Morning Brief: Child Care Billing Mistakes, Repurposed Motels, And Night Owls
Good morning, L.A. It’s April 7.
Child care providers have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19.
Faced with on-and-off closures, losing clients due to families’ changing financial circumstances, and complying with sometimes costly safety mandates, many day cares and preschools that were already operating on thin margins have been pushed to the brink of financial catastrophe.
Now, some home-based child care providers in L.A. are facing yet another hurdle, reports my colleague Mariana Dale — in October, they were erroneously sent bills for fire permits, some for upwards of $500. Most who paid the bills are still waiting for refunds.
For context, a 2017 report found that family child care providers in L.A. County made an average of $11.73 an hour. That means a bill for $500 could be the difference between staying open and closing for good.
Diana Mangioglu, L.A.’s Office of Finance Director and City Treasurer, said that the bills were sent in error due in part to staffing shortages caused by pandemic-prompted cutbacks.
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“Something that could have taken us five minutes to correct, you know, is now taking us several days to perhaps implement,” she said.
Still, many child care providers can’t wait. The city is apparently only sending refunds to those who request them, and some providers have reported receiving failure-to-pay notices with additional fines.
“Everyone deserves their money back,” said provider Estrella Mundy. “They can use that money for something else.”
Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.
What Else You Need To Know Today
- Repurposed hotels, motels and vacant offices could help increase the number of available rental units in L.A.
- For the next few days, it’ll get super hot and sweaty. A heat advisory, which was issued at 11 a.m. yesterday, is expected to remain in effect through 6 p.m. Friday.
- L.A.’s automotive fleet — including street sweepers, garbage trucks and more — will soon transition to electric vehicles.
- Under a new program, facilities around L.A. County will have free feminine hygiene products, diapers, and other personal care items.
- Gender-nonconforming people experiencing homelessness often face a bumpy road to safe housing.
- Official travel to Texas and Florida has been suspended by L.A. County lawmakers after the two states took discriminatory steps targeting LGBTQ+ youth and their families.
- California has mandated composting. Here's what L.A.'s doing to help make environmentally-friendly organic waste disposal easy for all Angelenos.
Before You Go ... Rejoice, Night Owls
The pandemic prompted an accidental experiment into flexible, at-home working hours. And some initial research shows that night owls — those among us who are hard-wired to perform better in the later evening hours — might benefit the most from this shift.
Researchers in Italy found that many Italians whose circadian rhythms aren’t naturally fit for a 9-5 job thrived, and saw health improvements when they were free to toil away into the night. Stay up until midnight reading about it here.