Massachusetts leaders must deliver relief to poor families now

Originally published on The Boston Globe.

As people across Massachusetts inch toward the ninth month of their coronavirus experience, it’s often difficult to remember what life was like before it all began. While we continue to face this unprecedented public health crisis, we’re also facing the devastating impact it’s had on our local and national economies. Groceries and basic essentials have run on short supply. Restaurants and small businesses have closed, and even the most robust businesses among us were forced to let workers go or significantly reduce their pay.

While everyone is suffering at some level, the suffering isn’t equal. This new normal of our economy, with its dramatic challenges, isn’t new to many working families in Massachusetts, especially those living below the poverty line. Families everywhere see the deck stacked against them, and our historically marginalized neighbors and friends feel this most acutely. We know that struggling to afford food, housing, and other necessities puts children and families’ health at risk. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the stakes couldn’t be higher.