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Letter: Missourians desperately need virus economic relief

Letter: Missourians desperately need virus economic relief

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Free diapers and meals for kids given out at St. Louis County Libraries

Gina Sheridan hands out meals for kids to people lined up at the Lewis & Clark Branch branch of the St. Louis County Public Library for diaper and food give-away on Friday, April 3, 2020. The St. Louis Area Diaper Bank and Operation Food Search partnered with the St. Louis County Library to host a drive-up give away of meals and diapers at four different libraries in the county. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

Regarding the editorial “Republicans should be focused on pandemic aid before the economy founders” (Nov. 15): The Editorial Board is correct that, “More shutdowns are coming, and unless more federal aid is also forthcoming, Americans will feel the brunt of it in ways they didn’t last time.” The U.S. House has been willing; the Senate has not. As coronavirus diagnoses increase and restrictions are tightened, it is obvious that Missourians need help to get through the winter.

In addition to a new round of stimulus checks and expanded unemployment, Empower Missouri stresses the importance of these actions: 1) Increase the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit by 15% to address hunger. According to Feeding America, Missouri’s pandemic food insecurity rate is likely to rise from 12% to 16.4%. 2) Increase rental assistance by at least $100 billion. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium on evictions is reducing harm for many at present, but debt is accumulating and hurting both tenants and landlords. 3) Missouri must adopt a winter moratorium on both evictions and utility shutoffs, since access to stable utilities and housing does have health impacts. Again, federal assistance is needed to pay down debt.

Federal assistance reduces suffering and also boosts local economies so Missouri can weather the virus storm. Sens. Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley need to compel Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to swiftly pass needed relief.

Christine Woody • Jefferson City

Senior Policy and Advocacy Coordinator

Empower Missouri

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