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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 23, 2020 09:35 AM
From: Senator Katie J. Muth and Sen. Maria Collett, Sen. Lindsey M. Williams, Sen. John P. Blake, Sen. James R. Brewster, Sen. Amanda M. Cappelletti, Sen. Carolyn T. Comitta, Sen. Jay Costa, Sen. Wayne D. Fontana, Sen. Art Haywood, Sen. Vincent J. Hughes, Sen. John I. Kane, Sen. Timothy P. Kearney, Sen. John P. Sabatina, Jr., Sen. Steven J. Santarsiero, Sen. Nikil Saval, Sen. Judith L. Schwank, Sen. Sharif Street, Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione, Sen. Anthony H. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: Emergency Relief Program
In the near future, we plan to reintroduce legislation to establish the Emergency Relief Program, SB799 from last session. This program is designed to help Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable and impoverished populations previously receiving support from General Assistance. COVID-19 has made the need for this legislation even more timely and critical. 

Emergency Relief is temporary emergency assistance for the most vulnerable populations with immediate and urgent needs. Specifically, Emergency Relief goes to people with disabilities who cannot work, people in treatment for a substance use disorder, orphaned children cared for by neighbors or friends, people fleeing domestic violence, qualified veterans or people caring for someone with a disability. 

Averaging around $200 per month for an eligible individual, this small injection of cash support has a huge impact. It can stabilize their situation by providing funding to rent a room, to pay for medication necessary to function, to do laundry or to afford toiletries most Pennsylvanians take for granted. Ultimately, Emergency Relief can be a bridge to self-sufficiency. 

While getting these vulnerable populations stable, this program decreases the reliance on shelters, emergency hospitalizations and foster care, resulting in significant savings for Pennsylvania. The program also acts like a loan, particularly for those who ultimately receive Social Security, as the Commonwealth is repaid after the individual is fully enrolled in the federal program. 

Emergency Relief is a small, yet extremely impactful program to help the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians get on a path to self-sufficiency. This program combats homelessness and the opioid crisis, as well as ensures basic stopgap protections for those who served our nation in the armed forces. This legislation provides a chance for those fighting for a better future. 

Please help save lives and co-sponsor this vital piece of legislation.

Introduced as SB44