This week, we celebrate National Nurses Week, Teacher Appreciation Week, and Mother’s Day. I want to extend my sincere thanks to the nurses who continue the fight against COVID-19 on the frontlines and to the teachers who are finding new and creative ways to support our students remotely. And I hope the mothers across our district receive some extra appreciation this weekend!
This newsletter includes the latest information on the stay at home guidelines, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), MontcoStrong Small Business Loans, Food Assistance programs, and more. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to my office.
You can visit www.senatorcollett.com/coronavirus for additional COVID-19 resources and updates. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest.
Wash your hands, stay home, and stay well.
Senator Maria Collett
12th Senatorial District
Latest Guidance from the Wolf Administration
Stay at Home Order Extended to June 4
Last night, Governor Wolf announced that the stay at home order will be extended from May 8 to June 4 for the counties still in the red zone. I'm frustrated that this announcement was made via a surprise 8pm press release without notice to or input from state legislators or the communities we represent. And we are still awaiting guidance from the Administration about how this will impact the June 2 primary election.
Though we knew hard-hit counties like ours would likely be amongst the last to open, please note that this order could still be lifted before June 4, which is why I am prioritizing the need for mass testing of nursing home staff and residents [link to release]. If we are able to identify cases earlier and at the primary sources, it will go a long way in stopping the spread in our communities and speeding up the reopening process.
I will continue to push for more testing in our district and more transparency from the Governor's office so we can move towards a safe, data-driven reopening. I will be sure to share any updates.
No Evictions or Foreclosures Through July 10, 2020
Governor Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced an executive order that protects Pennsylvanians from foreclosures and evictions through July 10.
I applaud this decision - members of our community should not have to worry about losing their housing during a global pandemic.
Emergency Assistance Program to Launch Monday, May 11
Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller announced an Emergency Assistance Program to help low-income families who lost wages and are experiencing financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Families who qualify will be eligible for a one-time payment to assist them in meeting basic needs and getting them back on their feet. Starting Monday, you can apply at compass.state.pa.us. Applications will be accepted through June 12 or until all funds are expended. Learn more about eligibility requirements here.
PUA System Update
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program for the self-employed, gig-workers, and others is finally fully operational. Those of you who have already applied can start filing your weekly claims today and payments should begin to go out next week. File here.
PUA applicants can file for all weeks, including those dating back to the first week of unemployment (as long as it is not before January 27, 2020). If approved, you will receive in one lump sum the backdated payments to the first week you were unable to work due to COVID-19.
MontcoStrong Business Loans Round Two
The MontcoStrong Small Business Grant Program will open up applications for a second round of grant funding on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 10am. The program will close to applications at approximately 6pm that same day, May 13.
To learn more about eligibility and the documents you will need to apply, click here. Find FAQs here and reach out to my office at email@example.com if you need assistance. Be sure to get ready early. And let our office know if you apply!
Food Assistance Programs in PA
Earlier this week, First Lady Frances Wolf, Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller, and Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding outlined the food assistance programs available to Pennsylvanians to help get them through this difficult time:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Formerly known as food stamps, SNAP provides assistance to low-income and working Pennsylvanians, allowing them to purchase produce and groceries for themselves and their family. People can apply for SNAP online at www.compass.state.pa.us online at any time.
- Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program: This program runs from June 1 to November 30 each year. Seniors must be 60 or older by December 31 of the program year and have income at or below 185% of the U.S. poverty level. Eligible seniors should call their county Aging office for information on distribution of vouchers.
- WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program: This program runs from June 1 to November 30 each year, and recipients must be on the WIC program to receive this benefit. Children 1-year and older, and pregnant/post-partum women will receive vouchers for the program during their quarterly WIC visit (May through September).
- Commodity Supplemental Food Program: Eligible participants include individuals who are at least 60 years old and whose household income is at or below 130% of the U.S. poverty level. To qualify, individuals must complete an application with proof of income. Questions can be directed to the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Food Assistance by calling 1-800-468-2433 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): Women who are pregnant or have had a baby in the past six months, or twelve if breastfeeding; infants and children under the age of five; and fathers, grandparents, and foster parents who are the legal guardian of a child under age five, may apply for WIC. WIC applicants must reside in Pennsylvania, have a medical or nutritional risk, and have a gross household income that does not exceed 185% of the U.S. poverty level.
If you need help navigating any of these programs, please don’t hesitate to contact Senator Collett’s office.
Additional COVID-19 Resources
Looking for assistance? Want to share your thoughts on legislation or community issues? You may email us at email@example.com or call us at 215-368-1429 if we can be of service.
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Offices of State Senator Maria Collett
All offices are temporarily closed to visitors due to COVID-19.
|North Wales Office
Gwynedd Corporate Center
1180 Welsh Road |
North Wales, PA 19454
1410 W. Street Road
Warminster, PA 18974
183 Capitol Building
Senate Box 203012
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3012