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The original item was published from 12/7/2020 1:56:00 PM to 12/7/2020 3:50:55 PM.

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Posted on: December 7, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Western Mayors Call On Congress to Act on COVID Relief

Panoramic view of downtown Eugene looking towards Spencer Butte

A coalition of western state mayors, has joined together to call on Congress for additional COVID-19 relief legislation during the current lame duck session, saying “This is not about politics – it’s about people’s lives.”


The cities, Berkley (CA), Boise (ID), Eugene (OR), Everett, (WA), Fresno (CA), Oakland (CA), Portland (OR), Sacramento (CA), San Diego (CA), San Francisco (CA), San Jose (CA), Seattle (WA) and West Hollywood (CA), represent nearly seven million people and are asking congressional leadership to “prioritize funding to assist individuals and families in need, provide financial assistance to small businesses and organizations, and assist local governments.”


They go on to write “we need to recognize that Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), people with disabilities, the undocumented, people experiencing houselessness, and people experiencing poverty and housing insecurity have been disproportionally affected by this crisis.”


3 Key Areas Where Relief is Critical

The mayors’ detail three key areas where relief is particularly critical:


  • Assistance to Individuals and Families
    “Families kept from work or impacted by unemployment due to COVID-19 face housing instability, food insecurity, and numerous other needs. We need you to help prevent a tidal wave of evictions and foreclosures across this country by passing legislation that provides emergency rental assistance, mortgage assistance, and programs to prevent COVID-19-related evictions and foreclosures. We are also seeing enormous demand at our nonprofit partners and food banks which demand need additional funding and expanded access to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Programs. And as the virus surges, we ask that you also support an extension of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, which is keeping individuals and families financially afloat.”
  • Assistance to Small Businesses and Organizations
    “We urge additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and transparency requirements to ensure that banks are providing loans to BIPOC- and women-owned businesses. Additionally, we need support for businesses for whom the PPP doesn’t work, such as restaurants and performance venues.”
  • Assistance to Local Governments
    “Local governments need direct and flexible financial assistance in order to continue providing vital services to our communities. Nearly 70% of cities have not received CARES Act funding to date and over 70% are instituting staffing cuts to meet budgetary restraints. During a time of increased need for municipal services to ensure our communities weather the public health emergency and economic slowdown, cities have been hamstrung by restricted access to federal stimulus funding. We ask that you provide financial assistance directly to local governments, utilizing HUD’s Community Development Block Grant Entitlement Program formula as a guide. Additionally, assistance to the nation’s transit agencies, which are lifelines will continue to allow front line workers to get to jobs and to help the economy recover. Without direct financial stimulus, local governments will not be able to meet the basic and expanding needs of our communities as the pandemic worsen.”


The Mayors Signing the Letter:

  • Mayor Ted Wheeler, City of Portland
  • Mayor Jenny Durkan, City of Seattle
  • Mayor London Breed, City of San Francisco
  • Mayor Libby Schaaf, City of Oakland
  • Mayor Sam Liccardo, City of San Jose
  • Mayor Lauren McLean, City of Boise
  • Mayor Lee Brand, City of Fresno
  • Mayor Darrell Steinberg, City of Sacramento
  • Mayor Lucy Vinis, City of Eugene Mayor Jesse Arreguin, City of Berkeley
  • Mayor Cassie Franklin, City of Everett Mayor Lindsey Horvath, City of West Hollywood
  • Mayor-elect Todd Gloria, City of San Diego


Quotes

Mayor Sam Liccardo, City of San Jose

"Congress is quibbling while our cities burn. Americans critically need Congress to approve a relief package to save hard-working small business owners, struggling renters, and desperate families."


Mayor Ted Wheeler, City of Portland

"This is an all-hands on deck moment. We need a strong federal partnership to help our families and small businesses recover from the virus-caused recession. It’s time for Congress to step up and provide financial assistance using HUD’s tried and true block grant formula. It’s established. It’s fair. It works. It’s needed now more than ever.”


Mayor Libby Schaaf, City of Oakland

“Oaklanders need relief right now. Residents in every city across America are falling short on the basic needs of food, rent, and healthcare. Our Congress must act now to deliver an immediate life-line to our residents.”


Mayor Darrell Steinberg, City of Sacramento

“The first round of federal stimulus money provided a crucial lifeline to help small businesses and families avoid economic calamity in the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic. But the crisis is ongoing, and without another round of assistance many businesses will fail, families will lose their housing and local governments will be forced to cut services and lay off thousands of employees.”


Mayor-elect Todd Gloria, City of San Diego

“With COVID-19 cases rising to critical levels, workers, families, and small businesses are in desperate need of assistance. Local agencies know our communities and can provide direct help to those who need it most. We are calling on Congress to act quickly to provide relief in response to the public health and economic crises. Lives are at stake."

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