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Federal pandemic assistance set to expire at end of 2020: U-M experts available

graphic image of covid 19 virus

Contact: Lauren Slagter, 734-929-8027,
Jared Wadley, 734-936-7819,


ANN ARBOR—Congress has not taken action to extend or replace the federal unemployment pandemic assistance, which expires at year’s end. The University of Michigan has experts available to discuss how the inaction could devastate millions of households, especially those living in poverty.

H. Luke Shaefer is the director of Poverty Solutions, the Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy, and associate dean for research and policy engagement at the Ford School of Public Policy. He is an expert on unemployment insurance, material hardship, food insecurity and housing instability.

“The safety net provisions included in the CARES Act were as effective as anything we’ve ever done, but these provisions are either in the rearview mirror or set to expire,” he said. “It is time for Congress to do more, and now they have a playbook on how to effectively stem hardship during the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.”


Roshanak Mehdipanah, assistant professor of health behavior and health education at the School of Public Health, is an expert on housing instability and health.

“The national moratorium on evictions ends at the end of this month,” she said. “Unless we see more federal intervention, 2021 will start with mass evictions across the country, in the middle of winter and a pandemic. Unfortunately, the health impacts of mass evictions would be irreversible and felt for many decades to come.”


Margaret Dewar, professor emerita of urban and regional planning at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, is an expert on evictions and property tax foreclosure.


William Elliott III, professor at the School of Social Work and director of the Joint Doctoral Program in Social Work and Social Science, is an expert on how the pandemic is affecting wealth inequality.