People across Alabama are hurting. Elected leaders have bailed out corporations while sending only a one-time cash payment to working families despite record unemployment and a public health crisis! Hometown Action is fighting for working people across Alabama to build inclusive and sustainable small town and rural communities. We demand Congress pass a People’s Bailout that expands healthcare, sends cash payments to families, and invests in green jobs to restart the economy.
GUARANTEED HEALTHCARE DURING THE PANDEMIC
Our health depends on the health of the person next to us, and the people next to them. We believe we should guarantee healthcare, including prescription drugs, to everyone in the U.S. at no cost to individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the solution we need to meet the scale of this crisis. Over 340,000 Alabamians were uninsured or barely able to pay for insurance before the pandemic. But with mass unemployment, many more are losing access to care. In the midst of a global pandemic, guaranteeing healthcare should be our top priority!
Public health experts have made it clear that guaranteed homes for all is an essential part of ending the COVID-19 pandemic. We need a national moratorium on evictions + foreclosures during this period. And, we need to cancel all rent and mortgage payments during the crisis so that people can stay in their homes and not accrue debt through the crisis. Census.gov reports that 35 percent of Alabama is currently considered insecure in their housing.
ECONOMIC RELIEF DIRECTLY TO THE PEOPLE
As families and communities continue to deal with the economic crisis, we must provide lasting financial support to those already struggling before this crisis unfolded. Emergency money to the people delivers help to those who need it most - it would provide $2,000 every month until the economy recovers. With mass unemployment and many parents faced with the difficult choice of sending their kids back to school or staying home so they can use online options as Alabama’s COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket, providing direct monthly payments directly to families is urgently needed to meet the scale of this crisis.
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE EXTENSION
Over 20 million Americans are unemployed. For many families, the additional $600 a week in unemployment benefits made available under an earlier relief act has been a lifesaver. That extension and boost end at the end of July. The state of Alabama currently has an unemployment rate of 10% and that number is expected to rise. We are nowhere near the end of the pandemic and must extend unemployment benefits to those who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.
STUDENT DEBT RELIEF
The student debt crisis was already at a tipping point before and will be pushed over the edge by this pandemic. Significant debt cancellation for all borrowers is essential to helping people get back on their feet and not be strapped by past debt. The average amount of student debt carried by Alabamians is $28,895 or $495 dollars more than the national average. We need student debt relief now!
GREEN JOBS THAT BUILD SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES
This economic crisis demands bold action from the federal government. While there are high levels of unemployment, there are many jobs that need doing to rebuild our communities - from contact tracers to childcare providers, from solar panel builders to infrastructure fixers. We can give people jobs, care for one another, and rebuild in a way that will address the needs of our planet. In fact, a climate-focused economic recovery might be the only thing big enough to bounce our economy back.
We are faced with a crisis at a scale we have not seen before in modern history, yet most of our elected leaders continue to act as if things will soon go back to normal and have ignored the pressing challenges facing Alabamians.