The ‘‘Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act” – unveiled by House Democratic leaders on May 12 – includes NLIHC’s top priorities for any future coronavirus relief package.
The resources and protections included in the HEROES Act build on the successes advocates achieved in the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act” enacted on March 27, 2020. These priorities must be included in the next coronavirus relief package to address the urgent needs of people who are experiencing homelessness and individuals on the brink of homelessness.
Access to healthcare, housing, food assistance and other services provided in response to the coronavirus should be available to everyone, regardless of income, immigration status, involvement with the criminal justice system, or insurance.
Most Urgent Needs
The next coronavirus spending package must include:
- Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG): At least $11.5 billion. Congress must provide an additional $11.5 billion – as included in the HEROES Act – to respond to and prevent outbreaks among people experiencing homelessness. People who are homeless and contract coronavirus are twice as likely to be hospitalized, two to four times as likely to require critical care, and two to three times as likely to die than others in the general public. If unchecked, as many as 20,000 people who are homeless could require hospitalization and nearly 3,500 could die. This has enormous implications for individuals, their communities, and our already overstretched hospital systems. Funds are needed to minimize the number of people living in homeless encampments and congregate shelters and identify alternative space, including hotels, for isolation and self-quarantine, as well as funding for short-term rental assistance and housing stabilization services. ESG funds should also be used to provide medical respite care, outreach, and street medicine for people experiencing homelessness.
- A national, uniform moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. Congress should enact the uniform, 12-month eviction and foreclosure moratorium policy included in the HEROES Act to protect all renters and homeowners at a time when our collective health depends on each of us staying home. In the CARES Act, Congress instituted a shorter, temporary moratorium for only some renters and homeowners in federally subsidized housing. NLIHC created a searchable database and map to help renters determine whether they are protected under the CARES Act, but these tools are not complete because not all data is publicly available. States and localities have also instituted their own eviction and foreclosure moratoriums, creating a patchwork of responses that provides relief to only some and creates confusion for all.
- Emergency rental assistance and eviction prevention: At least $100 billion. Any coronavirus relief package should include the “Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act,” as provided in the HEROES Act. This legislation was introduced by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Representatives Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Denny Heck (D-WA), along with 135 original House cosponsors and 29 original Senate cosponsors. Emergency rental assistance is needed to avoid creating a financial cliff for renters will fall off of when eviction moratoria are lifted and back-rent is owed, and to ensure the continued viability of our country’s essential affordable housing infrastructure.
- Research from NLIHC estimates $100 billion is needed to prevent evictions and homelessness through emergency rental assistance.
- Support letter from industry groups, including CCIM Institute, Council for Affordable and Rural Housing, Institute of Real Estate Management, Institute for Responsible Housing Preservation, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Affordable Housing Management Association, National Apartment Association, National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Housing Cooperatives, National Association of REALTORS, National Leased Housing Association, and the National Multifamily Housing Council;
- Support letters from state and local government officials and agencies, including National Council of State Housing Agencies and nearly 40 local mayors and government officials;
- Support letter from 32 national advocacy organizations, including NLIHC, National Alliance to End Homelessness, Bipartisan Policy Center Action, Up for Growth Action, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Hispanic Federation, Heartland Alliance, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, LISC, UNITE HERE International Union, The Arc of the United States, and Funders Together to End Homelessness, among others; and
- Support letter from cross-sector leaders in the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign, including Catholic Charities USA, Children’s Defense Fund, Children’s HealthWatch, Food Research & Action Center, Just Leadership USA, NAACP, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Association of Community Health Centers, National Association of Social Workers, National Education Association, National League of Cities, National LGBTQ Task Force, National Women’s Law Center, UnidosUS and others.
- Additional Funding for Housing Stability: $13 billion. The HEROES Act provides $13 billion for public housing agencies, HUD and USDA housing providers, and tribal housing authorities to help keep residents safe and healthy during this crisis, and to issue 100,000 new emergency Housing Choice Vouchers. These funds should be included in the next coronavirus relief package.
Priorities for A Coronavirus Economic Stimulus Package
Congress should include in any economic stimulus package the long-term solutions needed to address the underlying causes of homelessness and housing instability that also increase the risk of future outbreaks. Read NLIHC’s policy recommendations here.
For more information, contact NLIHC Vice President of Public Policy, Sarah Saadian at [email protected].