US deems migrant seafood workers ‘essential’ but limits their COVID-19 protections

Migrant seafood-processing workers, who are legally hired and transported to the U.S. each season through the federal H-2B visa program, face heightened risks of catching COVID-19.

Airport workers faced COVID risks as airlines advertised passenger safety measures

Conversations about the safety of air travel have largely left airport workers out. The choice of whether or not to fly in a pandemic is a question of community safety and how the decision affects people with the least protection. Meet some of them in the Howard Center podcast In The Air.

At least 9,000 Arkansas workers caught COVID-19 as pandemic overwhelmed regulators, companies

In working conditions that stress a quick turnaround on products, have close contact between employees and brisk temperatures, poultry workers say they were put at risk for catching the virus.

Massachusetts health departments overwhelmed, unprepared to protect workers

With federal regulators missing from the field and state leaders scrambling to manage the COVID-19 crisis, Massachusetts’ 351 overtaxed local boards of health were unwittingly thrust into a new role last year — overseers of workplace safety.

As Walmart sales soared, workers got scant COVID-19 protection from OSHA

Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, provides a window into OSHA’s performance during the pandemic.

Settlement in Idaho case strengthens homeless protections

Homeless people in Boise with nowhere else to sleep can no longer be arrested for doing so in public, under the terms of the settlement announced by the city and plaintiffs.

Wall Street investors pricing Americans out of last bastion of affordable housing

Some of Wall Street’s largest investment firms, including Apollo Global Management, The Blackstone Group and Brookfield Asset Management, are now landlords to some of America’s poorest residents.

Legislative efforts to protect trailer park residents from eviction show mixed results

The plight of residents in mobile home communities has caught the attention of state and federal lawmakers, who are working to craft legislation that would safeguard the rights of homeowners while helping to keep rents affordable.

Public housing, the last refuge for the poor, threatens to kick out tenants for small debts

Public housing is supposed to be a solution to homelessness, not a cause of it. The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism analyzed four years of eviction data to find out why five public-housing authorities are taking so many of their clients to court.

East Coast residents have ‘false sense of security’ about threats from invading saltwater

Around the country, scientists are sounding the alarm about saltwater intrusion. But the responses on the ground are sometimes inadequate and may not be sustainable because they run up against economic pressures from development, farming or tourism.

Coastal farmers being driven off their land as salt poisons the soil

With seas rising, farmers along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts increasingly suffer from one of the initial impacts of climate change: saltwater intrusion. Often, the damage is compounded by farming methods ingrained over the years.

As saltwater resculpts the East Coast, researchers say it can’t be stopped but we can adapt

From the mid-Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico, salt is killing groves of trees from the roots up. Advancing water is pressing landowners and farmers into wrenching decisions and is challenging conservationists to find corridors for marshes to survive.

Driven by rising seas, the threats to drinking water, crops from saltwater are growing in U.S.

The cascading consequences of saltwater intrusion were starkly revealed in interviews with more than 100 researchers, planners and coastal residents, along with soil testing and analyses of well-sample data conducted by the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism.

Salt levels in Florida’s groundwater rising at alarming rates; nuke plant is one cause

South Florida’s flooding streets get the attention, but what is happening beneath the surface presents clear — and in some cases eye-popping — evidence of another threat: saltwater intrusion.

Trump administration proposes step back from ‘housing first’ homeless policy

A new federal plan to end homelessness released this week by the Trump Administration calls for a reversal of Obama-era “housing first” policies.

Milwaukee evictions spurred by COVID-19, longstanding racism and poverty

States across the country temporarily barred landlords from evicting tenants this year as the coronavirus reached the United States, forcing businesses to shutter and unemployment to spike. Wisconsin was one of the first states to lift its eviction moratorium on May 26.

A federal law tried to block evictions and prevent homelessness. Cracks appeared immediately.

A two-month investigation by the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism found that while the federal and state moratoriums dramatically decreased eviction filings in April and May, cracks in the federal law appeared immediately.

Unable to evict, Massachusetts landlords avoid riskier tenants

The Massachusetts eviction moratorium is creating a deeper affordable housing crisis in the state, as landlords once willing to take on financially riskier tenants, like those with poor credit, balk at the prospect.

Tulsa landlords were offered rent if they didn’t evict. Few took the deal.

A program in Tulsa, Oklahoma, designed to stem evictions amid the pandemic fell flat when lawyers advised landlords the deal offering to pay back rent was too risky.

About The Howard Center

The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, launched in 2019, gives University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism students the opportunity to work with news organizations across the country to report stories of national or international importance to the public. The multidisciplinary program is focused on training the next generation of reporters through hands-on investigative journalism projects. The Howard Center is generously funded by $3 million from the Scripps Howard Foundation. It honors Roy W. Howard, one of the newspaper world’s most dynamic personalities. He became president of the United Press when he was 29 and 10 years later was named chairman of the board of Scripps Howard. He retired in 1953 but remained active in the company until his death at age 81 in 1964.



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Contact The Howard Center

Kathy Best, Director
Phone: 301-405-8808
Twitter @kbest

Sean Mussenden, Data editor
Email: smussend@umd.edu