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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined forces in New York on Monday to raise $ 2 billion in special funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help families in need of care after their deaths were unable to provide adequate funerals for their loved ones as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Each family can receive reimbursement of up to $ 7,000 for funeral expenses, with $ 260 million of those funds allocated directly to New Yorkers. These funds are retroactive and can apply to anyone who lost a loved one as a result of the pandemic from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

While this first funding rate is retroactive, both Schumer and Ocasio-Cortez are fighting to keep these funds in place until the pandemic in FEMA’s next funding rate is over.

“Many of these families have no money for a proper funeral and a proper funeral because of Covid. And that is just terrible and inhumane, ”said Schumer, describing why the funding is necessary.

Ocasio-Cortez made the problem personal by saying, “I lost my father when I was about 18 years old. And funeral expenses have haunted my family and many other families in similar positions for years. ”

Ocasio-Cortez later asked if these funds would apply to undocumented families and explained why these communities shouldn’t be afraid to apply for these funds.

“I think it’s completely understandable why they have been afraid of targeting our immigrant families there, especially in the last four years. But I think right now that our families, especially under a Biden government, a Democratic Senate and a Democratic House that gives priority to the rights of immigrants, including those who are undocumented, are not afraid and will not allow them Fear further marginalizes our community. Said Ocasio-Cortez.

Schumer said Ocasio-Cortez brought this issue to his attention last April. These disaster relief funds are similar to FEMA’s program for families after Hurricane Sandy.

The press conference took place in Queens, New York, an area particularly hard hit by the pandemic, and highlighted the disproportionately large extent to which the colored, working class and immigrant communities were affected.

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