OPC Alert Maryland – Utility Asst., Frozen Pipes and Legs Representation

Prevent frozen pipes: As we continue to move into winter months, it is important to protect your pipes from freezing temperatures. The Red Cross has created some tips on how to prevent water pipes from freezing and what to do if they do freeze.

DHS call center extends hours: Office of People’s Counsel (OPC) strongly encourages anyone who may be eligible for the Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP) to apply now and not wait for a turn-off notice.

There are a few ways you can apply:

1)      Go online and apply

2)     Call the DHS call center at 1-800-332-6347 and request an application be mailed to you. The call center has recently extended their hours.

         Monday-Friday 8AM-8PM and Saturday 9AM-4PM.

3)     Contact your local OHEP office to request an application be mailed to you. Some offices will allow clients to schedule an appointment or come to           the office to pick up an application. Call your local office for information on available services.

Fuel Fund of Maryland: The Fuel Fund of Maryland assists income eligible BGE customers with paying their utility bills after they complete OHEP. They have recently instituted some new rules that impact process and eligibility to effectively respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

1.      Waived the need for a turn off notice through 6/30/2021.

2.      Waived the need for seniors (age 60+) to complete OHEP before getting assistance from the Fuel Fund of Maryland through 6/30/2021. They will             mail the consumer an OHEP application as needed.

If someone is struggling with a utility bill, OPC encourages people to call their utility company and request a 12-month payment plan. For those that are OHEP certified, they are eligible for up to a 24-month payment plan.

Legal Representation: The Courtroom Advocacy Project (CAP) through the Probono Resource Center of Maryland (PBRC) provides free same-day representation for Failure to Pay Rent cases in Rent Court in Baltimore City as well as for some Consumer dockets in Baltimore City District Court and PG County District Court.  People can also contact PBRC for legal information and referrals related to evictions and illegal lockouts, repairs and escrow accounts, utility bill disputes and whether and how to attend scheduled court hearings. To connect with the CAP Team call the hotline at 443-703-3053. For more information about CAP or to schedule a presentation contact Project Director, Katie Davis at kdavis@probonomd.orgSee attached for more PBRC programs.

For more information, please visit our website.

Be well.


Brandi Nieland, LCSW
Director of Consumer Assistance
Maryland Office of People’s Counsel
6 St.Paul Street, Suite 2102
Baltimore, MD 21202
 

Donate to BBR during the upcoming holidays.

Please consider donating to the Maternal Assistance Fund during the upcoming holidays. Our Assistance fund helps women fight eviction, turn lights on and more. It is horrible to be on bedrest or not working while facing a high risk pregnancy. Every penny helps. Use the donate button on our site or mail a check to Better BedRest, PO Box 2625, Windermere, Fl. 34786. Find us on Facebook too!

CDC National Moratorium on Evictions 9/1/20

The CDC issued a national moratorium on evictions 9/1/2020. The Fair Housing Action Center of Maryland published key points on the eviction moratorium.

 

  • Tenants can still be evicted for other issues that don’t include nonpayment of rent.
  • All adults listed on the lease must sign, in order to be protected under the moratorium.
  • You must sign a declaration that states, among other things, that your circumstances were related to COVID, and be able to prove that if the need arises;
  • You must declare that you have sought all available funding sources to pay your back rent, including government assistance;
  • You must declare that you earn less than $99,000 annually (or $198,000 if you file taxes jointly with someone else), and;
  • You must declare that you would become homeless if you were evicted, and have no alternative housing available to you.
  • This moratorium expires December 31, 2020 unless amended.

You can find more information on their website

Are you pregnant during Covid-19?

We are going through challenging times now with Covid 19. Being pregnant during this time adds more challenges. It’s easy to let your mind wander and wonder how you will get through this. It is important to reach out for support whether it be family, friends, neighbors.  If you are one of those people that don’t have family, friends and neighbors to talk to or just need an ear other than people you know well, we are here to help. By calling 1-800-492-0618 you can can be connected with one of our BBR 211 staff that is trained to listen and provide resources as well as well as stay in touch with you weekly until you deliver. Sometimes that listening ear can provide compassion and really help you as you get through this pregnancy during this difficult time. Whatever your needs might be we are there to help. You can be anywhere in the US to reach out to us for help. Please do not suffer in silence. That is not helping you or the unborn child you carry. Remember call 1-800-492-0618 wait for the Better Bedrest prompt mailbox 4 and someone will return your call. Hang in there. You are not alone.

Are you on bedrest with twins?

“Are you currently on bed rest and pregnant with twins?
Researchers at the University of Iowa’s Physical Activity and Women’s Health Lab are looking to study the experiences of bed rest during twin pregnancies.
If you are currently pregnant with twins and currently on bed rest OR were prescribed bed rest within your current twin pregnancy and between 18-44 years old, you may be eligible to participate.
The study consists of taking an online survey. The survey will take approximately 30 minutes and you will have the opportunity to receive a $10 electronic Amazon Gift Card to thank you for your time.
Please use the link below to see if you are eligible:
If you have any questions regarding this study, please contact madeline-lawrence@uiowa.edu.
Thank you for your time and consideration!”

New BBR Number 1-800-492-0618

Reminding people that we have a new number. 1-800-492-0618, wait for prompt for BBR. We have wonderful staff from 211 now answering all calls. We will talk to anyone with a high risk pregnancy, working or not working, bedrest or just doctor prescribed restrictions. We will talk to woman until they deliver. If they had to stop work due to their high risk pregnancy, we will explain our grant process to help pay a bill up to $500. Grants are just for women in Maryland. We talk to woman across the US! So spread the word.

New BBR Phone number! 1800-492-0618

Reminding people that we have a new number. 1-800-492-0618, wait for prompt for BBR. We have wonderful staff from 211 now answering all calls. We will talk to anyone with a high risk pregnancy, working or not working, bedrest or just doctor prescribed restrictions. We will talk to woman until they deliver. If they had to stop work due to their high risk pregnancy, we will explain our grant process to help pay a bill up to $500. Grants are just for women in Maryland. We talk to woman across the US! So spread the word.

Better Bedrest forms Partnership with 211MD

Better BedRest is working with 211MD for all calls. Trained social workers, interns and other human resources staff will address each individual call. We pride ourselves with our Maternal Assistance Fund and if eligible staff, will send contact information to the Maternal Assistance Fund team. You will receive a phone call from that team member to start the process. Our fund offers grants up to $500 to pay a bill. It is extremely important to make sure you follow the checklist and answer all questions on the application sent to you. We thank all the 211 staff for their hard work in working with Better BedRest! We are proud to say we are 25 Years strong and will keep going!

Sincerely,

Joanie Reisfeld, Founder Better BedRest

 

 

We are still Celebrating, 25 Years Strong!

BBR is still celebrating. We hope you are having a great summer and will celebrate along with us. We will be having another Lularoe Fundraiser on Saturday October 12th from 1-3. Those on our Facebook page can get updated information there. We are also looking at doing some more Restaurant nights. These are always fun to do. If you want to make a donation on this page you can certainly do so anytime. Come out and meet us as we love meeting our supporters. Make sure you look at our resources page here as we are always updating with really good support for our pregnant moms.

Stay cool out there!

Joanie Reisfeld, Founder, Better BedRest, Inc