Statement on Stalled COVID-19 Relief Talks in Washington

Friends,

As you may have seen, earlier this week, the president announced that his administration would pull back from ongoing negotiations over the next critical package to provide COVID relief. As talks can always restart in the future, I am deeply troubled that inaction today will only contribute to prolonged suffering for many families and individuals across the State of Oregon in the years to come.

Neighborhood Partnerships fights every day to ensure that everyone has a safe, stable, and affordable place to call home. We strive to ensure that economic justice is available to everyone, particularly for BIPOC communities who have experienced the significant and disparate impact of COVID – from the health impacts to job losses, in addition to the existing crisis of structural racism in our society.

What is clear today is that Oregonian families and individuals will have to keep waiting to get the relief that many so desperately need. The inaction of the current Administration has denied Oregonians much needed support, including:

  1. Emergency assistance to help low-income renters who are at risk of homelessness;
  2. Additional stimulus checks for families and their dependents;
  3. Continued funding for unemployment insurance;
  4. Much needed technical fixes to allow FEMA to better address Oregon’s unprecedented wildfire season; and
  5. Funding to protect and house individuals with disabilities, among so much more.

Since the passage of the CARES Act in March, we at Neighborhood Partnerships have understood that ongoing and additional relief would be needed. The CARES Act failed to truly or meaningfully address the need for housing assistance for people who had lost work due to the pandemic, and seven months later, we have seen the grim effects of federal inaction. Families have seen dramatic losses in income from reduced hours or layoffs. Small businesses have made the difficult decision to permanently shut their doors. Households are cutting into their savings or 401k, if they have the privilege to have either. Census Pulse data from the last month alone found that nearly one in three Oregonians are paying for basic necessities and bills with credit cards. Without current eviction moratoria in place, we would be seeing one of the largest eviction crises in modern history.

Meanwhile, some Congressional Republicans worry that House-passed relief legislation would protect too many people from falling into poverty.

Please know that Neighborhood Partnerships will continue to fight to dismantle the many systems that leave out or actively oppress Oregonians.

We stand with Oregonians who are experiencing unimaginable loss and trauma from the pandemic, wildfires, and as we peacefully march in the memories of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Tony McDade, and countless other Black Americans who have died as a result of systemic racism in America.

Humbly,

Carlos David García