We will continue to invest in women and girls through this time of uncertainty.
In early March the Women’s Foundation staff began discussing the *possibility* of working from home due to COVID-19. I bet most of you have similar stories of how relatively normal things were not so long ago. And yet this moment in time is anything but normal and we are acutely aware of the difficulties, stresses and dire scenarios facing NH women, families and the organizations that serve them. Please read on to see how we are adapting our work to meet the changing needs of this “new normal.”
On Monday, March 16th, the Foundation closed for the day to give staff time to prepare to work from home. Each staff balancing the demands of caring for children or family members, working remotely, and/or attempting to homeschool our kids. Yet as challenging as these times may seem, my colleagues and I are extremely fortunate to be able to work from home. Many women in New Hampshire don’t have an employment environment which supports a similar opportunity.
Events and Meetings
All previously scheduled NHWF events have been postponed including our Nonprofit Roundtable, Legislative Luncheon, and GAL|A. Stay tuned for more information about new dates and times. Staff will be moving all in-person meetings to video or phone conferences.
There is no denying the fact that our nonprofit partners are experiencing an unprecedented time of crisis responding to COVID-19. Many are facing decisions about shutting down program activity sites, cancelling fundraising events that provide critical financial support, and improvising solutions to meet the critical needs of those they serve without compromising public safety. We are in touch with many of these organizations to share our support and hear directly from them how we can support them. In early April, we announced plans to provide critical grants in response to COVID-19. If you can help us invest in these vital organizations supporting women and girls in New Hampshire, please contribute today.
The NH Center for Nonprofits also has an excellent COVID-19 Resource page for nonprofits. Learn more here.
The NH Legislature has suspended all legislative activity until future notice. While lawmakers are not at the State House they are working closely with communities, state agencies and Governor Sununu to address the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With our legislative work “on hold,” we will be sharing information from state and federal leaders on support and services available to women and families facing economic hardship and displacement during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are pleased with the actions taken by Governor Sununu this week to ensure the following protections:
- Expanded Access to Unemployment. Individuals who are unable to work or who have reduced hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic will have immediate access to unemployment benefits. Anyone in the following situations will now be eligible for state unemployment: If your employer temporarily closes due to COVID-19; Individuals that need to self-quarantine or are directed to quarantine at the instruction of a healthcare provider, employer or government official; Individuals that need to care for a family member that has COVID-19 or is under quarantine; Individuals that need to care for a dependent because of school closures, child care facility closures or other similar types of care programs; Self-employed individuals that are temporarily unable to operate their business because of any of the above listed situations will also be eligible.
- Protection Against Utility Disconnection or Termination. All providers of electric, gas, water, telephone, cable, VOIP, internet service, and deliverable fuel services will be prohibited from disconnecting or discontinuing service for non-payments for the duration of the State of Emergency.
- Housing Stability. Landlords will not be allowed to start eviction proceedings for those unable to pay due to their financial situations. To do so would now be against the law. All judicial and non-judicial foreclosure actions will also be prohibited during the state of emergency.
More Information about the Governor’s Actions Can Be Found Here:
Finally, we know that crisis often exacerbates gender equality and the COVID-19 pandemic is no different. Across the globe women may be at greater risk for acquiring the Coronavirus due in part because they make up the majority of health care workers and caregiving and child care responsibilities fall disproportionately on women. Now, more than ever, the Coronavirus is shining a bright light on the importance of gender equitable polices including paid sick leave, family medical leave, affordable childcare, and high quality, affordable healthcare. In the weeks and months ahead we’ll be focused on highlighting these important policies and keeping you informed.