By Laura Walling, Senior Director of Government Affairs, Goodwill Industries International
Another week has gone by and another 3 million individuals (perhaps your neighbor, spouse, parent, sibling or friend) have filed for unemployment, bringing the total number of unemployed to more than 36 million over the last two months. What started as a public health crisis became an economic crisis and morphed into an employment crisis, for which local Goodwill organizations around the country are ready to partner with employers, community leaders, and other nonprofits to address. Lawmakers play a significant role as well, which is why Goodwill Industries International continues to join 450 other charitable nonprofits in asking Congress to provide #Relief4Charities.
At the time of this writing, the House is considering the next large relief package, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act), which provides, among other things, funding for cities and states, another round of stimulus checks, mortgage and rent relief, extended unemployment insurance benefits, and hazard pay for essential workers. We are grateful that the HEROES Act recognizes the important role nonprofits play in strengthening our communities by including bipartisan initiatives, such as 1) expanding eligibility of the Paycheck Protection Program to nonprofits with more than 500 employees with set-asides for nonprofits, 2) including nonprofits of all sizes in the Main Street Lending program with loan forgiveness for nonprofits that primarily serve low-income communities, 3) enhancing employee retention credits, and 4) clarifying state flexibility around unemployment insurance.
Finally, the bill provides more than $2 billion for the workforce development system, which is critical for individuals, including those seeking employment, dislocated workers, individuals with barriers to employment, and individuals who are unemployed or underemployed. We are pleased to see that this legislation invests heavily in people who are part of the economically vulnerable populations Goodwill serves, including opportunity youth, second-chance individuals, and adult learners. We urge greater federal support for older workers and individuals with disabilities, who make up a vital part of our nation’s workforce and are experiencing unique challenges in accessing healthy employment opportunities.
Goodwill Industries International encourages the Senate to ensure these provisions remain in any stimulus package advanced in the coming weeks, as well as consider additional measures to help our nation’s charitable organizations meet critical needs.