FAN joins with our national partners to promote #FaithfulCensus weekend! This weekend, we urge you to lift up the #2020Census in your community. We believe every person deserves to be counted. Participating in the census helps determine how public health is funded in our community, how many books and computers our kids’ schools can afford, whether our elders can afford heating in the winter, and if there are bus routes where we need them. Responding to the census is an act of love for our neighbors. Find resources at our FAN Census Toolkit or at bit.ly/CensusWeekend.
Faith Community Responses to COVID-19
Dear friends across our state and beyond,
We want you to know our hearts and minds and advocacy efforts at FAN are with you during this time of uncertainty and crisis. We are following the COVID-19 pandemic from our remote work locations, and we are working to bring the voices of faith communities to decision makers and emergency planners. You continue to inspire us amid the creativity and resilience faith communities have shown in response to needs that change almost daily. Someone asked this week if we were collecting interfaith prayers for this time of COVID-19; please send your favorites to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post a collection of them on our website. Let’s continue to build the beloved community in new ways!
Federal Stimulus Update
The Senate and House have now passed the $2 Trillion relief package this week called the CARES act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security). It is expected to be signed by the President soon. At just under 1000 pages long, we are just hearing from our partners a deeper analysis of what it contains. Here are some highlights:
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is created by this act and will increase unemployment benefits by 13 weeks (from 26 to 39) at $600/week, as well as provide benefits for those like gig economy workers not covered and not eligible for the unemployment programs run by states due to traditional eligibility requirements. We are monitoring this to see if it applies to religious organizations’ workers and clergy who don’t participate in unemployment programs.
- $500B for businesses, states, and municipalities
- $468B for the airline industry
- $350B for small business loans
- $250B for unemployment insurance
- $250B for direct payments to individuals and households
- $100B for hospitals
- $15.8B for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- $8.8B for child nutrition programs
- $7B for affordable housing and homelessness assistance programs
- $5B for Community Development Block Grants
- $3.5B for childcare development block grants
- $1.2B for the National Guard
- $1B for the Department of Defense
- $849M for tribal communities
- $450M for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
- $9M for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
We’ll share more details as we receive them, paying attention to such issues as SNAP benefits, gaps and exclusions, and what will be needed in a next iteration of relief especially for low-income people. Our partners at the Working Families Tax Credit coalition remind us there will need to be additional stimulus packages as the COVID-19 crisis continues – just this past week 3.3 million people across the nation filed for unemployment, including 133,000 in Washington, an increase of 843% in just one week. Many immigrants will also be left out of this stimulus package.
Please see the interfaith letter FAN supported in collaboration with our national advocacy partners, detailing what was most needed for impacted workers and communities at this time: afsc.org/story/faith-organizations-call-congress-to-prioritize-needs-poor-responding-to-coronavirus.
Co-Director Paul Benz has been working with African American clergy and the Governor’s office for permission for faith communities to live stream messages/music from churches that have been ordered closed, involving a team of absolutely no more than 3-4 who will follow social distancing and sanitizing practices. We have secured permission from the governor’s office for this to happen and are in negotiations with the Xerox corporation to assist the live stream broadcasts to occur from a faith community’s worship space. For more information about how to access these services, contact Paul at email@example.com.
We want to provide resources for you that will be continuously updated, so in addition to the Washington State Department of Health, the CDC guide for faith-based organizations, and your own county public health department, we encourage you to check in with the Governor’s website: coronavirus.wa.gov. The Washington State Labor Council is also updating resources for workers: wslc.org/covid-19/ and en español at wslc.org/recursos-sobre-covid-19-para-los-trabajadores/.
Celebrate Faithful Census Weekend!
FAN’s Census Equity team continues their work for a full and equitable 2020 Census. While our plans for in-person outreach have been put on hold, it has never been easier for households to respond online, by phone, or mail during this stay-at-home time. It takes just 10 minutes and impacts the next 10 years of funding for our communities’ healthcare, schools, access to public transportation, and more. This is our one shot to shape the next 10 years! Please share this reminder in your digital communications:
Make a difference today! Take this time to complete your Census 2020 questionnaire. Official Census Day is April 1, but you can complete your form anytime. Choose any one of the three following ways to respond:
- Online. Look for your letter from the Census that provides an internet link and a personalized Census ID# to participate. This is a great opportunity to involve your children! Get started online at 2020census.gov
- By phone: Call 844-330-2020 for English, 844-468-2020 for Spanish. You can complete the census by phone in 14 languages or TDD. Phone numbers are here: 2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond/responding-by-phone.html
- By mail. Some people will automatically get a census form in the mail to complete by hand. Later, if you haven’t responded online or by phone, you will also receive a form in the mail.
You should not be asked to fill out a census form by email, and you will never be asked to provide your social security number, bank account numbers, or other private security information. You should not be asked to fill out the census in order to qualify for payment, including a stimulus check. If you are, ignore it. That is a scam. There is no citizenship question on the census. According to law, the results cannot go to law enforcement, ICE, or your landlord. It is safe and secure.
We also have a reminder flyer we are printing for faith communities that may still be doing essential food distribution or other in-person services to households, like low-income or elderly persons. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like us to mail some flyers to you.
Next week for folks on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington Nonprofits will be sponsoring a webinar with FAN participation on Thursday, April 2, at 2pm about the census to find ways to boost participation so essential services and representation reach them. Contact Kendell (who will be leading the webinar) at email@example.com or register online.
We are also co-sponsoring a census webinar with CAIR-WA to ensure Washington’s Muslim community is heard and counted. The census webinar will take place on Saturday, April 4 at 3pm and will (1) go over the importance of the Census, (2) dispel common myths, (3) share what the Census really asks, and (4) answer questions from the community. Find out more and register at cairwa.org/census.
Because of COVID-19, the U.S. Census Bureau has delayed field operations by two weeks, so we will continue to invite your participation through April/May and suggest ways we can all make sure everyone counts in Census 2020. Follow FAN on Facebook and Twitter for homegrown videos and real-time response data!
Events & Opportunities
In light of state and local recommendations for community health practices during the coronavirus outbreak, many groups have cancelled or postponed their upcoming events. Be sure to check event links ahead of time for updates and online opportunities.
Did you catch our list our legislative successes we celebrated in the 2020 session last week? See the full list on our website. Thank you for your tireless efforts for justice this year, and stay tuned for opportunities to advocate year-round as we seek a more equitable and sustainable state for all.