NLIHC and its Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC) are hosting weekly national calls on COVID-19, homelessness, and housing every Monday afternoon. The next call is today (March 23), 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. ET. Register for the call at: https://bit.ly/3b5PyzP
NLIHC is also maintaining a COVID-19/Housing and Homelessness News and Resource page here.
NLIHC and the DHRC will continue to advocate for an array of federal resources and protections for people experiencing homelessness and low-income renters, including emergency rental assistance and eviction prevention assistance, a national moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, and emergency funds for homelessness service providers, housing authorities, and housing providers, among others. See the DHRC’s full list of policy recommendations, which will continue to be expanded and refined.
Additional Updates on Congress
The New Democrat Coalition released a set of recommendations for coronavirus response and economic recovery that included more money for Emergency Solutions Grants for shelter providers, an increase to the Housing Choice Voucher Program, and more. The DHRC has been championing many of these measures.
House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance Ranking Member Steve Stivers (OH-R) sent letters to the largest public housing authorities urging them to implement policies assisting vulnerable residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) sent a letter to the president urging the administration to provide immediate relief to individuals experiencing homelessness amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Additional Federal Guidance
The National Center for Biotechnology Information released “Homelessness and the Response to Emerging Infectious Disease Outbreaks: Lessons from SARS”
Mother Jones interviewed NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on individuals experiencing homelessness and the shelters that serve them.
US News and World Report covered last week’s DHRC conference call on the pandemic, homelessness and housing, detailing the challenges individuals experiencing homelessness and housing-insecure renters will experience during the pandemic.
The Associate Press released an analysis showing that the vast majority of renters in the U.S. would not be assisted by HUD’s decision to pause evictions and foreclosures for a 60-day period.
Vox covered the threat to individuals experiencing homelessness posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The New York Times covered the ongoing struggle to head off evictions due to the pandemic at the federal, state, and local levels.
An article from the Brookings Institution covered ways people experiencing homelessness and individuals living in substandard or unaffordable housing are uniquely susceptible to the epidemic.
Additional Advocacy Efforts
The Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice released a series of requests regarding the Coronavirus/COVID-19 stimulus bill, including increased homeless assistance funding and a halt on evictions and foreclosures.
The Housing Assistance Council released a letter calling for a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for USDA Sec. 502 housing.
The Center for American Progress released a blog article calling for increased assistance for homeless individuals and families during the pandemic.
An individual experiencing homelessness in Silicon Valley died from COVID-19, the first confirmed death from the virus of a someone experiencing homelessness.
California Governor Gavin Newsom did not issue a statewide eviction ban but encouraged municipalities to do so. The governor also authorized $150 million in state funds to protect people experiencing homelessness from COVID-19.
The Supreme Court of Virginia declared a judicial emergency and suspended evictions during the pandemic.
The Shriver Center on Poverty Law sent a letter to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker outlining actions needed to protect vulnerable communities from the impacts of the pandemic.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb ordered a pause on tenant evictions, among other measures.
The Missouri judiciary announced a temporary ban on home evictions.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced that she would be banning evictions and foreclosures until May 1.
The Minnesota judiciary has defined both foreclosures and evictions as “low priority cases” to be paused.
The Nevada Human Rights Coalition called for a statewide moratorium on evictions in that state.
Lawmakers approved a 90-day ban on eviction proceedings in the state.
Activists are pushing for a statewide eviction ban in Ohio.
The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission announced a prohibition on residential utility terminations for the duration of the emergency declaration announced by the governor.
The South Carolina judiciary announced a pause on all evictions and foreclosures.
Homeless shelters in Sioux Falls are already overcrowded and struggling to meet CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Texas judiciary has paused all evictions.
DHRC member and NLIHC state partner Texas Housers released a statement on COVID-19 preparedness and protections for Texas.
The Utah Housing Coalition, an NLIHC state partner, is calling for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures in Utah.
The Virginia judiciary paused all non-emergency legal proceedings.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee paused all evictions.
The closed downtown Spokane library may be used as a homeless shelter during the COVID-19 outbreak.
NLIHC provides an updated list of local eviction and foreclosure moratoriums here.
Homeless service organizations in Baltimore are working on surmounting the daunting challenges of caring for the homeless during the pandemic.
Baltimore City announced it would be taking over the Pinderhughes homeless shelter
Boston will be setting up tents for potential homeless COVID-19 cases.
Hartford CT officials are offering quarantine sites for individuals experiencing homelessness with COVID-19.
People experiencing homelessness in LA are adjusting as the city’s shelter-in-place order has closed off access to many places utilized by people experiencing homelessness, such as libraries.
In Miami-Dade County, workers have been setting up handwashing stations and distributing hand sanitizer for people experiencing homelessness. Ron Book, chairman of the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust, said: “We would urge the public do not, do not put spare change in homeless panhandlers' buckets, cups and hats right now. You endanger yourself. . . you are not staying the proper social distancing.”
New York City
Seven New York City homeless shelter residents have now tested positive for coronavirus, a Department of Social Services spokesperson says.
Organizations in Pittsburgh are scrambling to meet the challenges the homeless community faces during the pandemic.