Funds have been regranted to 52 organizations in 27 states to support people who are homeless or unstably housed
Washington, DC - The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) received one-time foundation funding totaling $3,500,000 to regrant in support of efforts by our partners throughout the country working to meet the immediate COVID-19-related needs of people who are homeless or on the brink.
People experiencing homeless – many of whom are seniors and/or people with disabilities and underlying medical conditions - are at extreme risk to COVID-19, living in crowded shelters or other unsheltered congregate settings, unable to isolate, quarantine or recovery. To date, at least 25 homeless shelters have had to significantly curtail their services or completely close due to a lack of resources and other challenges. Without at least $11.5 billion in additional funding for Emergency Solutions Grants to address the needs of people in shelters or out in the streets, researchers estimate that more 20,000 people who are homeless could require hospitalization and an estimated 3,500 people could die. Extremely low-income renters – particularly people of color – are also at severe risk of eviction and homelessness and COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death as their incomes decline due to job loss or reduced hours. They are in need of emergency rental assistance to stay in their homes.
Within days of circulating a request for proposals, NLIHC received double the amount available in grant requests, exemplifying the extraordinary and urgent needs, which were already extremely high before the pandemic. Within a week, NLIHC provided grants to fifty-two organizations in 27 states. These grant resources will help fill the perilous gap in time before federal funding from the CARES Act begins to reach them. The funds will support people who are homeless or unstably housed in major metro areas such as Silicon Valley, New Orleans, Detroit, Las Vegas, and Chicago, and in rural areas in Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Alaska, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Pine Ridge Reservation, and beyond. The funding is supporting organizations working statewide to quickly get people who are homeless into hotels in Ohio, Connecticut, Utah, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Washington, New Jersey, and Minnesota, and into new makeshift shelters on Cheyenne River Reservation. The funds are also supporting: public housing residents responding to urgent and immediate needs of their neighbors in Virginia and Pittsburgh, PA; the continuation of a network of street papers throughout the country; the cultivation of first-person videos of people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic; and the longer-term education and research needed to achieve federal, state and local policies for an equitable response and recovery in California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, Indiana, Idaho, Washington, DC, and beyond.
“It's been heartening and tremendously impressive to see all the ways our partners and members are stepping into this challenging time with extraordinary determination, courage, and resourcefulness,” said Diane Yentel NLIHC president and CEO. “While there’s so much more work to do, each of the organizations we’ve regranted to – and so many more organizations throughout the country – are doing essential work that is saving the lives of some of our country’s most vulnerable and marginalized people.”
“Georgia ACT is extremely grateful to receive funding to support those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Georgia,” said Bambie Hayes-Brown Georgia ACT president and CEO and NLIHC board member. “According to Georgia State's Labor Commissioner, 1 in 10 Georgians have filed for unemployment: almost 1 million people. These unprecedented unemployment numbers along with the housing affordability challenges that many Georgians faced pre-pandemic, has exacerbated the urgent housing needs for low-income households. The funding allows Georgia ACT to promote favorable COVID-19 affordable housing policy, train grassroots organizations and individuals on how to advocate for increased COVID-19 financial resources and support local municipalities on efforts to secure federal resources that will assist the low-income individuals. The funds will provide direct rental and/or mortgage assistance for individuals experiencing homelessness, those who are in extended stay hotels (who have little to no tenant rights in Georgia), those residing in unsubsidized/non-federally backed housing, and naturally-occurring affordable housing throughout Georgia whose incomes are adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is our hope that these funds will serve as a catalyst for more foundations, state and federal elected officials to allocate substantial financial relief to eliminate housing instability for Georgians.”
“The CARES Act provided much-needed resources for residents to maintain their current housing over the next 120 days,” said Carol Hardeman Hill District Consensus Group (HDCG) co-director. “However, more is needed to address the underlying affordable housing crisis that plagues Pennsylvania residents who were searching for policy changes that ensured everyone had access to affordable housing before the COVID-19 pandemic. Low- and moderate-income tenants in Pennsylvania and across the country are in need of a short- and long-term eviction displacement diversion program that will give them the resources to work through mutually beneficial agreements with their landlords to avoid eviction judgments and displacement. Tenants are also looking for tools and education that will help them navigate through this economic crisis with minimal disruption to their housing stability and mental state. HDCG looks forward to using these funds to organize these resources and do our part to encourage equitable housing recovery after this pandemic.”
“In Minnesota, even before the impact of COVID-19, there was a pressing need to address the urgent economic challenges of marginalized communities in Minnesota, specifically rural, tribal, and undocumented residents, said Anne Mavity Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP) executive director. “With this grant, MHP can quickly begin to help families who may not have qualified for state rental assistance to maintain their housing. This is a critical time for thousands of Minnesotans and millions of people across the country. We are thrilled that MHP can contribute to alleviating the current economic crisis through grant support that can help people who were on the brink of homelessness avoid going over that cliff.”
“Nevadans are in urgent need of emergency assistance and this grant will provide them with the help they need to start to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Bill Brewer Nevada Rural Housing Authority (NRHA) executive director. “Millions of people around the world have had to “shelter-in-place” because of COVID-19. But what if your shelter was unstable or what if you were part of the 93% of renters in Nevada with extremely low incomes who are considered housing-cost burdened—households that spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs? Sheltering in place is extremely difficult when you have to choose between paying for food or rent. NRHA is looking forward to using this grant to alleviate some of the financial burdens and difficult choices many low-income Nevadans are currently facing. The money will be put towards doubling the size of the current Emergency Assistance Program to provide financial assistance to residents that are falling behind on their rent, mortgage or utilities due to a loss or reduction in income. It will expand the scope of services to include financial support for residents in need of food and household supplies. We are honored to do what we can to enhance the quality of life in rural Nevada during this pandemic.”
“The Oglala Sioux Tribe Partnership for Housing is truly grateful to receive this much-needed grant at a time when the Oglala Sioux Tribe and other non-profit entities are working together to prevent the virus from spreading on our reservation,” said Emma “Pinky” Clifford Oglala Sioux Tribe Partnership for Housing, Inc. executive director and NLIHC board member. “Caring for our homeless in already overcrowded conditions is truly challenging. Obtaining food supplies to prevent hunger, supplies for health and hygiene and continuing essential housing services will be assuring to us by supporting our work.”
Philanthropy plays a critical role in this challenging time, but only the federal government can respond adequately to the magnitude of need throughout the country. NLIHC is calling on Congress to do more by passing another $11.5 billion in Emergency Solutions Grants to protect and house people experiencing homelessness, at least $100 billion in rental assistance to assist low-income renters and small landlords, and a uniform and complete moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. Additionally, emergency funds for public housing and other HUD housing providers are needed, and a major investment in repairing and building affordable homes throughout the country. Any forthcoming stimulus package must include this funding to slow the trajectory and speed of the pandemic and ensure an equitable and just recovery.
Read more about NLIHC’s recommendations to Congress and resources and protections needed for housing and homeless service providers during COVID-19 at: https://nlihc.org/coronavirus-and-housing-homelessness
About NLIHC: Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, the National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that ensures people with the lowest income in the United States have affordable and decent homes.