“In Alabama, poverty and poor health are a legacy of decades of racist public policies that have excluded people of color from health care,” Arise’s Jim Carnes tells Stateline. “The question is whether the light will be bright enough this time that our officials will be forced to face the reality and address it.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has left many Alabamians wondering “when they’ll get paid again, or where they’ll get their next meal, or where they’ll sleep tonight,” Arise’s Chris Sanders tells AL.com. “And they have no idea how in the world they’d pay for health care if they get sick.”
“The well-being of any of us is tied inextricably to the well-being of all of us,” Arise’s Chris Sanders tells WHNT 19 in Huntsville. “We need to be looking to ensure that everyone has the ability to get by, to make ends meet, to provide for their families.”
About 55,000 Alabamians temporarily regained SNAP eligibility under a new federal law. “They should go in and reapply for benefits if they have been cut off because of the time limit. Because they’re eligible again, and will not be cut off as long as this emergency lasts,” Arise’s Carol Gundlach tells WSFA 12 in Montgomery.
New federalchanges to suspend time limits and lift enrollment barriers are “going to make a really big difference in keeping people fed who otherwise would have been going hungry,” Arise’s Carol Gundlach tells WAFF 48 in Huntsville.
The food situation for many people in Alabama’s Black Belt is dire during the COVID-19 pandemic, with churches and schools filling the growing need as possible. “They’re doing the best they can, but it’s scary,” Arise’s Celida Soto Garcia tells AL.com.
New legislation suspended SNAP time limits and expanded food assistance for many families. But as Arise tells WSFA 12 in Montgomery, Congress still needs to increase overall benefits and block harmful proposals to limit SNAP access.
Families who participate in WIC have limited food options, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “Read those little labels,” Arise’s Carol Gundlach tells Alabama Daily News. “And the main message is, be nice and don’t hoard.”
In 2019, Alabama cut the maximum length of unemployment insurance benefits from 26 weeks to as few as 14. “It’s really short-term thinking to not prepare for the next crisis when you have the ability to do it,” Arise’s Dev Wakeley tells AL.com. “We cut our ability to prepare for this just a year ago.”