NLIHC’s Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC) hosted a webinar, “Non-Congregate Sheltering During the Pandemic: Using New FEMA Policy to Save Lives,” co-sponsored by the National Alliance to End Homelessness and the National League of Cities. Presenters included Ann Oliva, visiting fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Jason Elliott, senior advisor to California Governor Gavin Newsom; Joy Moses, director of the Homeless Research Institute at the National Alliance to End Homelessness; Germán Parodi and Shaylin Sluzalis, co-executive directors of the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies; and Andreanecia Morris, executive director of Housing NOLA.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, homelessness and housing advocates have pushed for the use of FEMA-reimbursed government funds to shelter unhoused individuals and residents of congregate living facilities in hotel rooms and other non-congregate shelter. Unhoused individuals and individuals with disabilities are at particular risk from the virus and many reside in facilities that make stopping infection difficult. With recent news that FEMA will increase the percentage of reimbursements it provides, advocates around the country are working to further non-congregate sheltering programs.
The webinar, held just over one year after the first COVID-19 emergency declaration, covered a wide range of issues in regard to non-congregate sheltering. These included best practices learned when quickly establishing California’s Project Roomkey sheltering program, providing access to this important sheltering type for residents of long-term care facilities, and ways to push for the establishment of non-congregate shelters in areas with none. Webinar panelists urged more areas of the country to utilize this program and recommended that officials and advocates not allow outstanding questions on the programs’ conclusion prevent these safe shelters from being established in the present.
Watch a recording of the webinar at: https://bit.ly/3bUW6oa
Sign up for DHRC disaster recovery updates at: https://bit.ly/3bQDpCi