CCHD Annual Report 2020

to work from home instead of commuting. With the onset of COVID-19—and a surge of deaths especially among people living in institutions—suddenly everyone saw the wisdom and workability of those policies. The committee joined with other local service groups to provide emergency cash assistance to people in urgent need of necessities. Thanks to your gifts, the Disabled Rights Action Committee also had a leading role in establishing a state cap on co-pays for insulin. Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment: Action for Clean Drinking Water In Tennessee, Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment (SOCM) is using your gifts to keep poisons out of streams and wells and to help mining communities transition to sustainable energy. A coal-mining practice called “mountaintop removal” strips coal that acts as a natural water filter, allowing toxins to seep into the water supplies of rural families and farmers. SOCM works to limit this practice and make sure that mining companies fulfill their obligations to restore damaged lands. The group also works vigorously to keep companies from dumping hazardous waste in landfills designated for household use. With your help, the group is encouraging the development and expansion of recycling and composting to reduce landfills. United Interfaith Action: Preventing Homelessness As the shutdown occurred, United Interfaith Action in Fall River, MA, helped develop a network of agencies that went the extra mile to cover immediate needs that ordinarily fell outside the organizations’ scope. Although United Interfaith Action normally focuses on advocacy for tenants’ rights and fair housing, it stepped in on behalf of families that had lost work, helping them remain in their homes by making at least partial payments toward rent. The need was especially acute among undocumented residents, who had no access to government stimulus or unemployment payments. In one case, United In- terfaith Action learned of a young undocumented family with a toddler, whose father was paying an extremely high rent for a tiny, rat-infested, windowless basement apartment. When the father lost his job and the landlord threatened to evict them—despite a state eviction moratorium—United Interfaith Action made an immediate rent payment, gave the family food, and connected them to other social services that found them a better living situation. Thanks to you, that family now has a decent place to live, and their child will not grow up on the street. As COVID-19 restrictions continue to lift, United Interfaith Action will continue to lobby to promote fair housing and to protect the rights of tenants. 3