350 New Hampshire, Rights and Democracy, New Hampshire Youth Movement, and the Granite State Organizing Project appreciate Governor Sununu’s first steps, in his recent emergency orders, to address the serious needs of Granite Staters in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in the face of this national and global crisis, far more must be done.
We know that communities are across the state are already coming together to provide mutual aid to residents who cannot wait for state or federal government response.
We are calling on your administration to follow the lead of these organizations and direct our collective resources as a state to those who most need our support now, and in the ensuing months.
In that spirit, we are asking that your administration, in conjunction with legislative leadership when necessary, immediately and, where appropriate, through the duration of the State of Emergency:
Economic & Employment Supports
- Require utilities and landlords to not take to court customers who fell behind in payments during this emergency response period;
- Mandate full compensation under unemployment for all those eligible for unemployment compensation, to protect low-income and tipped workers, as well as sole proprietors self-employed folks who will face the brunt of the economic crisis we are facing, above and beyond access to current levels of unemployment compensation;
- Sign HB712 into law, creating a statewide paid family & medical leave system in New Hampshire;
- Sign a minimum wage increase into law when a bill reaches your desk this spring, recognizing that low wage workers are vital to our society and deserve at least a minimum of $15 an hour; and,
- Provide financial support for low-income Granite Staters to be able to cover their rent and utilities in the face of this ongoing crisis, so that we do not see a rash of evictions and harsh debt collection the day after these emergency orders expire.
Health Care & Frontline Response
- Require testing for all health care, child care, long-term care, food service, and other frontline workers, as well as first responders; this will free infected workers up to file unemployment compensation claims, given that we now know that this virus is communicable prior to presentation of symptoms;
- Rapidly expand drive-through and drop-in testing at locations throughout the state; and,
- Provide a pool of direct service grants from the community economic development loan funds to ensure that needed nonprofits can deliver services to the elderly, disabled, and homebound.
Housing & Well-Being
- Ensure that there is a clear, coordinated effort to deliver meals to vulnerable students during the extended school closure;
- Institute an immediate statewide rent/mortgage holiday, rent/mortgage freeze, and/or rental assistance during the State of Emergency for all those financially impacted by temporary full or partial layoff, business closure, or other financial impact;
- Provide homes and expanded services for people experiencing homelessness;
- Ensure there is a clear, coordinated effort to deliver meals to homebound seniors and immunocompromised individuals in need;
- Institute an immediate statewide rent/mortgage holiday, rent/mortgage freeze, and/or rental assistance;
- Provide accessibility to online school for kids who may not have accessibility right now; waive the cost of internet for homes in NH and provide schools with laptops to dole out to students who need them to complete school assignments during social distancing;
- Expand access to mental health professionals virtually and over the phone for all New Hampshire residents to access, if needed;
- Ensure all needed services and benefits are available to all NH residents in need regardless of immigration status; ensure that New Hampshire’s law enforcement does not coordinate any activities with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to ensure that vulnerable immigrants can receive tests and treatment; and,
- Release detainees; and short of that, ensure that those in custody have access to tests, treatment and that the right procedures are being followed and waive all fees and charges for inmates to make phone or video calls to family and friends.
Exercise your voice nationally
- Call on President Trump and the Republican Party at large to cease racist and xenophobic comments placing the blame on Asians and immigrants at large for a virus that knows no borders;
- Call on President Trump to suspend all federal and private student loans payments;
- Call on the Trump administration to halt immigration enforcement and arrests to protect public health and immediately release detainees;
- Call on President Trump to immediately direct the Secretary of Defense to activate the Army Corps of Engineers to address the COVID-19 health emergency by converting existing space into temporary medical centers that are ready to receive patients immediately, and to direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to release its reserve of medical supplies contained in the Strategic National Stockpile. Alternatively, call on the Adjutant General to deploy state property for the same purpose. This is needed in order to treat the increasing number of New Hampshire residents infected with the coronavirus.