Shusterman advocates for extension on eviction and foreclosure moratorium

(Jul 08, 2020)

PAOLI, July 8 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, signed onto a letter with 43 fellow legislators urging Gov. Tom Wolf to extend Pennsylvania’s eviction and foreclosure moratorium to the end of 2020 and provide additional support to renters, landlords and home owners. The moratorium currently in place is set to expire on July 10. Shusterman said that since a second wave of COVID-19 in the fall is possible, she will be fighting to ensure that no one gets evicted while the novel coronavirus continues to spread in the commonwealth and the country. “I’m calling on the governor to extend the protections in place for both renters and homeowners as our future with COVID-19 is as uncertain as this virus is deadly,” Shusterman said. “We cannot expect all Pennsylvanians to become financially stable in the next two days while millions are still collecting unemployment compensation. We need a six-month plan in place so that people do not need to worry about homelessness while we’re still battling a global pandemic.” The letter can be viewed on Shusterman’s website. For more information, contact Shusterman’s office at (484) 200-8260. Read more

 

Letter to Governor Wolf: Extend eviction moratorium

(Jul 08, 2020)

Letter addressed to Gov. Wolf explaining the need to extend Pennsylvania's eviction moratorium. Read more

 

Police accountability legislation advances with Shusterman’s support

(Jul 02, 2020)

PAOLI, July 2 – Two pieces of legislation that aim to reform Pennsylvania’s police force are expected to be signed into law next week, both with support and action from Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery. Shusterman voted in favor of H.Bs. 1910 and 1841 in the House Judiciary Committee, where they were amended and approved unanimously. She again voted in favor of these bills in the House chamber where they passed unanimously. Both bills also unanimously passed the Senate this week and the governor is expected to sign them into law soon. Shusterman said that these bills are the most significant police reform measures that Pennsylvania has seen in the last several decades. “Police accountability and reform bills have been sitting in committees as early as January 2019, so I’m proud to finally see action being taken,” Shusterman said. “These bills would help ensure that our police force is properly trained and equipped to serve every resident of this commonwealth with equal respect and dignity. Too many lives have been lost because of lax policing laws, so I’m proud to see swift, bipartisan support on this extremely important issue.” Shusterman worked with Rep. Dan Williams, D-Chester, on his H.B. 1910 which would require officers to undergo training on the use of force, de-escalation techniques, cultural awareness and bias; and amended to include training on Read more

 

Shusterman’s, Kosierowski’s calls for updated nursing home guidance enacted

(Jul 01, 2020)

PAOLI, June 30 – State Reps. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, and Bridget Kosierowski, D-Lackawanna, commended the release of updated guidance by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Human Services to loosen restrictions on long-term care facilities throughout the commonwealth. According to DHS’ three-step process, long-term care facilities may return to activities, welcome visitors and hold other events for residents as long as a specific list of prerequisites are met and there are no new COVID-19 cases among staff and residents for 14 consecutive days. This is a cause that Shusterman and Kosierowski advocated for throughout the governor’s COVID-19 disaster declaration. Shusterman worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the PA House Aging Committee to ensure these facilities could reopen and resume their daily activities as quickly and as safely as possible. “Pennsylvania’s seniors were not only an at-risk population for COVID-19, but they spent the last three months separated from their loved ones, which created even more hardships for them during the pandemic,” Shusterman said. “I fought to reopen these facilities to ease this burden on our seniors while still mitigating the virus’ presence within them. I’m pleased to see that restrictions are slowly being lifted, as it’s another step closer toward reuniting families throughout the Read more

 

Small Business Assistance grants available

(Jun 29, 2020)

Applications are expected to be available June 30 for a new program aimed at providing critical funding to local businesses hurt by the coronavirus. The first round of the $225 million COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance grant program is expected to open for applications on Tuesday, June 30 and will remain open for 10 business days. Additionally, applications will continue to be accepted after 10 business days to be considered for future rounds of funding. Those rounds will be announced soon. This program will award grants ranging from $5,000 - $50,000 to small businesses economically impacted by the coronavirus, and money is specifically set aside for businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people. For an application preparation checklist, criteria for eligibility and consideration, and a full list of participating Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), please click below to go to the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance website. https://pabusinessgrants.com/ Read more

 

Shusterman announces $32,975 grant awarded to area senior center

(Jun 24, 2020)

PHOENIXVILLE, June 24 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, announced today the Senior Adult Activity Center of Phoenixville was awarded a $32,975 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. The grant is part of the department’s $2 million 2019-20 Senior Community Center Grant Program, which aims to help centers increase participation and programming, attract a new generation of older adults, and provide a safe and healthy environment for participants. “Phoenixville’s Senior Adult Activity Center provides residents with the tools that they need to lead healthy, productive lives and embrace the aging process,” Shusterman said. “They’ve been a staple to our senior community even as they were closed during the pandemic because they regularly provided meals to seniors in need. This facility is so deserving of this grant as they’ve demonstrated that they truly care about their patrons and go above and beyond to provide them with the critical services that they need through thick and thin.” For more information on senior community centers and other services and programs offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, visit aging.pa.gov . Read more

 

Shusterman votes to advance police accountability measures

(Jun 15, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 15 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman and fellow members of the House Judiciary Committee amended and approved two police reform bills today in response to the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus’ call last week for action on police accountability. The following legislation was approved unanimously by the committee this morning and is now headed to the House floor: H.B. 1910 – A police training bill that was amended to mandate in-service training on the use of force, de-escalation techniques, cultural awareness and bias; and amended to include training on trauma-informed care, specifically PTSD. Shusterman motioned for an amendment to the bill, which was adopted, seeking to establish PTSD evaluations for law enforcement officers who are required to be trained under the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission. H.B. 1841 – A bill that would expand background checks for police and other law enforcement officers, which was amended to create a confidential repository of employment records relating to misconduct. “Across our county, and right here in our commonwealth and Capitol, we’ve seen a demand to reform our police force and acknowledge the implicit biases subtly embedded in our society,” Shusterman said. “Moving these bills is a promising first step in having much-needed, tough conversations on the House floor, such as addressing Read more

 

Shusterman legislation bolsters $225 million small business grant program

(Jun 08, 2020)

PAOLI, June 8 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, commends Gov. Tom Wolf’s launch of a $225 million statewide grant program benefiting small businesses that were impacted by closures due to COVID-19. The funding was developed in partnership with state lawmakers, including Shusterman, and allocated through the recently enacted state budget, which included $2.6 billion in federal stimulus funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, of which $225 million was earmarked for relief for small businesses. Shusterman introduced numerous bills to help small business stay afloat during the public health crisis. She drafted legislation that would provide technical support and guidance for businesses with less than five employees to help them with selling goods online and create grant programs specifically for nonprofit organizations and mom-and-pop shops. “Small business owners took a serious financial blow over the last three months, and the aid that was available to them was exhausted far too quickly, leaving many with little to no help,” Shusterman said. “I’ve spoken with many small business owners throughout my district who have consistently expressed that more assistance needs to be available for their livelihoods to survive this difficult time. I brought their concerns to the state legislature and I’m proud to share that more help is here.” Read more

 

Shusterman fights for additional industries to reopen after Chester and Montgomery counties move to yellow phase

(Jun 05, 2020)

PAOLI, June 5 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, commended southeast Pennsylvania’s shift into the yellow phase today as businesses reopen and millions of residents return to their jobs. Safely reopening the economy as quickly as possible has been a cause that Shusterman advocated for over the last month. Shusterman co-sponsored legislation in May to reopen the real estate industry and has voted to reopen garden centers and restaurants’ outdoor dining facilities. Additionally, Shusterman wrote a letter to the governor calling to allow curbside pick-up services in red phase counties. “Pennsylvanians have sacrificed so much since mid-March, especially those of us in the southeast corner who are just now catching up with counties who have been in the yellow phase for weeks. This first step toward reopening our economy is a great start, but I’m going to continue fighting for more industries to be included in this phase,” Shusterman said. “I’ve heard from hundreds of constituents ready to get back to work or reopen their businesses and are willing to follow any safety guidelines that we could establish to make that happen. “In order to achieve a successful reopening, we must continue to work together and follow the outlined health and safety guidelines that are in place to prevent a second wave of the novel coronavirus.” For more information, Read more

 

Shusterman calls for hair salons and barbershops to be included in Yellow Phase guidelines

(May 29, 2020)

PAOLI, May 29 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman announced that she signed onto a letter addressed to Gov. Tom Wolf calling on him to add hair salons and barbershops to the list of businesses permitted to reopen during the Yellow Phase. The letter details safety precautions that could easily be taken to ensure the safety of customers, such as operating at 50% capacity. “As restrictions begin to loosen and small businesses take steps toward reopening, salons and barbershops could easily be included in Yellow Phase guidelines with industry-specific safety protocols in place,” Shusterman said. “Tuesday was a victorious day for restaurant owners as we learned that they could serve patrons outside starting on June 5. This is the kind of creative solution that should serve as an example moving forward and help get Pennsylvanians back to work as quickly and safely as possible. “Many small businesses throughout the commonwealth cannot remain closed much longer without closing permanently. If we are able to help them while preserving public health and safety, we need to make every effort to do so.” Other legislators who signed onto the letter are: state Reps. Joseph Ciresi, Steve Malagari, Christina Sappey, Tina Davis, Dave Delloso, Jennifer O’Mara, Dan Williams, Danilo Burgos, Tim Briggs and Austin Davis. Wolf has announced that all Pennsylvania counties, including Read more

 

Shusterman-led efforts to safely resume real estate services statewide to take effect today

(May 19, 2020)

PAOLI, May 19 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, said she supports Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to reopen real estate services throughout the commonwealth beginning today. Safely resuming real estate operations has been an issue that Shusterman has championed for the past several weeks. Shusterman had co-sponsored legislation which would have allowed realtors to resume business if they adhered to strict social distancing and mitigation guidelines in late April, but took matters to the governor when the final version of the bill failed to include language prohibiting open houses in “red phase” counties. She also spoke with numerous real estate professionals throughout her legislative district to learn their specific concerns and needs to safely reopen the industry. “I know many Pennsylvanians want to get back to work as soon as possible and that shelter is a life-sustaining need, so I am pleased to see this progress toward reopening the commonwealth while preserving the health and safety of our residents,” Shusterman said. “I’ve heard from numerous real estate professionals who are eager to get back to work but are also concerned with combatting the spread of COVID-19. The measures that were announced today, such as limiting in-person contact and staggering property showings, are effective steps forward that will not jeopardize Pennsylvanians’ health. Resuming Read more

 

Shusterman, House and Senate Democrats pen letter to governor outlining goals for resuming real estate services

(May 18, 2020)

PAOLI, May 18 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman led an initiative to clarify Pennsylvania House and Senate Democrats’ preferences for resuming real estate services throughout the commonwealth in a letter addressed to Gov. Tom Wolf. The letter, which was sent to the governor yesterday, outlines desired safety measures for real estate services, including prohibiting open houses, requiring limited person-to-person contact and implementing other practices to prevent spreading the virus. Shusterman noted that with protocols such as these in place, real estate services could resume safely even in counties that are still in the “red phase.” “I understand that shelter is essential, and many Pennsylvanians’ leases may be about to end, or they were in the process of moving before the statewide stay-at-home order took effect,” Shusterman said. “In order to safely resume these services, proper protections need to be in place so we can mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while preserving the health of both customers and real estate employees. “The House passed House Bill 2412 last week, which would resume all real estate activities of brokers, salespersons, and licensees, but the governor signaled that he would veto it. This is because the bill would allow open houses and suspend code enforcement, creating unsafe living conditions. The reopening of every industry must be methodical and supported Read more

 

Supporting those who care for our loved ones: COVID-19 and the DSP crisis

(May 15, 2020)

Earning low wages and working 12-plus hour days while trying to provide for families and pay bills have always been concerns of direct support professionals. Like most Pennsylvanians working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, DSPs’ stresses are only growing. DSPs provide around-the-clock care for people living with intellectual disabilities or autism, physical disabilities and seniors. They are as essential to society as frontline health care workers, yet their wages barely keep them out of poverty. Low pay, long days and the challenges many of them face relying on public transportation all feed into Pennsylvania’s DSP crisis. Though this always has been the challenge facing DSPs, the pandemic makes matters even worse for them and those who rely on their care. The low wages and challenges of the job already discouraged many people from choosing a career as a DSP, and the pandemic is only making the work increasingly dangerous. These factors are converging and shrinking the pool of trained professionals available to care for our loved ones. The storm is threatening – if not taking – more lives every day. Neither the vulnerable among us nor the heroic Pennsylvanians who care for them can afford another minute of inaction. Therefore, I am drafting two bills to ensure that nonprofit organizations, such as the ARC and Goodwill Industries, and DSP workers have the tools they need to survive the COVID-19 Read more

 

Rep. Shusterman, Democratic colleagues, urge Supreme Court to protect Pennsylvania renters and homeowners during COVID-19 pandemic

(May 14, 2020)

PAOLI, May 14 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, accompanied by many House and Senate colleagues, sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court today urging an order to halt evictions and foreclosures for 90 days after a county is moved from the “red” to the “yellow” phase by Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration. Currently, an executive order from the governor extends a stay on foreclosures and evictions through July 10. “I deeply appreciate and value the moratorium on all foreclosures and evictions for the next two months, but individuals who will be living in ‘red zones’ beyond then shouldn’t have to worry about keeping a roof over their heads during a global pandemic,” Shusterman said. “Supporting families and small businesses during this crisis also includes ensuring their stability once we rid Pennsylvania of COVID-19. This virus has taken a lot from us and Pennsylvanians have undoubtedly sacrificed so much so we can flatten our curve. The fear of homelessness should not be a consequence of all the progress we’ve made.” With the support of many other lawmakers in both legislative chambers, the letter highlights a shared concern that COVID-19 could continue to cause serious challenges for many Pennsylvanians whose counties were among the first to shut down and will remain in the red phase for a longer period of time. The order would cover Read more

 

COVID-19 Mental Health Resources

(May 08, 2020)

I understand that stay-at-home orders and the anxiety associated with overcoming a global pandemic can be extremely stressful for many people. Please remember that it’s ok to ask for help. Our community has many resources available to help you work through any feelings of isolation, depression anxiety or any difficult experience or emotions you’re struggling to process. Please see the resources listed below for more information and contact my office if you have any questions at RepShusterman@pahouse.net or (484) 200-8260. Mental Health Services: Council for Relationships https://councilforrelationships.org/home/about-us/ Council for Relationships is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help individuals strengthen their most important relationships. Minding Your Mind Foundation https://mindingyourmind.org/virtual-resources/ The Minding your Mind Foundation provides mental health education to adolescents, teens and young adults, parents, teachers and school administrators. The link above contains a list of virtual resources available during the COVID-19 pandemic. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Main Line https://namimainlinepa.org/ NAMI provides free services to individuals in need of mental health services as well as their families and friends. Chimes https://chimes.org/services/behavioral-health/ Chimes is a not-for-profit entity providing Read more

 

COVID-19 Food Resources

(May 07, 2020)

During this difficult time, I understand that many Pennsylvanians worry about feeding themselves or their family. Thankfully, our community has several resources to help. No one should ever go hungry, so please contact my office if you need further information at RepShusterman@pahouse.net or 484-200-8260 Chester County: Phoenixville Area Community Services (PACS) https://www.pacsphx.org/our-message-about-covid19 T&E Care https://www.tecare.org/ Chester County Food Bank https://chestercountyfoodbank.org/community-partners/member-agencies/ Meals on Wheels of Chester County https://mowcc.org/ Montgomery County: MontCo Anti-Hunger Network (MAHN) https://www.montcoantihunger.org/mahn-member-food-pantries.html MontCo Hunger Solutions Emergency Food Map https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?ll=40.18809327328347%2C-75.31793603559663&z=9&mid=15AUNRCRvScSiwZ5ydnMITwUbFO4 Map of Montgomery County Schools Providing Meals to Students and Food Banks: https://data-montcopa.opendata.arcgis.com/pages/covid-19-food Meals on Wheels of Montgomery County https://www.mowmc.org/ Read more

 

Shusterman votes to safely reopen Pennsylvania garden centers

(May 01, 2020)

PAOLI, May 1 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, said today that lawn and garden centers are one step closer to opening thanks to the passage of House Bill 2429. This legislation included an amendment supported by Shusterman and fellow Democrats that would provide critical health and public safety requirements for employees and customers. The bill must be passed in the Senate before going to Gov. Tom Wolf. Shusterman said that the requirements to protect workers are in line with Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine’s direction to keep people safe and calm while reopening the economy. “I voted in favor of HB2429 when it was brought up for a vote on Thursday in order to help our garden centers reopen. Professionals in this community wait all year to harvest their work, denying them their prime season would be devastating,” Shusterman said. “I support these incremental steps to reopening our economy, and garden centers are just the beginning. Additionally, this bill would ensure that workers have clean working conditions, hazard pay, PPE and paid sick leave. I hope that this measure, which was supported across the aisle, will serve as an example moving forward.” All garden centers that receive a waiver and operate as a result of the legislation would be required to provide, at minimum, the following protections for an essential employee: Additional hazard Read more

 

House Democrats have a plan to make sure PA HEALS

(Apr 24, 2020)

The coronavirus pandemic is the greatest challenge many Pennsylvanians have ever faced or will ever face. For many families, it’s brought personal or financial tragedy. But it has also shown all of us that when we work together, Pennsylvania is strong enough to handle any challenge. Pennsylvanians have been staying home and saving lives. Our state’s amazing nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals are redefining the word “hero” every day. And, our grocery store employees, pharmacists, warehouse workers and truckers have kept PA supplied and moving. We owe it to them, and to each other, to stay the course until the virus is defeated and our workers, families and communities are safe. If we keep making good, commonsense choices based in facts and science, this crisis will be over soon. In the meantime, House Democrats have developed a plan to put People First, reward hard work, support community based businesses and make sure PA is H elping E mployers A nd L abor S ucceed once this crisis has passed. PA HEALS is just the first steps, but they are crucial to an effective start: Local Businesses Matter – Rep. Joe Ciresi This legislation would use $100 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to provide 0% interest loans to smaller, local businesses that were shut out of the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Loan Program when it ran Read more

 

Shusterman and Briggs draft legislation to revive Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 loan program for small businesses

(Apr 22, 2020)

HARRISBURG, April 22 — State Reps. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, and Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, are introducing legislation that would restore the state’s COVID-19 Working Capital Access (CWCA) loan program and provide no-interest loans to Pennsylvania’s smallest businesses and life science organizations. The lawmakers drafted the bills due to the rapid exhaustion of Pennsylvania’s CWCA loan program. Both bills propose replenishing the program by transferring $100 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund. A total of $61 million was originally available when the program launched in late March, but applications quickly outpaced the funds available and the program was closed in less than a week. Briggs also noted that many life science businesses were ineligible for CWCA loans due to the way life science entities are structured. In addition to reopening the program, Shusterman’s legislation contains measures that would create two new programs specifically for businesses with five employees or less. Shusterman said that microloans of up to $15,000 at a 0% interest would be available to mom and pop shops with no payments required for the first year. Additionally, a grant program to provide these small businesses with grants of up to $15,000 to cover working capital expenses would be created. “I’ve heard from countless small businesses struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 health Read more

 

Helpful COVID-19 Resources

(Apr 16, 2020)

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic affecting Pennsylvania, my staff and I wanted to provide you with the following resources and information to help you and your family in the days ahead. State Services and Resources The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has created a COVID-19 guide to assist everyone. It includes information on social distancing, mental health resources, unemployment, food assistance, changes from PennDOT and resources for small business: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/ For individuals: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/#ForIndividuals For families: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/#ForFamilies For businesses: https://dced.pa.gov/resources/ The following provides information and links to federal, state, local and private resources. https://pahouse.com/News/?id=113388 Information from the PA Dept. of Labor and Industry on the federal CARES Act: https://www.uc.pa.gov/COVID-19/CARES-Act/Pages/default.aspx The following link provides you with information on what steps Pennsylvania utilities have taken to assist customers, including a moratorium on shutoffs for all regulated utilities: https://pahouse.com/News/?id=113134 Sign Up for PA Alerts Sign up for emergency and weather alerts, health notifications, building alerts and other updates from state and federal agencies: https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/BF5CCF5B2AB3 Chester County Resources Chester Read more

 

Shusterman advocates for extension on eviction and foreclosure moratorium
Jul 08, 2020

Letter to Governor Wolf: Extend eviction moratorium
Jul 08, 2020

Police accountability legislation advances with Shusterman’s support
Jul 02, 2020

Shusterman’s, Kosierowski’s calls for updated nursing home guidance enacted
Jul 01, 2020

Small Business Assistance grants available
Jun 29, 2020

Shusterman announces $32,975 grant awarded to area senior center
Jun 24, 2020

Shusterman votes to advance police accountability measures
Jun 15, 2020

Shusterman legislation bolsters $225 million small business grant program
Jun 08, 2020

Shusterman fights for additional industries to reopen after Chester and Montgomery counties move to yellow phase
Jun 05, 2020

Shusterman calls for hair salons and barbershops to be included in Yellow Phase guidelines
May 29, 2020

Shusterman-led efforts to safely resume real estate services statewide to take effect today
May 19, 2020

Shusterman, House and Senate Democrats pen letter to governor outlining goals for resuming real estate services
May 18, 2020

Supporting those who care for our loved ones: COVID-19 and the DSP crisis
May 15, 2020

Rep. Shusterman, Democratic colleagues, urge Supreme Court to protect Pennsylvania renters and homeowners during COVID-19 pandemic
May 14, 2020

COVID-19 Mental Health Resources
May 08, 2020

COVID-19 Food Resources
May 07, 2020

Shusterman votes to safely reopen Pennsylvania garden centers
May 01, 2020

House Democrats have a plan to make sure PA HEALS
Apr 24, 2020

Shusterman and Briggs draft legislation to revive Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 loan program for small businesses
Apr 22, 2020

Helpful COVID-19 Resources
Apr 16, 2020