President Trump signed into law on March 18 the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (H.R.6201), a multibillion-dollar emergency assistance package to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The bill, which passed out of the Senate on a 90-8 vote the same day, contains much-needed assistance for households thrown into economic turmoil by the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic but does not include critically important housing assistance for low-income renters or assistance for people experiencing homelessness.
Members of Congress are working to finalize a third supplemental package as soon as possible. It is essential that advocates continue to call their representatives and senators to urge them to include resources to address the housing and health needs of low-income renters and people experiencing homelessness in the next coronavirus stimulus package. People living without shelter are at a particularly elevated risk of coronavirus outbreak and have limited access to the preventative measures being recommended, including handwashing, home isolation, avoiding high touch surfaces, and accessing healthcare. Many low-income renters and people experiencing homelessness are seniors, and many have underlying health conditions, both of which make them at high risk if they become ill from COVID-19.
In a statement, NLIHC president and CEO Diane Yentel stressed the necessity of including resources for low-income people and people experiencing homelessness in any comprehensive supplemental package. “Providing resources to protect against an outbreak of coronavirus among people who are homeless is not only a moral imperative; it’s an urgent public health necessity,” said Yentel. “The very least our country must do during a national health emergency, particularly when our collective protection against the spread of the illness depends on our ability to self-quarantine at home, is ensure that we house the lowest-income and most vulnerable people.”
NLIHC’s Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC) released a set of recommendations for Congress to include in any comprehensive response to coronavirus. These recommendations will be updated as the outbreak continues and the needs of low-income people and people experiencing homelessness evolve.
The DHRC will also be hosting a weekly national call on the coronavirus and homelessness/housing on Mondays at 2:30 p.m. EST. Housing and homelessness advocates across the country will discuss how federal, state, and local governments and nonprofits are responding to the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on low-income households and people experiencing homelessness. The next call will be held today (March 23) at 2:30 p.m. EST. Register for the call here.
Learn more about the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” at: https://bit.ly/2xcJjLT
Read Diane Yentel’s statement at: https://bit.ly/2QyWEVU
Read the DHRC’s recommendations to Congress at: https://nlihc.org/responding-coronavirus
Register for today’s national call at: https://bit.ly/2Qu6hVD