July 30, 2020/Media, Press

North Carolinians Facing “Looming Catastrophe” Thanks to Tillis’ Inaction

Charlotte local official: “I think you’ll really see an avalanche of people coming in” for help without additional unemployment payments

Senator Tillis, Mitch McConnell, and Senate Republicans continue to fail to deliver a new coronavirus relief package for struggling North Carolinians, even as the end of the month and expired federal benefits mean many families are facing a “looming catastrophe” thanks to their inaction.

As families brace for this weekend’s rent payments, Senator Tillis and Senate Republicans are reportedly “bogged down in partisan fighting” and are even preparing “to leave town without a resolution to the crisis.

Tillis and Senate Republicans wasted weeks bickering among themselves before waiting until the last minute to suggest a proposal that slashes payments and is so complicated one Republican called it “the dumbest idea ever.”

Back in North Carolina, families are acutely feeling Senator Tillis’ failure. Workers are losing a substantial amount of income just as August rent payments are due. “I think you’ll really see an avalanche of people coming in” for help without additional unemployment payments, one Charlotte local official said. “I’m not looking for a handout,” a Charlotte mother told the Observer, “but I got family to feed.”

“Senator Tillis continues to fail every single North Carolinian affected by this crisis,” NCDP spokesperson Robert Howard said. “For families across the state this weekend, rent is due, the school year is around the corner, and bills are collecting. Yet Senator Tillis is set to leave town for a long weekend without offering those families any help whatsoever. Tillis’ indifference is shameful and is going to hurt a lot of people.”

Charlotte Observer: As federal unemployment aid expires, Charlotte renters face a ‘looming catastrophe’
By Danielle Chemtob and Lauren Lindstrom
July 29, 2020

Key Points:

  • It took Britney Andrews almost three weeks to receive unemployment benefits after she was furloughed from her bartending job at the Charlotte airport in mid-March, near the start of the new coronavirus pandemic.
  • Since then, the money has been a lifeline for the 32-year-old, her husband and their four children.
  • But this week, Andrews received her last check with an extra $600 a week from the federal government’s stimulus bill. Congress is now gridlocked over its next relief package, largely over whether to extend the $600 payments.
  • For Andrews, the political battles in Washington mean anxiety over how to pay the couple’s $1,000 monthly rent, utilities, car insurance and other expenses. And with her children attending school virtually, she needs to find the money to buy another computer for the family.
  • “I’m not looking for a handout,” she said, “but I got family to feed.”
  • Millions of workers like Andrews are set to lose a substantial amount of income when the federal boost expires just as August rent payments are due. And for the first time during the pandemic, evictions have resumed in Mecklenburg County after a four-month hiatus.
  • That combination creates the potential for widespread financial hardship and missed rent payments, affordable housing advocates say. The crisis could have wider implications too, as the unemployment money has helped keep money flowing through the economy, experts say.
  • “This is a looming catastrophe for millions of people,” said Jeff Tucker, an economist with Zillow.

Read the full article online.