Our Solutions: George Floyd
The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers is a despicable tragedy. This Emmett Till moment follows the killings of Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Botham Jean, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbreu, and far too many others.
Here are four ways that you can help to address race discrimination and poverty:
- Support all efforts to raise the minimum wage to at least $15 per hour to cut poverty
- Support my legislation for independent investigation of police involved killings.
- Support all efforts to create new rules for the use of force by police officers.
- Vote for leaders who will fight for 1-3.
As many of us go out and protest these unjust killings, please remember that stealing from stores and destroying our local small businesses is wrong. even with the current record levels of unemployment. The oppression is real. The pain is justified. Most of the neighborhoods in district have been spared from extensive looting.
We can and must respond to the discrimination and oppression Please join me in future conversations and actions on the road ahead. Thank you.
Housing Relief Victory Details
We did it. Last week, Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation to allocate $2.6 billion of federal CARES Act money that included my housing relief solutions for Pennsylvania. The housing package included:
- $150 million for rental assistance;
- $25 million for mortgage assistance;
- $10 million for domestic violence and housing support services;
- $10 million for homeless assistance;
- $8 million for legal services providers;
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) will manage the rental and mortgage assistance programs, which will be called the COVID Relief – Rental and Mortgage Assistance Grant Program. Grants will be available to individual renters, homeowners and landlords. More detail will be forthcoming.
PHFA will announce guidelines for the program and application details in the near future. Please check the PHFA website for updates.
Education Funding Spotlight
The CARES allocation legislation we passed in Pennsylvania also included new funding for education. The PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) will receive $30 million for costs incurred due to COVID-19. The PA Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) will receive $42 million for grants to students, student loan interest payments, and other COVID-19 spending. An additional $125 million will be directed to childcare and early education, including $116 million for childcare services.
Governor Wolf signed a five-month interim budget for 2020 spending, but education was funded for the full year, not just five months. The budget will fund education at 2019-20 levels for the next fiscal year. Public schools will also receive $215 million for COVID-19 Disaster Emergency School Health and Safety Grants. These funds can be used for purchasing sanitizing products, PPE, modifying existing areas to support social distancing for students and staff, and more.
CARES Act Funding: Other Highlights
The CARES Act legislation included more relief for Pennsylvanians hurt by COVID-19. $722 million will be provided for Health and Human Services programs, including $420 million for nursing facilities. Counties and municipalities will receive $625 million.
Small Business Grants
$245 million will be provided for small business grants, including $112 million for historically disadvantaged business. Emergency Management Services will receive $100 million.
While we still face a $5 billion shortfall and tough decisions, the budget and federal CARES Act funding will help our state through the coming months. If you would like more information about the budget or any new programs, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Musical Mood Boost
Here is a song to get your week started. People Get Ready by the Impressions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l04yM7-BWbg
Be the Light,
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