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What happens when you give gig workers emergency cash?

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When gig workers received no-strings-attached emergency cash grants up to $1,000, they were able to get back to work quicker after an emergency, felt less stressed, and, in some instances, got on track toward new financial goals, like saving to be able to cover future emergency expenses.

Those findings come from a new study by The Workers Lab, an organization that funds experiments and innovations to build power for low-wage working people, and Commonwealth, a 501(c)(3) aimed at helping struggling Americans become financially secure. The study looked at the impact of the Workers Strength Fund, a pilot in which gig workers could receive one or more grants, totaling $1,000, over the course of 2019.

“The crux of [this pilot] is a sense that sometimes just solving the problem in a fast way, that signals trust and confidence in the person who’s in crisis, is something we haven’t really done so much in this country, either in the public safety net or in the context of the workplace,” says Timothy Flacke, cofounder and executive director of Commonwealth.

Over the year, 350 workers received grants, and almost all of them requested the full $1,000. The Workers Strength Fund gave out more than $345,000 total. Workers had to say what emergency the money was needed for, though no documentation of that emergency was required.

That $1,000 wasn’t enough to cover 54% of recipients’ emergencies—the average cost of the emergencies workers faced was $3,070—but it still made a big impact. The biggest emergency for which grants were requested was rent and utilities, with nearly 38% of funding requests. Auto-related expenses followed, with more than a quarter of all funding requests. Other categories included medical emergencies, moving costs, or school or work supplies.

Nearly two-thirds of the recipients surveyed said they were unable to work because of their cited emergency, and 75% of that group said they returned to work as a direct result of receiving funds. Though most recipients said they felt “an immediate increase in financial security” after receiving emergency cash, that feeling didn’t really last. A month after receiving the money, only 37% reported a continued increase in financial security; other workers were still in debt or faced additional struggles since the grants.

Still, nearly all recipients saw psychological benefits; 96% said the funds made them less stressed about their finances, and they almost universally reported feeling relief, gratitude, and happiness after receiving the grants. To Flacke, the fact that the grant process gave these workers agency over how, when, and for what to spend this money helped bolster that impact.

“I’m not sure we have fully mined what can be achieved when we cultivate and emphasize people’s own capabilities and agency,” he says. “The idea that simply saying you have the need, and we would then respond to that and deliver the cash, it effectively signaled that you knew what to do with the funds and you knew your own situation, and we were not terribly invested in trying to put you under the microscope.”

Governments, organizations, and mutual aid funds have been distributing emergency cash during the COVID-19 pandemic as millions of Americans face additional financial struggles. It may not be the right tool for every situation—and is not an all-encompassing fix for financial inequality in the United States—but Flacke says that current surge and this research shows there’s more work to be done in exploring emergency relief as a tool to support workers. The experiencing was overwhelmingly positive, and the idea that aid could make people feel both respected and bolstered—which Flacke says doesn’t seem to be the premise underlying most safety nets—is worth exploring further.

“There’s a good case to be made that wherever possible, you don’t want a safety net that just keeps people from falling, because then you’re right back where you were. We want to lean towards the safety net that helps people catapult up, the safety net as ladder,” he says. “And I don’t want to oversell; handing somebody $1,000 in cash in a crisis is not going to solve everything in their life. But around the margins, where that can send a message of trying to get you to a better place and believing in you as the way to do that, that’s a powerful thing.”



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Powderfinger reunion gig draws 350,000 live streams on weekend

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’s stunning One Night Lonely virtual gig on Saturday night drew 350,000 streams, according to guitarist Darren Middleton.

By the end of the 30-minute broadcast YouTube, the donations tally was $427,000. But donations kept rolling in, and at such a rate that it is expected it will reach $500,000.

The money will be shared by and the support service Beyond Blue.

Support Act CEO Clive Miller told TMN its $250,000 share would continue to support its efforts to provide crisis relief and to facilitate its wellbeing and mental health services.

He said more money was always needed: “We’re trying to manage things so we can provide support to people who need it over the rest of the year.

“Things change every day but it is looking clear that we’re not going to have a snap-back and get back to normal … not until the end of this year and probably the beginning of 2021.

“From Support Act’s point of view, we need the liquidity to provide support to people who are facing financial hardship all along the road.”

Powderfinger reunited with Bernard Fanning near Byron Bay, Darren Middleton in Melbourne, Jon Coghill on the Sunshine Coast and John Collins and Ian Haug in Brisbane.

Miller said of the stream, “The production values were incredible, so well done. It looked great, sounded great, and they wanted us wanting more – which is what every great band does.”

Fans hit social media to urge the band to extend their reunion – and increased speculation that Powderfinger will be headliners at the 100% Australian Falls Festival, and a tour will follow.

More money is being raised for Support Act. James Reyne will donate profits to its Roadie Fund from his Sunday, May 31 Red Hot Sundays live streaming session.

It will be the first of the sessions put together by the Red Hot Summer Tour.

The idea is to employ artists, venues, production teams, sound engineers, booking agents, ticketing agencies, managers, graphic designers, publicists and music media at a time when their income is near-nil.

The stream is free, but fans are encouraged to buy a “virtual ticket” from $10 to $100 or T-shirt.

Reyne said: “I’m excited to support this initiative – the invitation to play live and give our industry an opportunity to get back to work, was really appealing to me.”

Reyne will preview tracks from his next album, Toon Town Lullaby, out July 10 on Bloodlines.

The 3 pm AEST acoustic duo show from the front bar of the Corner Hotel in Melbourne and will be live-streamed on the Red Hot Summer Facebook page.

Miller said of the unexpected Reyne contribution, “Like so many people at the moment, there are so many in the music community who are looking around and want to help …

“Support Act is humbled by the incredible support and amazed by the talent, creativity and passion that so many artists are demonstrating at the moment.”

If you or someone you know requires help, please contact Support Act on 1800 959 500.



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Sal Capozucca, Rock Drummer with a Real Estate Gig, Dies at 65

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This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.

The Rousers, a rock band formed by a couple of high school buddies from Connecticut, once veered close to stardom when a young Madonna opened for them at Max’s Kansas City in 1981, right before that incubator of downtown Manhattan cool closed.

That same year, the band released a single, “Party Boy.” “Psychedelic rockabilly” is how the critic Robert Palmer of The New York Times described it.

After the release the band switched out their drummer for Sal King — born Salvatore Michael Capozucca — a handsome, powerful player with a sparkly 1960s-era Ludwig drum kit and a florid, swing-inspired style. Like his new bandmates, Tom Milmore, the lead guitarist, and Bill Dickson, the bass player, Sal had been playing since he was a child. In his case, since age 3, when an uncle gave him a drum set.

Fame may have eluded the band, yet as the decades wore on and their hair turned gray, the Rousers continued playing. They rehearsed every week and performed year round, though some years less than others as family responsibilities and day jobs demanded more of their time.

Mr. Capozucca — or Mr. Cappi, as he called himself at work — became a successful real estate broker, with a specialty in Brooklyn brownstones. He married his longtime girlfriend, Veronica Griffith, in 1983. She had spotted him across the dance floor at Club 82, a storied drag bar on East 4th Street, 11 years earlier. On that night, Mr. Capozucca — always a flashy dresser (David Bowie was his hero) — was peacocking in blue satin pants and a white satin scarf.

Mr. Capozucca died on May 13 at N.Y.U. Langone Health hospital in Manhattan where he had spent the last two months being treated for Covid-19, his wife said. He was 65.

Mr. Capozucca was born on April 28, 1955, in Brooklyn. His father, Tony Capozucca, was a salesman, his mother, Betty Jean (Gibbons) Capozucca, a legal secretary.

As a teenager, Sal played at proms, weddings and street festivals. He loved Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa, and made sure to work a drum solo into his performances. In addition to his wife, Mr. Capozucca is survived by his daughter, Victoria; his brother, John, and sister, Vera.

“Things happen for a reason,” Mr. Capozucca told The New York Times in 2017, in a story about a new New York City club scene for aging rockers and their arthritic fans (early sets!). “It wasn’t meant to be. That life, that rock ’n’ roll life, is a life of heavy partying. So being famous might have led to my early demise.”

In late February, the Rousers played a gig at Bowery Electric, with a set that featured songs like “Old Man Band,” a sendup of the Rousers’ demographic (sample lyric: “older and slower than we were before/you should listen as we rock some more”). They played so well, said Mr. Milmore, they surprised themselves. “Sal called me the next day and said, ‘What the hell happened to us? How come we were that good?’”

Less than a month later, Mr. Capozucca was hospitalized.

“The band was always a celebration of our friendship and our long time together,” said Mr. Milmore. “We were just brothers, and it was always about that before anything else. Of course, Sal was always mad we weren’t famous.”

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Unemployment assistance begins for Nevada’s independent contractors, gig workers | Carson City Nevada News

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CARSON CITY — Independent contractors and gig workers eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program can now begin filing weekly claims online, the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation announced Saturday.

The system began accepting PUA claims on Saturday, May 16, 2020 at www.employnv.gov. The first payments are expected to be made beginning Wednesday, May 27, 2020, according to a DETR news release.

Independent of the traditional Unemployment Insurance system, the PUA filing system is designed to provide streamlined filing for Nevada’s self-employed, 1099 contract workers, and gig workers, to connect with PUA benefits.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claimants can contact the call center for all PUA related questions at (800) 603-9681 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and Saturday between 8 a.m. and noon.

PUA claimants must also be able and available for work as defined in state law, must have prior earnings in Nevada or a job offer to work in Nevada and must not be eligible for any UI benefits, including regular UI, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, and State Extended Benefits.

“We have been working tirelessly to provide this essential functionality of the PUA filing process. We know there is a great deal of interest and demand for weekly filing and expect our call center and claims portal to be very busy today,” said DETR director, Heather Korbulic. “Staff will continue to work including the upcoming holiday to ensure this functionality is available for Nevadans.”

Claimants can view the newly-updated PUA Claimant Guide for information on the weekly filing process and access other helpful resources on the agency’s website at detr.nv.gov/pua.



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