LSA-DN Weekly Update

Disability Network News
Friday, May 8, 2020


Advocacy Update

Congress Moving Forward with Legislation Tied to Pandemic Crisis

Despite the House of Representatives not yet being back in session, following several weeks of “stay at home” orders, work continues in both chambers at the leadership and staff level on the next large coronavirus relief bill.  The House is currently taking the lead on this measure, known as CARES 2.0.  While Speaker Pelosi has said she wants to move relatively quickly, finalizing and passing before Memorial Day a large bill which would include a wide array of provisions to help individuals, employers, and state and local governments, Leader McConnell has indicated his preference for a much smaller measure, and a longer timeline for passage.

Lawmakers in both chambers are also working on several other pieces of legislation, some of which may eventually be included in the larger CARES 2.0 bill, and all of which may not only positively impact the nonprofit health and human services field as a whole but also organizations serving people with disabilities. In the House, Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) plans to introduce the “Help Charities Protect Communities Act,” adding forgivable loans for nonprofits with over 500 employees to the mid-sized lending program created under the CARES Act, Reps. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-OK) are finalizing the “Jumpstarting Our Businesses’ Success Credit (JOBS Credit) Act” which would expand the employee retention tax credit from the CARES Act to help further reduce layoffs, and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) is reportedly writing a bill to create a $20 billion loan facility for groups that weren’t able to access Paycheck Protection Program funding.

In the Senate, Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) will soon introduce legislation to grant the Treasury Department authority to distribute block grants to more than 1,000 state and local governments, which would in turn dispatch those grants to nonprofits, while Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is writing the “Emergency Funding for Child Protection Act” to provide $500 million in emergency funds for local child protective services and $1 million for community-based child abuse prevention programs.

We are continuing our active advocacy to urge lawmakers to include our key priorities in their next major legislation, and we thank you for joining us in this work. We know your outreach is having an impact!

Federal Reserve Considering How to Include Nonprofits in “Main Street Lending” Program

The Federal Reserve Board, together with the Treasury Department, has recently issued new guidance for the “Main Street Lending” program, which was authorized in the CARES Act to provide low-interest loans to mid-sized businesses. As of April 30, the agencies have indicated that nonprofits are not currently eligible for these loans, but have stated that they recognize "the critical role that nonprofit organizations play throughout the economy and [are] evaluating a separate approach to meet their unique needs." Lutheran Services in America has written to the Federal Reserve Board, urging them to include nonprofits like our members in their next round of guidance, given that the law provides the authority to do so.

Lutheran Services in America Member Advocacy Helps Drive Support for Bipartisan Congressional Push for Nonprofit Relief

Lutheran Services in America members recently responded to our call to contact their lawmakers, urging them to sign bipartisan letters to both House and Senate leaders calling for nonprofits on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response effort to receive critical financial support in any future coronavirus legislation. In the House, the letter, which was organized by Reps. Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), was signed by 144 Representatives, while the Senate letter, led by Sens. James Lankford (R-OK) and Angus King (I-ME), garnered 29 signatures. Both letters, which Lutheran Services in America endorsed along with dozens of other leading nonprofit organizations, included two of our own key priorities — 100% reimbursement of the cost of unemployment insurance benefits paid by nonprofits who self-fund these benefits and access to financial relief for health and human services nonprofits with over 500 employees – as well as a request for strengthened charitable giving incentives. 

Coronavirus Resources

Across the United States, Lutheran Services in America’s members are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing services to some of the nation’s most vulnerable people including people with disabilities. You well know that given the depth and breadth of the pandemic, it is challenging to find resources, protective equipment, and available staff to respond to all those in need.

To this end, and in efforts to keep you informed on timely, related resources, we have compiled a list of news and resources you may find helpful. In particular, we are tracking philanthropic and federal funding opportunities and requirements for our members and compiling a list of upcoming webinars, meetings, and events. Be sure to check out these pages and feel free to reach out to us with any related questions you have. 


Coronavirus Prompts Justice Department Warning about Discrimination

Federal officials say they are doubling down on efforts to root out discrimination against people with disabilities and other groups while the nation contends with coronavirus.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a newly released statement that those with disabilities should be on guard for discrimination that may arise in a host of settings ranging from education to housing and health care and they should speak up if their rights are violated.

“As the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the department will remain vigilant in enforcing civil rights laws,” Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Eric S. Dreiband said. “We must ensure that fear and prejudice do not limit access to housing, schools, benefits, services, jobs and information, among other things, on account of race, sex, religion, national origin, disability or other protected classes.”

More from Disability Scoop

Coronavirus crisis exacts toll on people with disabilities

For millions of disabled people and their families, the coronavirus crisis has piled on new difficulties and ramped up those that already existed. Many are immunocompromised and therefore more vulnerable to infection, but terrified of new coronavirus-era hospital guidelines they fear could put them at risk.

The leader of the U.N. said Wednesday the 1 billion people living with disabilities around the world have been among the hardest hit by the virus. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for them to have equal access to prevention and treatment of COVID-19 as the pandemic exposes and intensified global inequalities.

More from The Washington Post


How Some Schools Did Away With Restraint And Seclusion

Secluding and restraining students was once standard procedure at the Ruth Birch School, much as it is now at many schools across Illinois and elsewhere. And just as Illinois currently finds itself in turmoil over the use of these practices, Ruth Birch grappled with the same dilemma 17 years ago. But the nonprofit organization that runs this private school and two others, as well as other residential and psychiatric facilities in Virginia, did what Illinois has not yet chosen to do: stopped using seclusion and restraint.

More from Disability Scoop

Research & Reports

The COVID-19 response must be disability inclusive

There are more than 1 billion people living with disabilities (PLWD) worldwide. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is likely to disproportionately affect these individuals, putting them at risk of increased morbidity and mortality, underscoring the urgent need to improve provision of health care for this group and maintain the global health commitment to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC). 

PLWD, including physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory disabilities, are less likely to access health services, and more likely to experience greater health needs, worse outcomes, and discriminatory laws and stigma. COVID-19 threatens to exacerbate these disparities, particularly in lowincome and middle-income countries, where 80% of PLWD reside, and capacity to respond to COVID-19 is limited. Preparedness and response planning must be inclusive of and accessible to PLWD, recognising and addressing three key barriers.

More from the Lancet

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

What's Going to Happen to Junior, Now That His Mother Is Dead?

Daysi Díaz, 65, was afraid to see a doctor, despite a fever that wouldn’t go away. If she was diagnosed with the coronavirus, she might have to be hospitalized. Who would look after her son, Junior?

So Ms. Díaz stayed put in her ninth-floor apartment in a public housing project in Upper Manhattan, growing weaker. Relatives called her often to check in. During one such call in March, Ms. Díaz collapsed. In her final words, she called out for Junior. But he was in a deep sleep.

After his mother’s death, Junior, who is 31 and has a developmental disability, was hospitalized and sent to a quarantine facility in Queens.

More from The New York Times

Let COVID-19 expand awareness of disability tech

Disabled people including myself have long campaigned for accommodations to help us live our lives. The COVID-19 pandemic shows that these are not as impractical as we have always been told. Supermarkets, restaurants and pharmacies (even outside cities) can deliver; remote working, medicine and education are possible for many; and social lives can be rewarding without requiring us to leave home.

All around me, I see academic colleagues adopting disability-led hacks and long-sought accommodations. I wish everyone had thought about these workarounds — and about disabled people at all — earlier. When lockdowns end, we must not forget these lessons, not least because the pandemic will disable people, and the impacts will be felt most by the most vulnerable parts of society.

More from Nature

Upcoming Events

LSA-DN 2020 Summer Meeting
August 5-7, 2020
Details TBD

LSA-DN 2021 Winter Meeting
February 24-26, 2021
Tampa, Florida


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Jen Beltz 
VP, External Affairs
Lutheran Services in America