Empower Missouri Applauds Passage of CARES Act; Urges Additional Steps to Strengthen Safety Net

(Jefferson City, MO)……..Empower Missouri today applauded Congress for their passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) in a bipartisan and speedy fashion and President Trump for signing it. While the $2 Trillion package includes many provisions that will help Missourians affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, we believe more is still needed to help the most vulnerable populations throughout the state.

“The provisions in CARES will help hundreds of thousands of Missourians who are impacted by the health and economic ripples of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Jeanette Mott Oxford, executive director of Empower Missouri. “These reinforcements for our safety net are especially needed here since Missouri had a food insecurity rate above the national average before the crisis, as well as a dire shortage of affordable housing.”

CARES is expected to expand unemployment benefits and give direct cash payments to many families with low and moderate incomes in Missouri. Coupled with the nutrition assistance provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that passed last week, the federal government has taken steps that can help many access basic human needs at this critical time.

While Empower Missouri pushed for many provisions in the second and third economic stimulus packages, we continue to advocate for other provisions that did not make it into the legislation just signed, including a 15 percent increase to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and additional funding for housing needs. Congress should act now to help strengthen income and food support for families experiencing hardship in the economic downturn.

“Strengthening health in our communities by preventing hunger and homelessness is absolutely essential right now,” said Oxford. “We are very thankful for the many advocates who have responded to our call to contact federal officials as these packages of aid have been shaped. It is important that we stay engaged, bringing the realities of our communities to federal and state officials.”

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Empower Missouri (www.EmpowerMissouri.org) is a statewide not-for-profit organization working to secure basic human needs and equal justice for every person in our state through coalition-building and advocacy. Founded as the Missouri Conference on Charities and Corrections in 1901, Empower Missouri has operated under four names in its 119-year history, but always with a focus on access to basic human needs and basic fairness.

2 Responses
  1. Megan

    Hi, I am an MSW student and have been tracking different changes within the CAREs act, especially with how they pertain to my client population. I noticed in the act that there was $400 million allocated to assist local food banks. Do you believe that there needs to be more funds allocated to SNAP beneficiaries ?

    Thank You!

    1. Rico Bush

      Hi Megan,

      Yes, we believe more money should be allocated to SNAP beneficiaries. With more and more people out of work due to COVID-19, there will be more people looking for food assistance. However, congress did not include the 15 percent increase to the SNAP program in the CARES Act. We are calling on any new legislation in Congress pertaining to the Coronavirus pandemic to include this measure.

      Thanks for reaching out. Stay healthy and stay safe!

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