E-newsletter: COVID-19 Resources & Election Year Activity Restrictions

Dear friends and neighbors,

Starting May 11, election year activity restrictions prohibit lawmakers from sending mass email updates like these until the November election is certified. My legislative website and Facebook page will also be frozen during that time.

I know that many community members will continue to have questions and concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and what’s next for Washington. To help answer those, I want to hear directly from you. I am able to hear from you individually.

Throughout the interim, I plan to safely connect with constituents over the telephone. After taking a look at our state’s COVID-19 resource pages (see below), you can schedule an appointment with my legislative assistant at: Erika.Odem@leg.wa.gov to connect directly.

Thank you for continuing to stay home to stay healthy during this pandemic.

Rep. Zack Hudgins

Schedule


Safely reopening Washington’s economy

SafeStart

How can we move to restart and reopen Washington state without risking a second wave of COVID-19 infections? Gov. Jay Inslee has released our state’s four-part plan to do exactly that.

Please click here, or on the chart below, to learn about the details of that plan.


Food insecurity resources in South King County

An estimated 1.6 million Washingtonians are at risk of not having enough food to eat. That’s twice as many people at risk than before the COVID-19 pandemic began. That’s why I am stepping up with our state, local and community partners to coordinate on the fight against hunger – this work builds upon food policies we have passed in the Legislature, including Breakfast After the Bell.

Most recently, the governor announced thWA Food Fund, which will not only help keep our kids fed, but will also help food banks keep their stocks shelved. It’s a collaboration between government, nonprofits, and philanthropies. It’s a coordinated effort to get food to those in need across the state. Learn more or volunteer by visiting WAFoodFund.org.

Food access locations in South King County 

King County has put together a resource page for COVID-19 emergency food information, including organizations assisting with food delivery and pick up options.

Renton Public School locations are providing free breakfast and lunch meals to children 18 and under on week days. Grab & Go meals can be pre-ordered online and can be picked up at any meal locationLearn more and order here.

Seattle Public Schools have multiple locations supporting students with meals on week days and weekends across the city. Meals are also being delivered by bus in some locations. Learn what options are available in your community

Tukwila Public Schools are distributing meals every week day to children 18 and under at all elementary school locations.

Washington State has put together a food assistance resource page on the official Washington State COVID-19 website, which includes information on emergency food access.

Food bank locator

When picking up meals, please remember to Stay Healthy. Stay six feet a part, wear a face mask and gloves and wash your hands.


Unemployment assistance

COVID-19 has left many unable to work and without their regular incomes. If you are one of those impacted, you are eligible for unemployment benefits through Washington State’s Employment Security Department (ESD): www.esd.wa.gov. Below is a checklist for determining your eligibility for unemployment benefits. Some of the requirements have been waived or changed due to COVID-19. Take a look at the checklist, look for additional information on the ESD website, and apply today to get your benefits.

Additionally, Congress recently passed the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides additional unemployment benefits, and makes them available to more workers who previously would not be eligible for unemployment. Check your eligibility and apply here.

ESD


Supporting our health care system

Before the Legislature adjourned in mid-March, we passed a $200 million package to respond to COVID-19, however it’s clear that additional investments will be needed to support our health care system. Congress recently passed the federal CARES Act, which we are currently assessing to see where additional state investments will need to be made in the wake of this pandemic.

Below are some of what the Legislature, Governor’s Office and state agencies are currently doing with support of the federal government:

Increasing health care coverage: Health care officials opened the Health Benefit Exchange for a special enrollment period so that more people without insurance can get covered during this pandemic. Learn more or apply here.

Funding the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund: The CARES Act provides $100 billion for this fund to help hospitals treat and prepare for an increase in COVID-19 patients. We don’t yet know exactly how this funding will be distributed, but with Washington state at the forefront of this pandemic, we are advocating to receive a fair share to help our hospitals.

Improving health care through the CARES Act: CARES provides billions of dollars to fund vaccine development and to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and tests. Uninsured patients and rural hospitals are also included in the CARES Act to increase access to treatment in communities across the country, in addition to the expansion of telehealth access and increased flexibility in Medicare.