Congressman Jimmy Gomez and House Democrats Propose $10 Billion for Vulnerable Families

Washington, D.C. — Today, Reps. Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Judy Chu (CA-27), Linda Sanchez (CA-38), and Rep. Danny Davis (IL-07) introduced the Social Services Pandemic Disaster Relief Act. The bill would provide $10 billion for essential emergency assistance to vulnerable children, families, and individuals, including those who may not be receiving other assistance during the pandemic. The funding would be distributed using the Social Services Block Grant and states would be required to pass through at least 50% of funds to counties, cities, tribes, and community-based organizations with experience vulnerable communities. The funds must be used to provide essential emergency assistance, including cash, non-cash, and in-kind disaster relief aid to help with basic wellbeing necessities likes food, shelter, and needed supplies.

This proposal was also included as a part of the Heroes Act, the latest $3 trillion COVID-19 relief bill proposed by House Democrats. The sponsors issued the following statements:

“We need to target our assistance to those who need it most,” said Rep. Gomez. “But during this unprecedented pandemic, too many families are being left behind. Local governments and community-based organizations are well-positioned to provide emergency assistance to help community members with basic necessities, and our bill will ensure that we can quickly get these resources out to communities in Los Angeles and around the country.”
“With the economy on hold and millions of Americans worried how they will survive more months of social distancing requirements, Congress has had to act quickly to provide relief that will keep businesses operating, workers paid, and families in their homes,” said Rep. Chu. “But as we have seen with previous relief efforts, the most vulnerable will still fall through the cracks. That is why I’m so proud to be working with my colleagues to provide $10 billion for essential emergency assistance to vulnerable children, families, and individuals. This money, provided through Social Security Block Grants, will go to those who have demonstrated an ability to get aid to those who need it most. This is for all of our benefit. If we want to rebuild our economy, we need to make sure that everyone is included. And that must include keeping our most vulnerable on their feet while we weather this crisis.”
“There is no one-size-fits-all solution to helping families who are struggling during this pandemic,” said Rep Sánchez. “What matters is getting assistance to those who need it and doing so without delay. I’m proud that the Heroes Act will include our bill to provide resources for some of the most vulnerable Americans – many who may not have benefitted under previous relief packages. This emergency aid will help people with basic necessities like food and shelter. Additionally, by leveraging existing programs, we can quickly deliver relief for our communities."
“Once again the persistent disparities in our society, our physical well-being and our economy have emerged with brutal clarity under the impact of the coronavirus,” said Rep. Davis. “The modest $10 billion my colleagues and I are championing will provide significant emergency assistance to improve well-being and help meet basic needs.  The bill is designed to get this critical aid to the local level quickly, prioritizing people who may not be receiving other help and entities with demonstrated success in helping individuals most in need.”

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