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TAKE ACTION to protect unhoused folks during the COVID-19 outbreak

Written by admin on . Posted in Uncategorized

We applaud Congress for passing the Families First CoronaVirus Response Act, which will provide immediate paid sick leave and paid family leave to millions of people, expanded unemployment insurance, vital nutrition aid, more Medicaid funds for states, and free COVID-19 testing.

Image by Western Regional Advocacy Project

Image by Western Regional Advocacy Project

But they left out critical resources for people experiencing homelessness!!

Our unhoused neighbors are more likely to have underlying health conditions, use spaces with congregate settings (public transportation, shelters, soup kitchens), have already diminished life-expectancy, have limited ability to follow public health advice, or suffer from stigma and discrimination in accessing basic services. (Read more in the National Health Care for the Homeless Council‘s issue brief)

It is imperative that services, medical care, resources, and support for people experiencing homelessness is included in any further Federal Coronavirus response. 

We are all in this together – we must act now! 

We are asking for lawmakers to:

  1. Provide $15.5 billion specifically targeted to people who are currently homeless. This should include language that adds “medical respite care” services into allowable/prioritized uses for emergency CoC funding.  

  2. Cancel the 2020 NOFA: Direct HUD to automatically renew Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance Funding in 2020 to programs that were recently renewed through the 2019 renewal process, as currently allowed in the HEARTH Act, so long as the Continuum of Care Entity documents that a) there is a continuing demonstrated need for the project and b) that the project continues to comply with CoC program requirements.  Use the 2020 CoC NOFA process to competitively award only additionally appropriated funding for New Projects to meet the needs of those currently on the streets, in shelters, or the newly homeless.

  3. Require HUD to increase flexibility to allow communities to utilize CoC Homeless Assistance Funding to meet local needs and local priorities.

  4. Call for a moratorium on all homeless encampments sweeps during the pandemic. The CDC has released guidelines saying encampments should not be displaced unless housing is available

  5. Provide $50 Billion of new funding for expansion of Low Income Housing Tax Credits targeted to housing for homeless families and individuals, expansion of the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and expansion of Project Based Section 8 funding for permanent supportive housing and housing for families experiencing homelessness.

These demands are absolutely imperative to the safety, wellbeing, and care of people experiencing homelessness, and we cannot wait. Contact your Legislator below!