FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
11:33 pm, February 26, 2021
Contact: Emily Weikert Bryant, 317-452-9829, firstname.lastname@example.org
Statement attributed to Emily Weikert Bryant, Executive Director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, and Jessica Fraser, Director of the Indiana Institute for Working Families:
House COVID Relief Bill Is the Response Hoosiers Need
The expected passage in the U.S. House of Representatives of a comprehensive COVID relief bill will be an important step forward. This legislation is the kind of action we need in this moment, when the economy is still weak and the virus is not yet under control. We call on the Senate to pass this bill quickly, before pandemic unemployment benefits expire on March 14. We also urge Senators Young and Braun to oppose any effort to weaken the bill’s assistance for the thousands of Hoosiers facing hardship at this economically devastating time.
A recovery is still far off, and the greatest risk now is that Congress will do too little, rather than too much. The pandemic has caused widespread financial pain, with people of color often hit the hardest. 35 percent of Hoosiers recently reported that it is somewhat or very difficult for them to pay for usual household expenses due to the COVID pandemic. People continue to line up for miles outside food banks, now with one in four Hoosier children facing food insecurity. 15-29 percent of Hoosier households who rent are at risk of eviction. Economic recovery isn’t going to happen overnight, especially for people of color, who waited longest in past recessions to see the gains from a rebounding job market.
Five key elements of the House-passed bill will help struggling people in Indiana: (1) an extension of emergency measures such as increased SNAP food benefits, the federal eviction moratorium, and pandemic unemployment assistance; (2) rental assistance to keep people in their homes; (3) financial assistance to help meet urgent household expenses such as utility bills and car payments, delivered through expanded tax credits and stimulus payments; (4) improved access to affordable health coverage through enhanced premium tax; and (5) much-needed state and local government fiscal relief.
The Senate should embrace this plan to provide relief to families and state and local governments and make it even stronger by extending unemployment assistance through September to avoid putting Hoosiers at risk for a lapse in benefits. We look forward to working with Senator Young and Senator Braun to ensure the Senate bill provides the same critical investments that are so important to Hoosiers.
We know what works to help our neighbors and communities in Indiana make it through this pandemic. Now is the time to act.
About Feeding Indiana’s Hungry
Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, Inc. is the statewide association of Feeding America affiliated food banks. Member food banks include:
Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, Merrillville
Food Bank of Northern Indiana, South Bend
Food Finders Food Bank, Inc., Lafayette
Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana, Ft. Wayne
Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana, Inc., Muncie
Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank, Terre Haute
Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Indianapolis
Hoosier Hills Food Bank, Bloomington
Tri-State Food Bank, Inc., Evansville
Dare to Care Food Bank, Louisville, KY
Freestore Foodbank, Cincinnati, OH
About the Indiana Institute for Working Families
The Indiana Institute for Working Families, a program of the Indiana Community Action Association, engages in research and promotes public policy to help more Hoosiers achieve and maintain financial well-being.