April 2020: Unemployment Town Hall and Rent Cancellation

These are difficult times. Over 380,000 Minnesotans have filed for unemployment. Many are struggling to afford next month’s rent and put healthy food on the table for their families. My office and I are working diligently to respond to this crisis to match the scale of the problem, while also addressing the individual needs of families across the 5th district.

You can read my first Medium article here about some of the Minnesota families my office has been working with. Read more below about some of the federal policy priorities I’m working on, including cancelling rent and mortgage payments, expanding online grocery delivery to SNAP recipients, and including refugees and asylees in our coronavirus relief packages.

My office is here to assist you and your loved ones as you work through these difficult times. Please contact my office at (612) 333–1272 if you or someone you know needs assistance.

Unemployment Insurance Town Hall

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Our unemployment insurance town hall with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development was rescheduled due to votes on an additional COVID response package and will now being held on Friday, April 24th at 12:00pm CT.

Rent Cancellation

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In 2008, Wall Street got a bailout. This time, we need to bail out the American people. My Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act institutes a nationwide cancellation of rents and home mortgages through the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. The legislation establishes a relief fund for landlords and mortgage holders to cover losses from the cancelled payments and creates an optional fund to fully finance the purchase of private rental properties by non-profits, public housing authorities, cooperatives, community land trusts, and states or local governments — in order to increase the availability of affordable housing during this downturn.

Expanding Online Food Assistance

Last week, I introduced the SNAP Online Purchasing Flexibility Act, which would allow online transactions for SNAP benefits, expanding the existing online pilot program available in 8 states to all states, including Minnesota. The bill was based on feedback from Minnesotans who wanted to purchase food online. All Minnesotans deserve to have nutritious food available to them regardless of how they pay for it.

Amazon Firing in Minnesota

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Factory workers are essential, which is why I’m outraged that Amazon fired two workers in its Shakopee facility earlier this month who spoke out about unsafe working conditions. I led a letter to the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) demanding a thorough and comprehensive investigation into Amazon’s actions. No workers should feel unsafe on the job, but particularly not during a pandemic.

Refugee Letter

Refugees are important members of our communities, but they’ve been left out of the COVID relief packages. I led a letter to House leadership requesting that the next emergency legislative package includes protections for refugees, asylees, and other immigrants to ensure our newest neighbors receive the vital services they need during this crisis. We cannot leave anyone out of vital relief efforts.

In service,

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Ilhan Omar
Member of Congress

Written by

Representing Minnesota’s 5th District in the People’s House.

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