February 26, 2024

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted drastic policy changes across the United States, including measures like banning utility shut-offs and evictions, car-free streets, and increased unemployment benefits. These progressive changes had significant positive impacts, but many emergency interventions are set to disappear once the pandemic ends. Some notable policy experiments that emerged from the pandemic include housing reform, prison reform, and experiments designed to make the internet more accessible in order to reduce inequalities. While some measures have been successful and aided vulnerable populations, there are concerns that without continued political will, the US may revert to its previous status quo. Despite this, policy experts are eager to build off the momentum created by the successes witnessed during the pandemic. For example, proposals were made to create a long-term supportive housing model, and efforts are being made to explore healthcare needs facing the homeless. Additionally, activists and lawmakers are pushing for broadband legislation and an $80 billion investment to build a new high-speed infrastructure in the hopes of ending the digital divide. The challenge now is to maintain progress and hold American leaders accountable for their pledges to “Build Back Better.” It is essential to communicate the accomplishments and effects of these policy changes.

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