An important read, from CNS: 

By some estimates, thousands of individual churches, schools, food pantries and other social service programs would have shuttered all around the country were it not for these Paycheck Protection Program loans, established by the CARES Act.

“Very specifically, the Payroll Protection Program loans enabled us to keep essential workers employed providing essential services,” said Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, who is executive director of Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of New York, a federation of 90 agencies.

Msgr. Sullivan estimated 15 to 20 of the agencies applied for these loans and were given a total of $15 million to $20 million. The Catholic Charities network delivers $800 million in services each year, he said.

“The program let us provide services and keep our workers working in the midst of diminished resources,” Msgr. Sullivan told Catholic News Service. Services provided through contracts with government agencies were in jeopardy because it was not clear if contractual obligations would be canceled as government resources decreased, he said.

Msgr. Sullivan described a recent visit to a Catholic Charities agency that helps people with severe and persistent mental illnesses. “The PPP was a really important source of cash. They did not have to lay off any of the staff who care for this vulnerable population,” he said.

“Our workers are not rich and many would be in a precarious position if they did not have a paycheck. They could lose their apartments,” he said.

Msgr. Sullivan said a young worker whose job was retained with the Payroll Protection Program funds became the family breadwinner when both of her parents lost their jobs during the shutdown.

Employees of some school-based operations, such as tutoring, truancy prevention and college preparation were retained when the programs were suspended or virtual platforms.

As an example, “Alianza Youth Services made 2,000 calls each week to stay in touch with families in its program in Washington Heights,” he said. The neighborhood in northern Manhattan includes many immigrants from the Dominican Republic.

“With the loans, you get two-for-one,” Msgr. Sullivan said. “You don’t interrupt essential services that are needed even more during the pandemic and you keep people employed and earning a decent wage.”

From the Catholic perspective, it is better to keep people working and protect their dignity than to have them unemployed, Msgr. Sullivan said.

The loans also cushioned the blow from lost donations, he said. “April, May and June are big fundraising months for all nonprofits. When the events we canceled, we lost millions of dollars in revenue we were counting on.”

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