Hyattsville weighs $1 million pandemic relief fund


Hyattsville's municipal building.

Hyattsville City Council is considering establishing a $1 million emergency fund to address the impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. But how that money will be doled out is up in the air.

The legislation, to be discussed at Hyattsville’s April 6, 2020, City Council meeting, only establishes a broad outline of what the fund may be used for. Boiled down: the legislation creates a budget line item, the Hyattsville Covid-19 Pandemic Fund, which may be used to address “economic hardships” felt by residents and businesses.

How the money is to be distributed is not addressed in the legislation. But before any money can be distributed, the measure requires City Council to approve “specific criteria and guidelines” by two-thirds majority.

As of this writing, at least one Hyattsville official has gone semi-public with their hopes for the fund. Late Sunday Night, Hyattsville City Councilor Danny Schaible said on Facebook “the criteria for dispensing these funds is open-ended and up for discussion.”

“I would like to help those with the greatest need, those who may be ineligible for unemployment benefits like small business owners, freelance artists, gig economy workers, and the undocumented,” said Schaible. “I am interested in helping impacted businesses too, but only with the expectation that they share these funds with their employees.”

Last week, Riverdale Park approved a suite of emergency measures that, among other things, gave all residents a weekly voucher to the Riverdale Park Farmer’s Market and created a voucher program for local restaurants.

Editor’s note:Route 1 Reporter is – normally – a subscriber-supported local news website. Due to the state of emergency, articles about the coronavirus pandemic will be available for free. If you like the reporting, please support Route 1 Reporter on Patreon.

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