Shusterman, Kenyatta and Fiedler introduce bill to reinstate emergency assistance

HARRISBURG, Dec. 13 – State Reps. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, Malcolm Kenyatta and Elizabeth Fiedler, both D-Phila., introduced a new bill to provide emergency financial relief to help the most vulnerable.

It would reinstate funding provided through the General Assistance program, which was ended last session. This new bill would once again provide $200 on average a month to those who were unable to work, those caring for loved ones who were sick or disabled, veterans, women fleeing domestic violence and adults receiving substance abuse treatment.

“Many in Pennsylvania are still struggling because of COVID-19,” Shusterman said. “When the General Assistance program was ended, so too was a lifeline many people were depending on to help them. This bill would make sure we are continuing to protect those who need it the most.”

"General Assistance is a lifeline for thousands of Pennsylvanians,” Kenyatta said. “Taking it away is a travesty that affects families and others in need all across our commonwealth. We must fight to protect the most vulnerable citizens of our society."

“It is cruel and immoral to tear dollars out of the hands of people who are literally unable to buy food or pay for bus fare without general assistance,” Fiedler said. “Since the General Assistance program has been removed, we must provide some assistance program to help those who were receiving support through GA.”

Eliminating the General Assistance program had a negative effect on thousands of Pennsylvanians who were relying on that temporary help to achieve stability and self-sufficiency, the lawmakers said. This bill would help those Pennsylvanians pay for life’s basic needs, toiletries, transportation, shelter, utilities or medication.