It's a strange and scary time to be a citizen of the world. There have been 125,000 cases of coronavirus (which causes COVID-19) identified globally. In the US, the reported cases are starting to soar (over 1200 at the time of this writing, Friday, March 13th). and with the lag in appropriate testing and social distancing measures in the United States, that number is certainly quite a bit higher. That's why it is heartening to hear that communities are taking necessary precautions to contain the spread of COVID-19. Schools and offices are increasingly moving to remote options, most large gatherings are being canceled or postponed, and an increasing number of folks are practicing "social distancing." But with these social changes comes an increased threat to the most vulnerable among us in the form of food program cuts, utility shut-offs, bank foreclosures, and more.Sign the petition to call on all lawmakers, at both a state and federal level, to keep welfare programs running and private companies from taking advantage of the American people!
School closures pose a unique threat to children and parents. Many children depend on public school food programs for a lunch, and will not receive these benefits at home.
Parents will suddenly be faced with kids who are forced to finish the school year at home and require childcare. Some school districts are finding creative ways to keep feeding children during the outbreak and this is the model others should follow.
Office closures present their own set of obstacles. Many employees will not be compensated for their time away.
Workers in the service and gig industries are faced with an impossible choice - put their bodies on the line to make it by financially, or stay home and risk personal economic crisis.
These are not new issues, but are coming into sharp focus in the midst of this public health crisis. The fact remains that 28 million people in the U.S. are uninsured,
and many many more are underinsured. If these folks get sick, financial ruin is almost a guarantee. These risks create a web.
Without childcare or work, many will not be able to pay their bills or buy food. If folks get sick and have to pay out of pocket for testing or treatment, they will not be able to pay their bills or buy food.
The network of social programs in the United States are in place to provide welfare for those in need. The Trump administration, however, is already planning cruel and terribly timed cuts.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is scheduled to begin limiting aid to adults without disabilities or minor children - this will cut nearly 700,000 people in need from the program.
The House Democrat leaders have already proposed a bill
, called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, that would limit cuts such as these to national food welfare programs, as well as make certain demands from private insurance companies with regard to the testing and treatment of COVID-19.
Not only does this bill need to be passed into law - the entire country must respond in defense of its most vulnerable citizens. Philadelphia legislators have already put a moratorium on residential evictions, foreclosures, tax liens, and utility shut-offs. Private banks and utility companies must be held to the same standard nationwide.Please, sign the petition today and demand that Congress pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and that all legislators nationwide hold private banks, utility companies, insurance companies, and more accountable in protecting the United States' citizens in this time of crisis.