In the news
Revised Stay-at-Home Order, Assistance for Homeless Residents, and Virtual Earth Day
April 25, 2020
Effective today, Public Health Order #2020-04 extends the existing Order #2020-03 until Sunday, May 3rd, while relaxing some restrictions. Under the new order, retail businesses may receive online and telephone purchase orders and fulfill them with shipping, delivery, and curbside pick-up. These businesses must adhere to Social Distancing Requirements including limiting the number of employees on site and maintaining a disinfection plan.
Assistance for Homeless Residents
Many of you have written to me to express your concerns for Columbia's homeless residents, which I share.
Lillian is a homeless resident of Columbia. She attended a City Council meeting earlier this year, and spoke about her situation. After selling her jewelry to pay her previous month's rent, she and her son were evicted from their apartment. I connected with Lillian again this week - they are combining short stays with friends (which is "not easy," she says) and living in their car.
The coronavirus pandemic is especially deadly for vulnerable individuals. Following discussions at the April 6th City Council meeting, funding was made available to local non-profits to establish a "safe camp" in a City park. Unfortunately, no proposals were submitted and, having spoken with the leaders of several organizations, it is apparent that these agencies are already stretched too thin to take on a project like this. During the April 20th Council meeting, I asked what was being done and what more could be done to support homeless residents in their existing encampments.
In response, the City's Human Services Department has confirmed:
- Services and supplies provided by the Street Outreach Team have been increased;
- An additional $25,000 from ComoHelps has been allocated for food, water, camping equipment, and hygiene items;
- Porta potties and portable hand washing stations have been provided, and parks facilities are being opened early;
- Additional funding and guidance have been provided to the Turning Point and Loaves and Fishes programs;
- $72,500 in ComoHelps funding has been allocated for rent and mortgage assistance to protect people from becoming homeless;
- Capacity to screen and test vulnerable populations is being increased.
Separate from local government efforts, Mike and John Trapp continue to provide independent support for homeless residents with the Gail Plemmons Memorial CAR Camp and organized volunteer camp cleanups.
I encourage you to read Mike Trapp's recent article about homelessness in the Missouri Municipal League’s magazine and consider providing financial support through the CoMo Crisis Shelter's GoFundMe campaign.
Virtual Earth Day
Last week, I discussed the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act and Citizen Climate Lobby's Virtual Earth Day: Uniting from Home, which is TODAY. With my apologies, I gave the wrong times last week - the correct schedule (Central Time) is:
- 12:00 pm Opening Keynote: Dr. Katharine Hayhoe
- 12:45 pm Three Easy Climate Actions You Can Take
- 1:00 pm Breakout Sessions (1-2 hours):
- Climate Advocate Training
- Citizen Climate Lobby Volunteer Spotlight Panel
- Holding Respectful Climate Conversations Across Party Lines
- Climate Organizing During the Pandemic
It is starting soon and you can register here.
I will continue to hold Constituent Conversations ONLINE and ON THE PHONE, using the following videoconference/dial-in links:
Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/99360231538 or phone 1-312-626-6799, Meeting ID: 993-6023-1538
No appointment is necessary - just log in and join the conversation any time between 2:00 - 4:00 pm on the following Sunday afternoons:
- Sunday, May 3rd
- Sunday, May 17th
Upcoming dates are always available at my web site.