During Virtual Conference Call, Shaheen Calls for Extension of Enhanced Federal Unemployment Benefits that Senate Republicans Let Expire with Impacted Granite Staters

August 10, 2020

Later in Nashua: Shaheen Hosts Roundtable Discussion at Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter and Highlights Need to Include Housing Assistance for Vulnerable Families in Upcoming COVID-19 Relief Legislation

 

Nashua event 1

Nashua event 2

Shaheen speaks to housing advocates, social service representatives and local officials at Nashua Soup & Kitchen on the need to provide emergency housing assistance to vulnerable Granite Staters in upcoming COVID-19 relief legislation.

Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) hosted a virtual meeting with Granite Staters and employment attorneys from around the state to highlight the need for Congress to pass COVID-19 relief legislation that includes an extension of the enhanced unemployment benefits that were passed as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The event came after Senate Republicans allowed the enhanced benefits to expire, which have been critical to helping 30 million Americans who have lost their jobs and livelihoods amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the event, Shaheen heard more from Granite Staters on how the benefits have allowed them to weather this crisis, and employment attorneys on the challenges they are seeing for vulnerable Granite Staters. Extending the enhanced unemployment benefits is a top priority for Shaheen, who is fighting for its inclusion in any upcoming COVID-19 relief legislation.

Video of the virtual meeting can be seen here.

“The enhanced federal unemployment benefits that I fought to include as part of the CARES Act have been a lifeline for working Granite State families who have borne the burden of COVID-19’s financial fallout, allowing them to put food on the table, pay bills and afford their mortgage and rent. For Republicans to allow the expiration of these crucial benefits that so many are relying on to survive is inexcusable,” said Shaheen. “As today’s conversation made clear, New Hampshire families are hurting. Any upcoming COVID-19 relief package must extend these enhanced unemployment benefits so that workers and their families can continue to stay afloat amid this crisis and get back up on their feet.”

Later, Shaheen hosted a roundtable discussion at Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter to discuss the looming housing crisis faced by vulnerable Granite Staters that is driven by COVID-19, the lifting of federal and State eviction moratoriums and the expiration of extended unemployment benefits. Since the expiration of the moratorium, eviction proceedings in New Hampshire courts have sharply escalated, putting many at risk of losing their homes. This echoes alarming reports showing that up to 40 million Americans could be evicted by the end of the year. During the roundtable discussion, Shaheen heard more from housing advocates on the housing experiences and challenges Granite Staters are facing and highlighted her efforts to secure immediate housing assistance for American renters and homeowners in upcoming COVID-19 relief legislation.

Shaheen has worked to protect Granite State homeowners and renters left vulnerable by the public health emergency. Last month, Shaheen sent a letter to HUD, calling on the agency to expedite the release of $4 billion of CARES Act funding for emergency housing. Shaheen also recently introduced bipartisan legislation and sent a bipartisan letter to Senate leadership urging a fix for a “maximum allotment” provision that limits the amount of CARES Act relief funds that can be awarded to smaller states through the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program. These funds are used by Community Action Programs (CAPs) to help combat homelessness and address housing needs. Shaheen also called on HUD to address concerns she heard from New Hampshire housing officials and advocates earlier this month regarding CDBG-CV funding and guidance. In addition, Shaheen is a cosponsor of the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act of 2020, legislation that would establish an Emergency Rental Assistance program to provide $100 billion in emergency rental assistance to help families and individuals pay their rent and remain housed during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

“I’m grateful for the responses I received today from housing advocates, representatives from social services groups and local officials, who have been hard at work during these challenging times to ensure the most vulnerable in our society can get the help they need to keep a roof over their heads and access essential services,” said Shaheen. “The lifting of the eviction moratorium in New Hampshire as well as the expiration of the enhanced unemployment benefits has resulted in many Granite Staters facing a catastrophic eviction and foreclosure crisis. Moreover, the President’s recent executive actions fail to provide the lasting relief that Granite Staters need, instead creating confusion and additional hurdles during a time where clear guidance and direct assistance is needed. Congress and this administration have a responsibility to help those hardest hit during this public health and economic emergency. I’ll be sharing feedback from our conversation with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to help secure the emergency housing relief millions of vulnerable families across the nation need in future COVID-19 response legislation.”