Open Letter to Mayor Bowser: cash assistance urgently needed

Dear Mayor Bowser, Our residents need assistance. Our organizations touch thousands of workers who are being left to fend for themselves as part of a community response to the deadly and fast-moving Coronavirus. Cash assistance now will stem a humanitarian disaster and mitigate racial inequities that are rising as a result of the pandemic. Excluded workers include tens of thousands of immigrant families and other workers. These people make DC work. They care for children and grandparents so others can go to their offices, they clean hotel rooms to make our hospitality sector strong, they power our new development by constructing our buildings, they keep our offices clean overnight, they wash dishes and keep bars stocked so we can enjoy our cocktails and DC’s fine dining. They are active members of the DC community. It is a matter of racial equity that we ensure these residents can access cash assistance. The population that is not covered by cash assistance is almost exclusively Black and Brown residents. Any negative impacts stemming from the lack of income and assistance will hurt not only these adults, but their children as well, further disadvantaging them. We need a response that is bigger than any of our organizations can do alone. This is the role only government can fill. The federal government has left our neighbors behind. But we cannot. The impact of local assistance to our neighbors will be multiplied. It will help our neighbors Stay Home DC and limit the need to seek informal work, leave safe housing, or leave home to access information. It will circulate in the local economy, keeping...

Still Excluded

We are very disappointed that DC leaders have made no commitments to provide cash assistance to DC workers who are ineligible for unemployment benefits. As a result, the workers who built our restaurant, hospitality, construction, home care, and other industries are left with no government resources to turn to. It is a matter of life or death for our communities that these workers stay home. And they are. It is also a matter of life or death if we support them. Without the ability to access assistance, workers and their families will return to work in the informal economy, be forced out of their homes and into homelessness and overcrowding, suffer from poor nutrition, and more. We can not ask our community to #StayHomeDC and do nothing to ensure that they can safely do so. Right now, excluded families are relying on informal networks, compassionate volunteers, and the generosity of strangers. Those resources simply do not match the scale of aid that DC government could provide. And the government, not good neighbors, should be responsible for the well being of our whole community. DC has built powerful industries on the backs of workers who have been made invisible and are regularly excluded. In all cases, that is an injustice. In this case, it is unconscionable. Estamos muy decepcionados de que los líderes de DC no se hayan comprometido a proporcionar asistencia en efectivo a los trabajadores de DC que no son elegibles para beneficios de desempleo. Como resultado, los trabajadores que construyeron nuestro restaurante, hospitalidad, construcción, cuidado del hogar y otras industrias no tienen recursos gubernamentales. Es una cuestión...

Cash assistance is critical to our neighbors

URGENT ACTION: EMAIL AND CALL TODAY Email Mayor Bowser and Chairman Mendelson https://actionnetwork.org/letters/support-excluded-workers-cash-assistance-desperately-needed EMAIL NOW Call Mayor Bowser – you may need to try more than one of the following numbers: (202) 727-2643 (202) 727-2600 (202) 478-9200 (202) 442-8119 (202) 664-7512 Message: Mayor Bowser, the federal government will not take care of all the members of our community. We have to. Please commit $5 million for cash assistance to those who have been left behind. Add your personal story. Social media: Images and sample tweets here MORE INFORMATION Labor unions, faith community, service providers, community organizations, and concerned neighbors  call on Mayor Bowser and the DC Council to make individual grants available to residents facing financial hardship. We call on Mayor Bowser to make $5 million available to DC residents who are ineligible for other cash assistance, and for the DC Council to legislate it’s use. We encourage you to make cash assistance available to residents who will not be able to access federal assistance or unemployment benefits. We were very disappointed to learn that funding for excluded workers which had been included in the bill circulated to the DC Council on Friday, has been fully removed from the more recent version circulated last night.  These “excluded workers” include tens of thousands of immigrant families and other workers.  These people make DC work, but their work is sometimes invisible. They care for children and grandparents so others can go out of the home to work, they clean hotel rooms to make our hospitality sector strong, they power our new development by constructing our buildings, they keep our offices clean overnight, they wash dishes...

Urgent Need: Cash Assistance for Excluded Workers

We urge Mayor Bowser and DC Council need to provide cash assistance to DC residents who cannot work, access unemployment benefits, and/or receive federal stimulus assistance. We call this group “excluded workers.” DC government should use the programs and infrastructure that already exists to get assistance to as many excluded workers as possible. DC government must also make grant funding available – with the ability to subgrant – to local nonprofits to meet the needs of people disconnected from government services. Take Action Now. Send an email with these needs and solutions to members of the DC Council and Mayor Bowser’s office.  Link to letter here. Mendelson: PMENDELSON@dccouncil.us ecash@dccouncil.us Silverman: ESilverman@dccouncil.us lweiss@dccouncil.us Robert White: rwhite@dccouncil.us mngwenya@dccouncil.us Grosso: dgrosso@dccouncil.us mnocella@dccouncil.us Bonds: ABonds@dccouncil.us ikang@dccouncil.us Nadeau:  BNadeau@dccouncil.us tjackson@dccouncil.us Cheh: MCheh@dccouncil.us jwillingham@dccouncil.us Todd: BTodd@dccouncil.us snewman@dccouncil.us McDuffie: kmcduffie@dccouncil.us mflowers@dccouncil.us Allen: CAllen@dccouncil.us lmarks@dccouncil.us Gray: vgray@dccouncil.us EGoulet@dccouncil.us Trayon White: twhite@dccouncil.us wlockridge@dccouncil.us Solutions: Create a benefit that mirrors Unemployment Assistance that is available to people who do not have Social Security or Alien Registration Numbers There are thousands of DC residents and workers who have documented income but do not have the ability to access unemployment. In fact, these workers have even had Unemployment Insurance paid on their behalf, but cannot access the current system. DC should make unemployment benefits available using a model similar to the one under development in New Jersey. The new program regulations should allow for ITIN or other means of identifying workers that does not rely on SSN and ARN Use existing government programs to provide cash and food assistance to residents in need The DC Healthcare Alliance is the of the...

Federal and Local Sick Leave Webinar

Every worker in DC has a right to paid sick days. Starting in April these rights will be expanded by new federal paid sick days legislation. Join us next Tuesday for a webinar on the ins and outs of paid sick days in the District and the new federal legislation. Federal and Local Sick Leave Webinar Tuesday, Mar 31, 2:00 – 3:00 PM RSVP...

COVID-19 Resources

VACCINE ELEGIBLE CATEGORIES AS OF 3/22 You can pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine at coronavirus.dc.gov/vaccinatedc Individuals who work in health care settings Members of the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department Residents of long-term and intermediate care facilities and residents of community residential facilities/group homes DC residents who are 65 years old and older Individuals experiencing homelessness Members of the Metropolitan Police Department Department of Corrections Employees & Residents Continuity of Government Operations personnel All teachers and staff who work for a school or licensed child care facilities in DC Grocery store workers Outreach workers who work in health, human, and social services Individuals working in manufacturing Individuals working in food packaging DC Residents with qualifying medical conditions (see here for more info) Staff working in courts and individuals providing legal services Frontline employees of public (mass) transit Employees of the U.S. Postal Service Staff working in food service Essential employees in local government agencies Essential employees of public utilities Essential employees in health, human, and social services organizations/agencies who were not vaccinated as outreach workers Individuals working in commercial and residential property maintenance and environment services Links to other resources: Coronavirus Resources from the Mayor’s office: coronavirus.dc.gov DC Council Elissa Silverman: D.C. Unemployment Insurance (UI) Basics for COVID-19 Emergency DC Government: Video on applying for unemployment DC Office of the Attorney General: Coronavirus Consumer Alerts  DCist: How To Get Unemployment And Other Benefits In D.C., Virginia, And Maryland Legal Aid DC: Non-legal Resource Guide  Unite Here! Local 25 Resources: Coronavirus and Unemployment Resources by State (DC, MD, VA)   Washington Interfaith Network: Accessing food and plugging in to...