Bowser Talks Unemployment Insurance, Vaccine Rollout

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DOES Director Unique Morris-Hughes listens to a question at the Feb. 8 Situational Update. Screenshot: Twitter/@MayorBowser

In Monday’s situational update, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes and Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt spoke about the vaccine rollout, unemployment insurance and rental assistance.

COVID-19 and Vaccines

As of Monday Feb. 8, 94,100 doses of the vaccine have been delivered, more than 67,000 doses have been administered and 11,475 additional doses will become available this week in the District.

Nesbitt acknowledged that last week’s weather decreased the number of people tested and said she is cautious about interpreting the health data this week as cases and hospitalizations have appeared to decrease.

“We had some inclement weather last week and we want to be mindful about how that impacts our 7 day average,” Nesbitt said.

Starting today, every Monday at 12:00 p.m. and at 7:00 p.m. child care workers, independent school staff and teachers and charter school staff and teachers are able to register for vaccine appointments in the District.

The Pennsylvania Ave. Baptist Church will become the District’s first faith-based vaccination partner this week as 200 pre-registered DC residents will participate in the pilot vaccination program.

Unemployment and Rental Insurance Programs 

On Dec. 27, the Continued Assistance Act (CAA) was signed into law and extended any provisions of the CARES Act including: Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). CAA also added the Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation program.

The Department of Employment Services is working to make it easier for DC residents to get answers about employment benefits. Updates include new technology and tools for efficiency, increasing communication through robocalls and text messages and adding capacity to program staff and operations and providing additional training.

In November, the District launched housing stabilization grants that provided 11.5 million dollars to 4,500 households helping tenants pay back rent from las April.

Starting immediately, housing providers may apply for additional funding on behalf of eligible tenants through the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP). Those eligible must meet income requirements for low-income renters due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sarah Payne is a History and Neuroscience student at The University of Michigan interning with HillRag. She writes for and serves as an assistant news editor for Michigan’s student newspaper, The Michigan Daily. You can reach her at sarahp@hillrag.com.