En español | From the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, AARP has been working around the clock to make sure policymakers hear your voices and your concerns in city halls, state capitals and Congress. Our advocates have been communicating regularly with governors, mayors and state legislators, as well as senators, representatives and government officials in Washington, D.C.
This is the work AARP does on your behalf day in, day out — even in normal times. But things are different now. Instead of in-person events, we're using technology to connect with you. We're holding more than 140 tele-town halls with health experts and federal, state and local government officials across the country, so that you can speak to them directly about the pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of you have called in, asking about how to keep your loved ones safe, about when stimulus payments go out and whether you're eligible, about how to avoid coronavirus scams, and more.
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When it comes to our outreach to national leaders, your input is vital. This week, staff and volunteers from our offices in all 50 states — plus Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands — were scheduled to travel to Capitol Hill for an annual event we call AARP Lobby Day. We walk the halls and meet with congressional representatives to shine a spotlight on the problems most important to older Americans. Because of the coronavirus, we changed course and embarked on AARP Virtual Lobby Week.
This week, from our kitchens and living rooms, we're meeting with congressional representatives via videoconferencing, social media and phone. We're urging them to focus on the pandemic response, especially the tragedy unfolding in nursing homes. We're demanding that Congress ensure that all long-term care facilities have enough personal protective equipment to keep staff and your loved ones safe. We're demanding testing in these facilities, and that when tests come back positive, that data be quickly communicated to families and made public. And we're demanding virtual visitation, allowing you to check in on your loved ones in the same way so many of us are keeping in touch with each other these days. You have a right to know what is happening inside these facilities — and you want to know. Our new poll finds that 9 in 10 Americans age 50 and older would support additional federal action to assist nursing homes and other care facilities.
We're also urging Congress to take action to help the millions of seniors struggling to get by even before this pandemic. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits should be increased and Americans should be able to use them when ordering groceries online. And we need Congress to pay attention to the growing problem of budgets for state and local governments, which provide essential services for older Americans.
We've heard from so many of you about how hard it is to make ends meet right now. That's why Congress should continue providing extra help for those who are struggling and for those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. In the meantime, we've compiled lists of resources for each state that can help you find nearby food and health care assistance, as well as public health updates and other real-time information. Especially in times like these, we're looking out for our families and neighbors who are most in need.