Western Center Continues to Lead Advocacy Response for COVID-19 Emergency
April has been an intense and busy month for Western Center, as our advocates work to protect the needs of those most impacted by COVID-19 and the parallel economic crisis.
Yesterday, California households receiving SNAP food stamp benefits (CalFresh) gained the ability to purchase groceries online through a USDA pilot program, which is a result of Western Center’s sustained advocacy on the issue. We and our partners continue to push for further expansion of the program so that it reaches all Californians who need it, ensures diversity of purchase options, and protects consumer rights. We will also continue to support front-line delivery workers who deliver SNAP-purchased food to secure a living wage and worker safety.
Last Thursday, we sent a letter in partnership with Impact Fund to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue demanding that the Department rescind its guidance that denies emergency SNAP food benefits to those most in need. If necessary, we are prepared to take legal action to protect Californians from hunger during the COVID emergency, and to uphold the intent of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Also last week, Governor Newsom announced an executive order requiring the exemption of federal, state, or local government financial assistance from debt collection and garnishments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a result of our multi-year, successful advocacy efforts to prevent harmful debt-collection practices like wage garnishments and bank levies, and our coalition advocacy as a member and partner of the California Low-Income Consumer Coalition and California Asset Building Coalition.
Today (April 30th) at noon PDT, Western Center policy advocate Jessica Bartholow will be participating in a webinar hosted by the UC Student Association to discuss what can be done to ensure students’ basic needs are met in the wake of COVID-19. Registration is available here.
Stay well, friends.