While everyone is suffering at some level, the suffering isn’t equal.
By Lynn Margherio, Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba, and Kate BarrandUpdated November 7, 2020, 3:00 a.m.
Other ways to level the economic playing field and deliver immediate relief to households would be to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit and extend that credit to taxpaying immigrant families. California and Colorado have already extended EITC eligibility to immigrant households.
While these legislative solutions are up against an increasingly challenging fiscal climate, it’s critical that partners in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors come together to sound the alarm on the need for relief, and the disastrous effects that would follow if we wait too long to act. According to a recent report by Feeding America, the hunger rate in Massachusetts has increased 59 percent since 2018, representing more than 1 million people who are now struggling to get enough to eat. If the state chooses to cut back on public funding during this time, it will inevitably cost more lives and create more suffering — particularly within communities of color — while also dragging out the economic recovery process even longer.
It shouldn’t take a pandemic to motivate elected officials to enact common-sense approaches to delivering economic relief and better health for families. But that’s where we are.
Without fail, the glorious New England autumn inevitably gives way to the cold, dark winter. While this is a reality of our regional climate, it’s also a metaphor for our communities and neighbors left behind if we don’t act to make change. This is our opportunity to ensure that this winter, poor families across Massachusetts aren’t left homeless, hungry, and in despair.
Kate Barrand is the president and CEO of Horizons for Homeless Children. Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba is the executive director of Children’s HealthWatch, based at Boston Medical Center. Lynn Margherio is the founder and CEO of Cradles to Crayons.