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Posts Tagged ‘Racial Equity’

Black Lives Matter

Written by admin on . Posted in Blog

Our Nation and the World are fearful of the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our hearts go out to George Floyd, his loved ones and all of us who are hurting right now. The massive protests that are taking place across the globe, are revealing years of pent-up frustration with racism and inequality. The militarization of policing in the United States and the repeated acts of violence against people of color by the police, creates a combustible threat—one that strikes at the very foundations of our democracy.

NCH stands in solidarity with those in America who are not satisfied with a society that fails to denounce the structural racism that plagues our nation.  As many of us watched in horror as George Floyd was murdered right in front of our eyes, or Ahmaud Arbery, who was hunted down and murdered on video, or Breonna Taylor who was shot and killed in her own home, we are reminded of many more precious lives taken by the hands of law enforcement – those who are trusted to protect us.

Repeatedly, we hear anguished cries as one more black or brown person takes their last breath, too soon. We are reminded of the reality that until we address structural racism in this country, these horrendous images will continue as nightmares in a never-ending loop.

As we battle multiple crises, the COVID-19 pandemic, the senseless death of yet another black man at the hands of law enforcement, and an attack on our civil liberties, we pray for everyone’s safety and health. We must remain vigilant stewards in hopes of an America and World filled with peace, equality, and justice for all.

Donald Whitehead
Board President
National Coalition for the Homeless

Let’s not return to business as usual

Written by admin on . Posted in Blog

The National Coalition for the Homeless applauds all the communities that are rushing to provide desperately needed housing for people who are unhoused, and especially vulnerable to contracting and succumbing to COVID-19. 

However, we are, quite frankly, disturbed that so many are still relying on congregate settings: big tents and open floor warehousing of people, in what is clearly a dire public health emergency for the entire country. In the hopes of relieving the strain on other overcrowded shelters, the San Diego government decided to open the convention center to the homeless population. They are expecting to house over 1,500 people during this crisis. San Francisco ignored early warnings from advocates and requests to place vulnerable folks in empty hotel rooms, and now residents and staff of shelters are falling ill. This is unacceptable. We are clearly failing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in both sheltered, and unsheltered, populations, and in direct opposition to clear guidelines given by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). 

Researchers who have long studied homelessness have projected that homeless individuals infected by COVID-19 would be 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 the general population. (Read the full report)

This crisis continues to highlight the structural inequities that have plagued us for decades, causing mass homelessness since the defunding of Federal affordable housing programs starting in the 1970’s. 

We call on Congress to respond swiftly with the following: 

  • 11.5 billion for ESG (15 bil based on this study, minus the $4bil in the CARES Act) 
  • 4 billion for fair elections (based on this information
  • Emergency rental assistance for all tenants, including rural renters
  • Extend moratoria on evictions to all renters, extend sunset date to 3 months after stay-at-home orders are lifted, and do not require all back rent paid when moratorium lifts 
  • Extend health care for uninsured/underinsured 
  • Extend funding for hotel/motel space for people who do not have a permanent home
  • Facilitate transfer of unused/vacant housing to families who are unhoused 
  • Increase food assistance through the SNAP program

Further, we call on HUD either to automatically renew all FY 19 funded COC projects, or greatly simplify the renewal process. Our service providers are using all their capacity to ensure their unhoused community members are safe, we don’t need a lengthy application process during this public health crisis!

But again, let’s be clear, homelessness has been a public health emergency for over 4 decades!!

We stand in solidarity with our neighbors who are calling to #CancelTheRent. They know so well that the over 22 million Americans who have filed for unemployment, plus the up to 140 million Americans who were already on the edge before the coronavirus appeared, are in danger of becoming homeless. 

We stand in solidarity with all those who have been left out of the Federal relief responses thus far, our poorest and most vulnerable neighbors. As Rev. Dr. William Barber puts it, “The virus is teaching us that from now on, living wages, guaranteed health care for all,unemployment and labor rights are not far left issues, but issues of right vs wrong, life vs death.”

We must work to correct the long-standing and systemic causes of housing, income, health and further racial inequities. When the emergency of Coronavirus infection has passed, we do not want to return to normal. We should all hope to see a new normal emerging where we and all of our neighbors have safe, affordable and accessible housing; adequate wages to cover our living expenses, adequate and affordable health care, and where our civil and human rights are equally defended and protected.

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