What the $2 Trillion Stimulus Package Means for Ohio’s Children and Families
March 27, 2020
On Wednesday night the Senate passed a $2 trillion stimulus package designed to help stabilize the U.S. economy and provide some relief for the millions of Americans who are feeling the immediate economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the House is expected to vote on this bill sometime this weekend. The financial help is significantly needed right now when so many households who have one or two income earners have been sent home, laid-off, or furloughed.
The CARES Legislation contains vital funding desperately needed to help states and local governments fill immediate gaps in their budgets due to the very drop in revenues from the economic shutdown of many sectors of the economy. The aid package represents another important step forward building upon the Families First legislation, in helping to meet the needs of children and families, hospitals inundated with patients suffering from COVID-19 and strapped for resources, and states as they incur huge new costs in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The federal CARES legislation will help states and local governments meet the challenges of this public health crisis and support the needs of 2.7 million children who live in Ohio and those of their families – as well as the millions of children and families across this country. Per recent analyses conducted by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Ohio is poised to receive an estimated $4.5 billion to support state and local governments (including public schools). In addition to this funding support, some of the topline items included in this legislation are the following:
- One time cash payments of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child for low- and middle-income earners. Unfortunately, these payments largely exclude immigrant families, as payments are only made available to tax filers and dependents with a Social Security Number. We are speaking with our state and national partners to figure out solutions and other approaches to meet the needs of our immigrant communities. Currently Ohio has 107,000 undocumented immigrants and 220,000 children in Ohio have at least one immigrant parent (186,000 of these children are U.S. Citizens).
- $4 billion in grants for homelessness assistance to support shelters and services, as well as more than $3 billion in assistance for low-income renters in danger of falling behind on their rent and potentially facing eviction. The bill also includes additional funding for public housing and temporarily prohibits foreclosures and evictions in properties backed by the federal government.
- $15.5 billion in additional funding to meet the expected growth in those needing to access SNAP benefits during this crisis, as well $450 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program to assist food banks across the country. This is a critical need as 32.1% of Ohio children, or approximately 866,000, receive SNAP benefits and as a result of the economic hardships faced by many Ohio families, we expect this number to grow.
- $3.5 billion in additional funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant to provide child care assistance to health care sector employees, emergency responders, sanitation workers, and other workers deemed essential during the response to the coronavirus and to provide continued payments and assistance to child care providers in cases of decreased enrollment or closures.
- $30.75 billion for grants to provide emergency support to local school systems and higher education institutions to continue to provide educational services to their students and support the on-going functionality of school districts and institutions.
- $45 million for, the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services (Title IV-B, Subpart 1) to provide flexibility to states and tribes to develop and expand child and family services programs to prevent child maltreatment
- $25 million for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act to provide temporary shelter, counseling and aftercare services for youth experiencing homelessness.
- $45 million for Family Violence Prevention and Services formula grants to provide domestic violence services and prevention, and $2 million for the National Domestic Violence Hotline to provide information and assistance to victims of family violence.
- $250 billion in temporary enhancements of unemployment insurance including a $600/week increase in the support for unemployed workers and the expanded coverage to part-time, self-employed, and gig economy workers. The bill also temporarily extends the length of benefits and waives waiting weeks.
- Preserves the critical Medicaid “maintenance of effort” provision that was included in the bipartisan Families First Act to ensure hundreds of thousands of people do not lose their Medicaid coverage during this public health crisis.
While this bill represents a very important step forward, more will be needed in the coming weeks and months. Additionally, there are priorities that were not addressed in this legislation that must be included in the next aid package, which were outlined in CDF’s letter to Congress last week. One of the main shortcomings in this legislation is that it fails to ensure all families, regardless of their immigration status, can access critical health and economic support at this time. We anticipate a fourth aid package to be developed in the coming weeks to further support children and families across the United States as we face the challenges of this historic pandemic head-on.
CDF will continue to fight for critical programs and funds that support our children and families who need it most. Based on feedback from policy experts, practitioners, and families, we know that the following issues must be addressed:
- Investments in services to help children and families in or at risk of child welfare involvement, older youth in care and those aging out, and the nearly 100,000 Ohio children in kinship families;
- Increased SNAP allotment and benefits for current children and families receiving benefits and the many more we expect to qualify in the coming weeks and months;
- Increased Medicaid funding for states (of at least 10% FMAP), and an expansion for healthcare coverage for those that are uninsured;
- Additional investments in child care assistance;
- Increased emergency rent assistance fund;
- Increased funding to the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) to help states tailor the services they need for their communities; and
- Relief and access to services for all families — regardless of immigration status.