After months of delays, leaders in the U.S. Senate returned to work out a compromise with the House of Representatives on long-overdue COVID stimulus. The final package provides more than $900 million in relief to people and communities who have been hard hit by the pandemic — including direct relief checks, small business support, extended unemployment benefits and critical investments in food assistance initiatives.

At the state level, legislators convened in Salem to pass a robust relief package that provides additional funding for pandemic and wildfire response, extends Oregon’s eviction moratorium, and invests in much-needed financial relief for tenants and property owners affected by COVID-19.

None of this would have been possible without your continued grassroots advocacy. Oregonians sent hundreds of messages to our state legislators and congressional delegation urging action — and they heard our voices loud and clear!

Federal Relief Package

State Relief Package

  • SNAP Benefits Increased and Extended | Boosts maximum benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by 15 percent over the next six months, increasing food assistance for families while investing dollars in local grocery stores. Also expands SNAP benefits and eligibility for some unemployed individuals and college students.
  • P-EBT Eligibility Expanded | Expands the Pandemic Electronic Benefits (P-EBT) program for children under six, helping to fill nutritional needs when early education or childcare programs are closed due to COVID-19. Also gives states additional flexibility to support the distribution of P-EBT benefits to school-age children — which is especially good news for families who aren’t otherwise eligible for SNAP food assistance.
  • TEFAP Increased | Provides $400 million in funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). The program supports food banks’ efforts to provide emergency food assistance at no cost to low-income Americans, sourced entirely from American farmers and food producers.
  • Additional Food Assistance for Seniors | $175 million allotted to senior nutrition services, including Meals on Wheels — coupled with a $13 million investment in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), which serves low-income seniors.

More info from CNN.

  • Eviction Moratorium Extended | Oregonians who have lost income during the pandemic will no longer face eviction at year’s end, with an extension of the existing moratorium through June 2021.
  • New Housing Assistance for Renters | Invests $50 million to help individuals facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 pay rent that is currently due.
  • Support for Impacted Property Owners | Creates a $150 million fund to help offset losses of property owners whose tenants have lost income and fallen behind on rent.

Details in the Oregonian.

While this is an important victory for families facing hunger and poverty, we know there’s a long road ahead. We expect the economic fallout from this pandemic to last a year or longer after vaccines are widely available to the public. Additional federal stimulus and state-level action will no doubt be needed to ensure our communities emerge stronger from this crisis.

We’ll keep you posted with budget and policy priorities that will help prevent hunger and poverty from becoming added symptoms of COVID-19. If you don’t yet receive Advocacy & Action Alerts from Oregon Food Bank, sign up here to stay in the loop.

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