The Road to Equitable Recovery is Not Paved with Stop-Gap Measures

Federal coronavirus response legislation – including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act – has created a number of programs and funding streams that currently serve as essential lifelines to individuals and families who were adversely affected by the economic fallout from the pandemic. Federal initiatives are bolstered by efforts at the state and local-level, and in the private sector to ensure all U.S. residents have access to a safe place to shelter, food and essential utilities – including internet service, which is needed to stay up-to-date on critical public health guidelines, and to participate in remote work and education. 

Coronavirus response programs and supplemental funding have delayed some of the immediate effects of the economic recession sweeping the nation in concert with the pandemic. However, many of these provisions are stop-gap measures set to expire in a matter of months or a few short years. As advocates are quick to point out, new programs and increased funding for existing services address suffering and hardships that, although exposed by the pandemic, are rooted in underlying inequities that pre-date the virus itself. Unless comprehensive, long-term action is taken, funding will dry up and aid programs will expire, leaving countless Americans treading water, struggling to stay afloat.

As we begin to chart the course towards recovery, we are faced with a unique opportunity to build a more equitable society, in part by making some of the “stop-gap” measures keeping families in their homes, fed and employed permanent components of our social safety net. The timeline below outlines when various COVID-19-related aid programs and funding streams are set to expire, and is intended to serve as an indicator for a sense of urgency that advocates and lawmakers should have as they identify where long-term solutions are needed and when.


Hover over any point on the timeline above for details about the program/funding source set to expire on that date.