Weekly Update: We must include all Americans in the pandemic response

Meatpacking outbreaks highlight immediate need to protect workers

As meatpacking plants in Nebraska become the epicenter of the state’s coronavirus outbreak, the struggles faced by the workers inside are becoming increasingly apparent and alarming. Many face a difficult choice: go to work and risk exposing yourself and your family, or stay at home with no pay.

This crisis has deepened existing inequities already faced by our workers and has exposed a critical lack of programs and protections they need at a crucial time. It’s clear that these essential workers don’t have the essential benefits they need.

We put together a blog that highlights what we are hearing from workers across the state and outlines the protections needed to ensure the safety of our workforce.

Call Governor Ricketts’ office at (402) 471-2244 and ask him to take additional measures to ensure that Nebraskans are safe and protected while at work.

Important resources for former foster youth

Nebraska Appleseed’s Child Welfare program teamed up with Rose, Executive Director at The Hub and Bobbi, an advocate for system-involved youth, to share important COVID-19 resources for older youth with foster care and juvenile justice system experience.

The video covers topics such as assistance with housing, rent, and evictions, other benefits such as unemployment. It also shares helpful tips around mental health and parenting during the pandemic. You can view the video here.

Health insurance access in the pandemic

Now, more than ever, everyone in our state needs affordable, quality health insurance. During this difficult time, it is vital that all Nebraskans know some of the coverage options available. We put together a blog post outlining what may be available to individuals and families who need access to health insurance during this time.

We also know that 90,000 of our friends and neighbors are unable to get insurance because Nebraska has yet to implement Medicaid expansion. We want to hear what Medicaid expansion means to you. Take action by sharing your Medicaid expansion story here.

We must include all Americans in pandemic response

As the country continues to navigate the public health and economic crisis, it is critical for Congress to respond to the vital needs of our communities by passing an inclusive, fourth coronavirus relief package. This legislation must ensure that testing, medical care, financial relief, food assistance, and foster care funding covers all Americans, regardless of immigration status.

As federal policymakers continue to consider and negotiate on this next round of legislation, it is crucial to include the following measures:

  • Ensure all Americans, regardless of immigration status, are eligible for all public health, worker support, and financial relief measures in the bill.
  • Increase federal foster care funding, extend services to support current and former foster youth, and place a moratorium on discharges from the foster care system until youth reach age 22.
  • Increase SNAP benefits by 15% and the monthly minimum allotment, suspend meal debt collections and the implementation of a new rule designed to limit access to food assistance.
  • Provide emergency rental assistance to prevent mass evictions and increased homelessness.
  • Substantially expand coverage of and access to health care by maintaining and building on increased federal funding of Medicaid, and opening a special enrollment period under the ACA exchange to allow more people to acquire health insurance.

Click here to learn more about these policies and how you can take action to urge Congress to do more to protect communities impacted by the pandemic.

Stay up to date on Appleseed’s issues

You can keep up on the latest updates by following Appleseed online. Like our Facebook page and follow issues in real-time on Appleseed’s Twitter feed. Stop by our blog for opinion pieces, informative updates, and news stories.

We’ll let you know how you can take action to get involved and make your voice heard!

Thank you for your continued advocacy during this time of uncertainty.

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