiatives/grants, workforce development programming, and more.
As we move forward, our community will continue to see challenges due to COVID. We must work together, take a community-focused approach, prioritize racial equity, and consider each issue with careful analysis and forward thinking.
I believe we need to address the immediate and long-term effects of COVID on our community through:
- Emergency assistance to ensure that residents can stay in their homes, pay their bills, maintain utilities, access transportation, access food, and more
- Emergency assistance to support small businesses in accessing PPE and sanitation products, shifting business models as needed due to social distancing requirements, and supporting employees
- Dedicating more funds to workforce development to to provide job training and certification to help residents build careers in higher-paying, long-term positions
- Partner with local schools and PTAs to provide assistance and connect residents with resources
- Provide Recreation Programs in a safe way with emphasis on opportunities for children, teens, and seniors who may be experiencing some of the greatest challenges of social isolation
- Provide childcare assistance to residents — prioritizing families most in need — and assistance to area childcare providers
- Provide opportunities for the community to connect in fun and serious ways, despite social distancing — through innovative efforts such as public art, signs, and online initiatives
- Collaborate with residents and local nonprofits to support grassroots initiatives and connect volunteers with opportunities to be most effective
- Assess resident needs and predictions for future changes to City revenue on an ongoing basis, and reallocate budgeted funds when needed to ensure we are addressing the most critical needs of residents
We are facing a difficult time, but together as a community, I believe we can and will support each other and create innovative solutions to the challenges we face.