Covid-19 Crisis Requires Strong, Consistent Support for Workers and Small Businesses, Attention to Communities of Color
Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 415-846-7758 (cell)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – The Greenlining Institute applauded today’s Senate approval of a Covid-19 relief and stimulus package as a good first step, but said that given the bill’s emphasis on corporations, much more will be needed to support American families, particularly in the communities of color that have been especially hard hit by the pandemic and economic crisis.
“The cash payments to families, expanded unemployment insurance and support for small businesses included in this bill will help to slow the bleeding, but they are just the beginning of what we must do,” said Greenlining Institute President and CEO Debra Gore-Mann. “We need a plan for a just recovery that supports workers and families and recognizes the special challenges in communities of color, where families and small businesses have fewer resources to fall back on. In addition, we also need a long-term plan that addresses structural racism and inequality in our economy. This bill represents just the first step in a journey toward an economy that truly works for all.”
Greenlining urged Congress and the president to consider the following as they plan future steps:
- Implementation will be critical. The oversight committee that will oversee aid to companies must look like America, with at least three of five members being nonwhite and at least three being women. The inspector general’s and oversight committee’s purview should be expanded to include a review of the small business fund. This oversight should include a report within six months examining how long it has taken for funds to reach small businesses and to what extent those funds have reached businesses owned by people of color.
- Families need consistent cash payments for the next 12 months. Economists are predicting “an economic tsunami” that will not end in a few weeks or even a few months.
- Small businesses need an additional recovery package that matches the $500 billion industry funding in the current bill. They also need a pause in debt payments and incentives for landlords to pause commercial rent payments.
- Homeowners and renters need a 12 month pause in housing payments, along with no foreclosures, evictions, or utility shut-offs during that same period. There should also be a particular focus on immigrants and unhoused populations.
- Students need their debt wiped clean, which will add $100 billion in economic activity to the economy.
- Cities need urgent help. The Federal Reserve should ramp up its acquisition of local municipal bonds so that cities have the funds needed to support communities.
- Nonprofits, especially grassroots organizations providing desperately-needed community services, need a bailout. This economic tidal wave threatens small and medium-sized nonprofits, especially those led by people of color, and they need assistance equivalent to the roughly $60 billion being set aside for airlines.
- Ensure access to health services. The $130 billion in aid for hospitals should ensure that funds are used to remove barriers to accessing care for low-income people who may lack adequate health coverage.
To learn more about The Greenlining Institute, visit www.greenlining.org.