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Dream Corps Urges COVID-19 Relief in Letter to Congress

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Charles Schumer
Majority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C 20515

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer, Minority Leader McCarthy, and Minority Leader McConnell:

On behalf of the millions of people in the communities we serve, we urge you to act swiftly during the 117th Congress to get urgent relief to everyone impacted by the pandemic and ensure an equitable and inclusive path to economic recovery for all. COVID-19 has drastically altered the lives, immediate needs, and futures of the American people, especially those in communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and recession. With your leadership, we are confident that our country can create new pathways to prosperity for people who have been excluded from opportunity and recovery resources, and lift up those who have lost jobs, businesses, homes, and loved ones as a result of COVID-19.

In order for our nation’s response to the pandemic to be truly comprehensive and equitable for all, we urge you to pass legislation that invests in community recovery, supports racial equity, and furthers restorative justice:

Economic Relief and Community Investment

  1. Extend paid sick and family medical leave to protect public health.
  2. Extend the moratorium on evictions and utility shutoffs, and incentives for utilities to forgive utility bill debt and negotiate reasonable payment plans for low-income households.
  3. Increase funding for the LIHEAP program to help households pay their electric and gas bills and to weatherize their homes, thereby helping them keep more money in their pockets.
  4. Ensure adequate economic relief and enhanced uninsurance payments to all low and middle income households, including those who are currently incarcerated. 
  5. Ensure the continuation of the Paycheck Protection Program to assist small businesses across the country, especially in communities hardest hit by the pandemic and minority-owned businesses. 
  6. Provide adequate federal funding to state, local, and tribal governments to ensure the continuation of health, transportation, housing, education, and other vital services. 

Justice and Reentry

  1. Incentivize a moratorium on the collection of criminal justice-related fines and fees, and ensure access to federal benefits and small business loans, including the PPP, to help people returning home from prison and impacted by a criminal record get access to jobs, housing, and meaningful federal assistance. 
  2. Prioritize safety and rehabilitation over punishment across the justice system by ensuring adequate funding for PPE, testing, and vaccine distribution in correctional facilities, increasing funding for alternatives to incarceration, and providing funding for virtual learning and job training programs that are currently suspended for health concerns in the federal Bureau of Prisons.

Essential Mobility and Infrastructure

  1. Provide emergency funding of $39 billion for safe, reliable public transit that protects workers and riders, and provides essential mobility for millions of transit-dependent Americans—many of whom have been left stranded by massive service cuts due to lost fares and lower state and local revenues.
  2. Provide $50 billion in grant funding for state, local, and tribal governments which will expand access to high speed broadband internet and ensure every student has access to the hardware and software needed for successful virtual learning.

Despite the issues that divide us, the large majority of Americans agree on this—it is time to end the partisan tug-of-war holding our country back and come together to create solutions that carry us forward. We urge you to pass these reforms and policies to end this era of pain and suffering and lead our country into an era of healing and hope for all. We ask that every member of the 117th Congress prioritize the American people, and take action to pass these priorities in the next congressional relief package. 


Sincerely,

Nisha Anand
CEO, Dream Corps

Janos Marton
National Director



Michelle Romero
National Director

Michelle Ferguson &
Kasheef Wyzard
Co-Directors

For policy related inquiries:

Shannon Baker-Branstetter
Deputy Director of Policy, Dream Corps Green For All
Contact: [email protected], (571) 225-8128

Harry Johnson, II
Government Affairs Manager, Dream Corps Green For All
Contact: [email protected], (412)304-4492

For media/general inquiries:
Carmen Coffee
Director of Communications, Dream Corps
Contact: [email protected], (405) 473-2254

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