Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) proposed on April 7 an interim spending bill that would provide an additional $250 billion for the new Paycheck Protection Program established in the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.” In response, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) unveiled a proposal for an expanded interim coronavirus spending package on April 8. Neither proposal included additional funding to address the urgent needs of people experiencing homelessness and low-income renters.
People experiencing homelessness are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus infection and are twice as likely to need hospitalization, two to four times as likely to require critical care, and two to three times as likely to die as a result of the illness than others in the general public. Funds are needed to minimize the number of people living in homeless encampments and congregate shelters and to identify alternative spaces, including hotels, for isolation and self-quarantine. Funds are also needed to provide medical respite care, outreach, and street medicine to people experiencing homelessness. The last coronavirus relief package provided $4 billion in needed funding, but research shows that at least $11.5 billion more is urgently needed to adequately address the needs of people experiencing homelessness.
Congress must also protect low-income renters by instituting a national, uniform moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, and by providing $100 billion for an emergency rental assistance and eviction prevention fund. This assistance would help ensure renters do not fall of a financial cliff once eviction moratoria are lifted and would ensure the continued viability of the nation’s affordable housing infrastructure.
Thanks to efforts from advocates around the country, the CARES Act included $12 billion for HUD programs, including those addressing low-income housing and homelessness, but far more resources are needed. NLIHC and the Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC) call on advocates to contact their representatives and senators today to urge them to address the housing and health needs of America’s lowest-income renters and people experiencing homelessness who are at the greatest risk in the coronavirus pandemic.
Read NLIHC and DHRC’s recommendations to Congress at: https://bit.ly/2XpNSO6
Read Senate Minority Leader Schumer and House Speaker Pelosi’s proposal at: https://cnb.cx/2RrZigF
Contact your representative and senators at: https://sforce.co/3c9xyoH