Baltimore, MD – September 27, 2023 – Mayor Brandon M. Scott, alongside 1199SEIU leadership, has unveiled an initiative to provide essential relief funds to Baltimore’s direct care and service workers. A $2 million grant, funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), will be administered by 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds (TEF) in collaboration with the Healthcare Industry Grant Corporation. These funds will directly benefit the diligent individuals who have been pivotal in delivering essential home healthcare, long-term care, and nursing home services throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Throughout the challenging COVID-19 public health emergency, Baltimore’s direct care workers have been steadfast, delivering essential services to our elderly, disabled, and healthcare-dependent community members,” stated Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “This grant is an expression of our deep appreciation for their unwavering dedication and selflessness. These workers have often been a source of solace and support, easing the loneliness and anxiety experienced by many during the pandemic. They have done so while working tirelessly on the front lines of healthcare during the most trying days of the public health emergency.”
The direct care workforce in Baltimore faces significant challenges, characterized by low wages and demanding workloads, exacerbated by the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past three years. These dedicated professionals provide vital patient care to some of the most vulnerable individuals while struggling with wages that fall below a livable standard. A study conducted by the Maryland Regional Direct Services Collaborative underscores that “inadequate compensation is the single biggest factor contributing to the workforce crisis.” This study also highlights that Maryland’s direct care and service workers are predominantly Black women, making up 84 percent of home care workers, 85 percent of assisted living facility workers, and 95 percent of nursing home workers. Within these numbers, Black workers represent 68 percent of home care workers, 80 percent of assisted living facility workers, and 76 percent of nursing home workers.
Chief Recovery Officer Shamiah Kerney expressed her gratitude, saying, “Baltimore’s direct care workers are dedicated individuals—often unsung heroes—who have been instrumental in safeguarding the health and well-being of our most vulnerable citizens. Their contributions are remarkable, and we appreciate their efforts. We hope that direct care workers see this ARPA grant as a gesture of support for their unwavering dedication and service to Baltimore communities.”
Each eligible applicant will receive a direct cash grant of $500. To qualify for this award, beneficiaries must meet the following criteria:
For Homecare Workers:
Must be a resident of Baltimore City.
Must have been employed by a Residential Services Agency listed on the Maryland State Department of Health’s approved agencies for a cumulative period of at least 6 weeks between March 1, 2020, and August 31, 2022.
For Long-Term Care/Nursing Home Workers:
Must be a resident of Baltimore City.
Must have been employed by a provider listed on the Maryland State Department of Health’s approved skilled nursing facilities for a cumulative period of at least 6 weeks between March 1, 2022, and August 31, 2022.
Joshua Harrold, Regional Director of 1199SEIU TEF Funds for the Maryland/DC region, expressed enthusiasm, stating, “1199SEIU is very excited to work with the Mayor’s Office to make this benefit a reality for thousands of Baltimore City Direct Care Workers. By directing federal COVID relief funds directly into the pockets of caregivers, Mayor Scott is sending a message that these healthcare workers deserve recognition for the sacrifices they made during the public health emergency. This type of leadership is part of a growing movement to improve the standards and secure the future of care across Maryland.”
The Recovery Office will collaborate closely with 1199SEIU TEF to ensure equitable distribution of funds by giving priority to applicants residing in Qualified Census Tract neighborhoods and within a specific income threshold. Detailed information regarding the application timeline and how eligible workers can apply for these grants will be provided by TEF in the coming days.
Join MetaPRN for Additional Support:
If you are a direct care worker and the grant applies to you, Meta PRN is here to assist. By creating a full profile on our platform, you gain access to support for applying for the grant. Meta PRN is committed to helping healthcare professionals navigate financial challenges and find rewarding opportunities.
About the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocated $641 million to the City of Baltimore in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and its economic impacts. Mayor Brandon M. Scott has established the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs to transparently and effectively administer this funding on behalf of the City. For more information, visit the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs website at arp.baltimorecity.gov.