HARRISBURG, Nov. 17 – State Rep. Kristine Howard, D-Chester, announced today that $362,025 in Safe Schools grants were awarded to local schools to purchase safety and security-related equipment. “It is more critical than ever before that our students have a safe learning environment in which to learn and grow,” Howard said. “The Safe Schools grants will ensure our students are able to learn in a productive and safe environment.” The following schools received funding for equipment: Great Valley School District $25,000 Villa Maria Academy High School $16,784 Church Farm School $23,716 Bishop Shanahan High School $ 20,430 Assumption B.V.M. $16,318 Pope John Paul II $20,937 SS Peter and Paul $24,937 St. Norbert $22,093 Upland Country Day School $24,923 Windsor Christian Academy $19,693 Woodlynde School $17,588 West Chester School District $24,606 Downingtown School District $25,000 The following school district received funding for School Resource Officer: West Chester Area School District $60000 The following school district received funding for safety programs: West Chester School District $20,000 The Read more
In August, the Philadelphia Inquirer published an investigative piece on a disturbing series of incidents of sexual abuse occurring at Devereux over a period of many years, and in several states. Since I have worked in child welfare as a volunteer child advocate for children in foster care in Philadelphia and, more recently, as a child abuse investigator for Chester County Children Youth and Families, I have known of Devereux. I cannot say that I expected these revelations, but I cannot say that they are surprising. In the child welfare and social work field, work in institutional care is not preferred, and like other aspects of child welfare work, is subject to burnout among staff. I have a constituent who sends me almost daily communications about staffing issues in the behavioral health field, with the concern being that there are steadily decreasing qualifications for work with children, the disabled, in special education, etc. Indeed, the Inquirer article pointed out that employees at Devereux were paid $14.86 per hour in 2020, a raise from $12.50. To put that in context, my 17-year-old just started his first job, at Target, earning $15 per hour stocking shelves. While that work is necessary, I think we can all agree that the full-time care of children with special needs is a job that should be able to offer greater incentives to bring in qualified people than Target, especially when Devereux charges as much as $84,000 per client. Read more
MALVERN, Oct. 23 – State Rep. Kristine Howard, D-Chester, introduced H.B. 2932 which would require public utility companies to offer customers the option of reporting their monthly payments to credit bureaus to demonstrate a history of on-time recurring payments. “The economic fallout caused by the pandemic has caused many consumers to miss payments, hurting their credit scores,” Howard said. “Consumers striving to establish or repair their credit find an unbalanced system only reporting negative, delinquent payments, while other on-time payments go unreported. “My bill would help consumers build up good credit by requiring that public utilities offer their customers the choice of opting to have their utility payments reported to credit reporting agencies, including timely payments. This measure will allow consumers to opt-in at any time, with no restrictions or expiration date.” According to Howard, Experian was the first credit reporting agency to offer consumers the ability to have on-time utility and rent payments credited to their report to improve their credit score, but the other agencies have yet to offer anything similar. “It’s time we change this credit reporting system to benefit hardworking consumers who pay utility bills on time. My bill would provide a lifeline and help people recover from the financial crisis caused by the pandemic,” Howard said. The bill has been referred to the House Consumer Read more
STATE GRANT PROGRAMS NOW OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS: Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol: Police Diversion to Treatment (Funding Source: Federal Funding ) Who May Apply : Single county authorities (county drug and alcohol offices). Use : To establish or expand a treatment diversion program for individuals with an opioid use disorder who are arrested. Funds : Approximately five to ten awards up to $300,000 each will be awarded. Application Deadline : October 23 at 12 PM. More Information : Click on https://www.ddap.pa.gov/Documents/Funding%20documents/FIA%2020-04%20Police%20Diversion%20to%20Treatment.pdf . Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol: Pregnancy Support Services (Funding Source: Federal Funding ) Who May Apply : Community service providers able to serve pregnant and postpartum women with stimulant or opioid misuse issues. Single County Authorities (county drug and alcohol offices) are not eligible to apply. Use : To provide pregnancy support services or make referrals to aid pregnant and postpartum women with opioid use disorder. Funds : Five to eight grants up to $400,000 each will be awarded for one-year projects. There is a possibility of a one-year renewal. Application Deadline : October 30 at 12 PM. More Information : Click on https://www.ddap.pa.gov/Documents/Funding%20documents/GIFA%2020-05%20Pregnancy%20Support%20Service.pdf Read more
MALVERN/COATESVILLE, Oct. 9 – State Reps. Kristine Howard and Dan Williams, both D-Chester, announced today that area Chester County fire and EMS agencies will receive a total of $510,110 in grants to offset some of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their operations. Through Act 26, the state made $50 million in grants available to fire and emergency medical service organizations that were affected by the pandemic. The funding must be used for operational and equipment expenses. “Firefighters and EMS workers put their own lives at risk every day to save others, and so supporting our fire companies and EMS agencies is a priority for me,” Howard said. “I’m glad that our local fire and emergency medical service organizations are receiving this funding to continue to safely perform their jobs.” Williams said, “Our firepersons and EMS workers are among the heroes of the pandemic. I’m proud to have voted for this legislation, which helps these frontline workers carry out the essential work they do in our communities.” The grants awarded are as follows: Alert Fire Company No 1 $23,699 City of Coatsville Bureau of Fire $24,794 East Whiteland Township Volunteer Fire Association $25,342 Malvern Fire Company $25,342 Minquas Fire Company No 2 Inc $21,094 Read more
People have until Nov. 4 to submit their applications HARRISBURG – Governor Tom Wolf today issued an emergency order suspending the statutory deadline provision in the COVID Relief-Mortgage and Rental Assistance Grant Program. The deadline under section 191-C(g)(3) of Act 24 of 2020 originally scheduled for Sept. 30 was stayed by the governor, effective today, for 30 days until Nov. 4, 2020, in order for the program to be able to continue accepting applications. The governor’s order is available at: https://www.phfa.org/forms/pacares/executiveorder/mortgage-rental-assistance-program-order.pdf. The CARES assistance programs for Pennsylvania renters and homeowners have been reopened and will be accepting applications until Nov. 4. All eligibility requirements remain the same as they were when the programs ended on Sept. 30. Work will continue on applications submitted prior to Oct. 1, and new applications will be added to the pool of submissions undergoing review. Renters and homeowners who were financially impacted by the economic slowdown related to the coronavirus pandemic can immediately access applications for rent and mortgage relief via the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s website at www.PHFA.org. They should look for the red CARES banner on the PHFA homepage. PHFA is administering both programs. “We appreciate this extra time to help more Pennsylvanians receive rental and mortgage assistance and maintain their housing,” said PHFA Read more
MALVERN, Oct. 1 – State Rep. Kristine Howard, D-Chester, joined Gov. Tom Wolf and state Sen. Tim Kearney, D-Chester/Delaware, to stress the necessity for affordable health care coverage for Pennsylvanians, especially during an unprecedented pandemic. “The Affordable Care Act has been a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Howard said. “But this lifeline could soon be severed if a radical change to the Supreme Court leads to the end of the Affordable Care Act and the legal precedent of Roe v. Wade. “If that happens, thousands of Pennsylvanians would lose their health care and women would lose their right to make their own choices in matters of reproductive health. “Pennsylvania cannot afford to lose life-saving and life-sustaining health care during this moment of crisis.” During the news conference, the governor, Howard and Kearney discussed the coverage and protections the ACA provides for women and outlined the importance of preserving the law so it can continue to protect the health and safety of Pennsylvanians. The future of the ACA is under threat as the Supreme Court is currently scheduled to hear arguments in Trump administration-supported litigation challenging a key part of the ACA, and the Supreme Court itself may soon have an additional probable vote against the ACA in the form of President Trump’s Read more
MALVERN, Sept. 28 – State Rep. Kristine Howard, D-Chester, as a member of the Pennsylvania House Human Services Committee, will hear an update regarding the steps taken to improve the care of children residing at Devereux Behavioral Health facilities in the state at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29 in the Irvis Office Building, Harrisburg. In August, the Philadelphia Inquirer brought attention to abuse of children with special needs at Devereux facilities through a lengthy investigative piece about the abuse of children with special needs at some Devereux facilities. Following its own investigation, the city of Philadelphia announced last week that it will remove the 53 children it had placed in Devereux facilities. “ As a former child abuse investigator, I am greatly distressed by the allegations of the abuse of vulnerable children by Devereux employees who should have been the guardians of their welfare and by the organization’s gross mismanagement which allowed these horrors to repeatedly occur ,” Howard said. “I’m eager to find out what steps Devereux has taken to improve the care of children living in their facilities at the Human Services Committee tomorrow.” Questions can be submitted to RepHoward@pahouse.net or via phone at (484) 200-8271 . Read more
MALVERN, Sept. 24 – State Rep. Kristine Howard today announced that the Horace J. Quann Memorial Park in Malvern Borough has received a $92,500 grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The grant money will be used to support the c onstruction of a pedestrian walkway and stormwater management measures, installation of fencing and ADA access, and enhancements of the park’s landscaping and other related site improvements. “Quann Park is a beloved community site in Malvern Borough, where people from all walks of life can gather to participate in a variety of athletic activities,” Howard said. “I’m glad this money will open up the space for walkers and provide ADA access so that more people can enjoy this wonderful park.” Horace J. Quann Memorial Park is 1.6 acres and is known as an active recreation area for residents. It supports baseball and basketball and has an open space for volleyball and other activities. It is located at First and Warren avenues, across from Malvern Borough Hall. The money is from DCNR’s 2020 Community Conservation Partnerships Program grants . The DCNR Recreation and Conservation grant program is funded with a variety of state and federal funding sources including, the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund (Key 93) which includes Key-Community and Key-Land Trust; the Environmental Stewardship Fund; the federal Land Read more
MALVERN, Sept. 11 – State Rep. Kristine Howard today released the following statement in response the Department of Environmental Protection’s order for Sunoco to reroute its planned pipeline. “Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection ordered Sunoco to reroute its planned pipeline route, and further assess, investigate, and restore resources impacted by the Mariner East II pipeline in Upper Uwchlan Township. This is a tremendous first step towards ensuring Sunoco is held accountable,” Howard said. “The administrative order comes in response to a drilling fluid spill, an industrial waste, and the creation of a 15-foot wide by 8-foot deep subsidence, adversely impacting wetlands, two tributaries to Marsh Creek Lake, and the lake itself. “Sunoco has been required to suspend all work related to the horizontal directional drilling (HDD) site that caused the impacts, referred to as HDD 290, until the DEP provides further authorization. Work to prevent erosion and sedimentation, as well as work to prevent additional pollution, will continue. “While the DEP works to hold Sunoco accountable to the fullest extent possible under our current laws and regulations, I will continue seeking legislative means to increase communication efforts, transparency and safety regulations,” she said. Read more
MALVERN, Sept. 4 – State Rep. Kristine Howard, D-Chester, will host a virtual Town Hall at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14 to discuss voting in the upcoming general election in November with Chester County Commissioner Marian Moskowitz and state Rep. Kevin Boyle, D-Phila. “This virtual Town Hall will explain recent changes in election law, such as mail-in voting, as well as the efforts being taken to ensure a secure election,” Howard said. “Commissioner Moskowitz, state Representative Boyle and I look forward to answering residents’ questions about voting .” The event will be livestreamed at www.PaHouse.com/Howard . Questions can be submitted at RepHoward@pahouse.net ahead of the event or during it. Answers to those questions will be shared during the Town Hall. Read more
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The majority party in the Pennsylvania General Assembly is attempting to make it as hard as possible to vote. Their weapon for achieving this is the recently-passed H.B. 2626, which aims to ban drop-off boxes for ballots, allow out-of-county poll watchers, and set back the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot to 15 days prior to the election, rather than the present seven. House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre County, said, “We should all be focused on making sure we have a secure and efficient election system,” though I am confused as to how preventing a potentially vast number of eligible voters from casting their ballots helps us have these secure and efficient elections. Unless, of course, the secure and efficient reelection of Donald Trump is what he was actually talking about. Assuming that is what we are talking about, let’s call it what it is – vote suppression. This is an odd about-face for a Republican-controlled legislature that passed – overwhelmingly, I might add – Act 77 of 2019, which allowed no-excuse mail-in voting. As Americans, we have the right to vote. Not a privilege we have been granted, but an inalienable, self-evident right. This was the driving force behind Act 77. It’s the reason you should be repulsed by Republican-led efforts to suppress votes. While Rep. Garth Everett, R-Lycoming Count, has said, “People need to know that their ballots Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 25 – Chester County’s Democratic state Reps. Dan Williams, Danielle Friel-Otten and Kristine Howard announced that Coatesville Area School District, Chester County Intermediate Unit and 21st Century Cyber Charter School each received grant funding to improve educational services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Awardees are schools designated for Additional Targeted Support and Improvement under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Grants were awarded as follows: Coatesville Area School District: North Brandywine Middle School: $68,542. Rainbow Elementary School: $60,320. Reeceville Elementary School: $38,494. Coatesville Area Senior High School: $56,148. Chester County Intermediate Unit: $96,353. 21st Century Cyber Charter School: $38,371. “Ensuring that each student has the tools they need to succeed this academic year will be more complex compared to years prior. I’m proud to see these schools receive this much-needed funding so children can safely continue to learn as we work toward mitigating COVID-19 throughout our community and our commonwealth,” Williams said. “Pennsylvania’s schools were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and historically underserved students are likely to be the most impacted. I am grateful for this additional funding, which will help ensure a successful, safe and productive Read more
MALVERN, Aug. 20 – State Rep. Kristine Howard, D-Chester, will host a virtual Town Hall at 3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 24 to discuss PECO and its services with a representative from the company. Weather-related outages and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Recovery Crisis program will be discussed. “At a time when the pandemic has made people’s ability to pay their bills difficult, I wanted to have a forum where residents could learn how to reduce their utility costs,” Howard said. “In addition to our discussion on the LIHEAP Recovery Crisis program, which ends on August 31, we will also be talking about how PECO is working to improve their treatment of weather-related outages.” LIHEAP helps families living on low incomes pay home energy bills and typically runs November through April. But the LIHEAP Recovery Crisis program runs through Aug. 31 and offers a crisis benefit made directly to utility companies or fuel providers to help offset costs for home utilities. Benefits may be available if a household: • Has their main or secondary energy source completely shut-off. • Is notified that their utility service will be shut off in the next 60 days. • Has broken energy equipment or leaking lines that must be fixed or replaced. • Is in danger of being without fuel in 15 days or less. • Owes funds to a Read more
Malvern, August 18 – State Rep. Kristine Howard, D-Chester, today announced that West Whiteland and Willistown townships were awarded $514,200 to help upgrade small water, sewer, storm sewer and flood control infrastructure. The money will be distributed through two grant programs funded through the Commonwealth Financing Authority . PA Small Water and Sewer grants were awarded as follows: $300,000 to rehabilitate West Whiteland Township’s sanitary sewer collection system. $214,200 to extend public sanitary sewer service in Willistown Township. “This funding will help West Whiteland Township and Willistown Township to develop and strengthen their sewer systems,” Howard said. For more information, contact Howard’s office at (610) 251-1070 . Read more
Energy Transfer Partners have been given ample opportunity to prove themselves, yet time after time, they have not lived up to their responsibilities, and are seemingly incapable of meeting the topographical challenges associated with drilling and digging in Chester County. Their actions put our waterways and streams at risk and have created conditions ripe for the formation of sinkholes and other problems. The drilling fluid spill in Marsh Creek State Park is only the most recent in a long line of mistakes and repeated violations by this operator. I am thankful for Gov. Wolf's responsiveness in taking the important first step of indefinitely suspending the drilling that led to the Marsh Creek incident. Now the experts can conduct a full investigation and review in order to determine next steps. Of course, ETP should be held accountable, and in addition to expeditious cleanup and mitigation efforts, ETP must foot the bill for an independent analysis of the spill’s effect on the local ecosystem. As a legislator, I am focused on forward-thinking ways to increase communication efforts, transparency and safety regulations. But the legislature can only do so much. Diligent oversight is the purview of our regulatory agencies. We must ensure these agencies do their jobs to uphold the Pennsylvania Constitution’s promise of clean air and pure water. I demand accountability and transparency. We all should. It may be that Read more
PAOLI, July 20 – State Reps. Melissa Shusterman, Christina Sappey and Kristine Howard invite constituents to their online panel to bring awareness to human trafficking, with an emphasis on how it can happen anywhere, and to teach people how to identify trafficking situations. The discussion will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 30. A livestream will be available on each of the three representatives’ websites. Anyone who wishes to participate in the discussion by emailing questions to be answered live must RSVP online. Upon submitting an RSVP, the office will send instructions on where to submit questions and introduce the panelists. Shusterman, Sappey and Howard said that they wanted to shed light on this issue after the recent arrests of three Malvern residents for abducting and trafficking a 14-year-old girl. Additionally, the United Nations recognizes July 30 as World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. “Human trafficking happens in every state throughout the nation, yet many people think it doesn’t happen in their neighborhood,” Shusterman said. “Predators often times exploit these feelings of safety and security, which result in tragic, traumatizing losses. We all need to do our part and learn how every one of us can help to shut down these sex trafficking rings that so often target Pennsylvania’s women and girls.” “The issue of human trafficking is so Read more
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