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News & Press: Policy & Advocacy

State and Federal Relief Packages

Tuesday, March 31, 2020  
Posted by: Lara Richardson
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Thank you for all of your advocacy efforts at both the state and federal levels. While there is more to do, your advocacy has made a huge difference.

Please take a few minutes and send a thank you to your state representative and senator and your federal congressperson and senators for their support.

On Friday, both the state legislature and Congress passed COVID-19 relief packages, and both include a number of provisions helpful to early childhood and afterschool programs. Again, there’s more to do and we’ll continue to fight for resources.

We sent information about the state legislation on Friday, and you can see those details here.

Congress passed the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act. There are a number of investments that will aid the early childhood and afterschool fields.

  • $3.5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to ensure continued payment and assistance to child care providers, including afterschool programs serving children on CCAP, and to support child care for essential workers;
  • The additional funding for childcare can be used by afterschool providers/staff that are continuing to stay open to serve their existing students and/or the children of health care providers and other essential staff;
  • $750 million in grants for Head Start, including up to $500 million for support of summer programs;
  • The law created a State Education Stabilization Fund that can be used to support afterschool and summer learning programs and their providers;
  • Access to small business loans (nonprofits, sole proprietors, self-employed are eligible) of up to $10 million that can be forgiven, if programs use the loans for specific purposes such as wages, paid sick or family leave, health insurance benefits, retirement benefits, mortgages or rent, or utilities;
  • Direct payments to qualifying taxpayers of up to $1,200 ($2,400 for couples), plus an additional $500 per child;
  • Access to a pandemic unemployment insurance benefit for four months, on top of the regular unemployment insurance benefit offered by states to qualifying individuals; it’s reported that this will include independent contractors, and the self-employed. 
  • Suspension of payments on federally-held student loans.

Payroll Protection Program

The CARES Act included funding for small businesses, non-profits, independent contractors, and sole proprietorships, who employ fewer than 500 people, to apply for a forgivable loan to keep staff on payroll for eight weeks.

We’ve been told the application will be available later this week.

More here: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/paycheck-protection-program

More on Unemployment Benefits

As we said above, the new federal legislation does include investments for unemployment insurance for independent contractors and the self-employed, and we’re waiting to hear if it also include sole proprietors, like family child care providers.

The state is awaiting guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor on how to roll this piece out here in MN, and we’ll let you know when we know more. You can also visit https://www.uimn.org/applicants/index.jsp.

State unemployment insurance is receiving an unprecedented number of applications right now. They need everyone's help to push more people to apply for unemployment benefits online (and avoid calling). This will help them pay unemployment benefits to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

More here: https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/press-releases/?id=424822

Applying for UI for the first time?

Please refer to the schedule below to learn when you are scheduled to apply. You will only be allowed to apply on your assigned day or on Thursday or Friday if you missed your assigned day. Already have an account? You can still login anytime.


Ann Kaner-Roth Policy Hour

With the current COVID-19 situation in Minnesota and the significant impact it is having on child care providers across the state, we have decided to focus the Tuesday, April 7 Policy Hour on issues relevant to the current crisis. To be in accordance with Governor Walz’s stay at home order we will offer Policy Hour participation via webinar.

Register here.

More details to come.

Viruses Don’t Discriminate and Neither Should We

We’d also like to, in the strongest terms, condemn any and all discrimination toward our Asian American friends, neighbors and community members.

Viruses don’t discriminate and neither should we.

 

As always, please be in touch with what’s happening in your programs, if you have any questions, or need anything.

Be safe and be well, everyone.


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