Priority Demands for COVID-19 Relief

February 2021

No matter where we come from or what we look like, this pandemic has reminded us that we are dependent on each other. From standing up for Black lives, to fighting for immigrants, to reconstructing our economy to work for everyone: It’s going to take all of us working together to achieve an America that values the lives of everyone — no exceptions.

It's going to take all of us working together.

COVID-19 has deeply and disproportionately impacted women, immigrants, people struggling to make ends meet and people of color — particularly Black, Asian, and Latinx communities — who make up millions of essential workers on the frontlines of this pandemic. 

An unprecedented number of people, more than 10 million, have lost their jobs, while a staggering number of more than 400,000 people have fallen ill and died. What this crisis makes clear is that our communities need an economic foundation that guarantees a home, cash payments for necessities, health care, child care, and other services to safely weather the long lasting impacts of this pandemic. We know that if we do not act now millions more will lose their jobs, fall ill, and lose a roof over their heads as the pandemic continues to unfold.

The next phase of action must go further.

The new Congress and Administration must deliver a COVID relief package that includes bold and inclusive solutions that direct relief to those most impacted. President Biden’s American Rescue Plan is a good starting point for negotiations. But we must go further.

Community Change Action recommends the following plan:

Immigrant Rights

Fully include immigrant taxpayers in cash relief, the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, childcare subsidies, and pandemic unemployment insurance programs. Expand access to testing and treatment for COVID-19 under Medicaid to all, regardless of immigration status. Provide a path to citizenship for all undocumented essential workers, immigrant youth and TPS holders.

Child Care

Make a $100 billion investment in child care to ensure survival of providers that must keep their doors closed to protect the safety of kids and families, to support providers who need to stay open to serve children of essential workers and to expand access for families that need affordable quality care. Also expand access to affordable, quality child care for families.

Workers' Rights

Raise the minimum wage to $15/hour for all workers without exceptions for tipped workers or workers with disabilities. Include premium pay for all frontline workers. Provide family care, including childcare for essential workers. Support all workers with unrestricted paid leave and sick time. Extend the weekly increase of $600 in pandemic unemployment insurance benefits along with pandemic unemployment benefits for workers who do not qualify for regular benefits (e.g. gig workers).

Guaranteed Income

Authorize more substantial, inclusive and recurring cash payments of at least $2,000 a month for all and for the duration of the crisis. Boost and expand access to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit (CTC) and make the CTC fully refundable.

Housing Protections

Include $100 billion to provide emergency assistance so everyone has an affordable and safe place to call home, including renters at risk of homelessness. Add an additional $75 billion to help homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages, property taxes and utilities, and protect renters and homeowners from evictions for the duration of the crisis. Fully fund the Housing Choice Voucher program to meet demand.

Public Health

Immediately address the racially inequitable impact of the pandemic by investing in robust public health infrastructure, including funding for community-based health centers in low income and minority communities and making equitable vaccine access a top priority. 

Rising Hunger

Address by boosting maximum SNAP benefit by 15% and increasing the minimum benefit, alongside additional funding for nutrition programs that help families put food on the table.

State and Local Aid

Deliver $1 trillion in state and local government aid to help offset lost tax revenue, which would save hundreds of thousands of jobs and protect the delivery of vital human services.

Community Change Action is a national social justice organization that builds the power and capacity of low-income people, especially low-income people of color, to change the policies and institutions that impact their lives.