Minimum Wage Earners Are Essential to This Country By Cheryll Boswell

The 2008 financial and housing crisis was worldwide. Many households were impacted by decisions made to deregulate the financial industry. We all knew someone that was stressed with losing their jobs and their homes. Some economist said it was the most serious financial crisis since the great depression. That was until the Coronavirus pandemic struck the world globally. Now, EVERY household in America is impacted by this virus.

COVID-19 (CO for corona VI for virus and D for disease) the acronym for the coronavirus was first identified in 2019 in Wuhan China. COIVD-19 spreads from person-to person from either indirect or direct contact. The bacteria from the virus can stay on items for hours and even days at a time. Side effects range from being mild to very serious and deadly. Scientist have deemed the best way to reduce the spread of this virus is to minimize person to person contact. On March 9, Governor Pritzker declared a state of emergency for Illinois and issued statewide stay at home orders for non-essential employees. The State of Illinois is on lock down until April 30. Schools, day cares, beauty and barber shops, and a host of business are closed as a measure to prevent the spread of this deadly virus.

As of April 1, 2020, over six million Americans have filed for unemployment, because their jobs have been furloughed or eliminated due to the coronavirus pandemic. This crisis have taught us that America depends on people they don’t want to pay an hourly wage of $15. We are learning the hardest working people are often the ones earning minimum wage. Besides the medical field, this crisis has shown us how essential minimum wage earners are to this country.

One of the most critical lessons learned from the 2008 crisis was to make resources available that will keep people safe, sheltered, and fed. And to make those resources available quickly. For those who have lost their job or experienced a reduction in income, here are a few resources that I hope will help you manage during this crisis.

· Careeroneonestop.org is a national data source for filing unemployment in Illinois and other states and maybe be useful with finding a job.

Governor Pritzker has issued Executive Orders to help you during this pandemic emergency, here are a few of those orders:

All state, local and county enforcement have been directed to cease all orders of evictions for residential premises until April 8, 2020. The Sheriff will not execute an eviction order if it was placed in late February or early March and the stay date has now expired. However, this does not apply to new evictions. Contact Prairie State Legal if your landlord is trying to evict you.

· Foreclosure sales and evictions have been suspended for single-family and multifamily home loans financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, some mortgages may be eligible for forbearance or reduction of mortgage payments for up to 12 months.

· Evictions and foreclosures are also suspended for 60 days on FHA single-family home loans and reverse mortgages for seniors.

· Banks and mortgage servicers are urged to defer payments for 90 days for those suffering hardships as a result of the COIVD-19 pandemic.

· An executive order has suspended repossession of vehicles during the duration of COVID-19.

· Interest rates on federal student loans held by the U.S. Department of Education have been reduced to 0 percent until Sept. 30, and repayment on those loans is suspended until the same date. Involuntary collection on federal student loans, including wage garnishments and offsets, will be suspended until September 30 as well. Credit reporting will take place as if the borrower were making timely payments.

· The Illinois Department Financial and Regulation-IDFPR is encouraging all banks and credit unions to offer payment deferment at no cost while eliminating fees such as late payment, ATM usage and overdraft charges, and increasing daily ATM withdrawal and credit card limits.

I encourage you to be proactive and contact your creditor/lender and let them know what you can and can’t do. They want to hear from you.

Remember we will get through this crisis. Be Safe. Be Smart. Stay at Home.