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Your vote matters

Written by admin on . Posted in Blog, News

We are now only a matter of days away from the November 3rd general election. While registration deadlines have passed in many states, there are still places where you can register in person, and possibly even cast a provisional ballot on election day. There is lots coming out in the news about polling locations, voter suppression tactics, and last minute candidate education efforts. We wanted to be sure that people with unstable housing, and their advocates, have the latest information to ensure that all residents of the country can exercise their right to vote!

We are thrilled to share these state-by-state voting Know-Your-Rights cards that include information directed specifically towards voters who may not have a permanent address. 

While registration deadlines have passed in most states, you still have time to register, in person, in CO, DC, HI, ID, ME, MD, MI, MN, MT, NH, NM, NC, ND, UT, VT, WA, WI, WY; many of which allow same day registration on election day or during early voting periods. Click here to find the latest ID and address guidelines for registering to vote and casting a ballot in your state. You can also find more about mail-in ballot options here

There are reports from communities across the country that voters are being given misinformation in order to suppress or discount their votes. Our Know-Your-Rights cards list state and local election websites. If you are ever in doubt, or have questions about voting, your local government-run elections board or office can always help you out. We also encourage you to contact 1-866-OUR-VOTE, especially if you feel you are being wrongly turned away from voting at the polls. This a well respected and accessible hotline, staffed by lawyers who can directly assist you with casting your ballot. 

Read more about how communities are ensuring those with unstable housing are voting this year below, and Get Out the UnHoused Vote!

Articles:
How Do You Vote In Kansas City When You Don’t Have An Address?
Voting is a challenge for the homeless. Advocates are trying to make it easier.
Community leaders help people experiencing homelessness vote
Voting Is a Right. But for People Experiencing Homelessness, It’s Especially Difficult.

Eviction during a Pandemic: Hope or Hopelessness?

Written by admin on . Posted in Blog, News

by Kelvin Lassiter

Evictions are more complicated than just the actual meaning. At its root cause, we may be able to list job loss, medical issues, and loss of spouse/domestic violence as examples that are at the surface. It’s bigger than someone failing to fulfill their obligation in exchange for not being on the street.

Estimated numbers of people at risk of eviction are staggering; 30 to 40 million in the next several months are at risk for becoming housing insecure according to the Aspen Institute. 

There are 3 things currently standing in the way of mass displacement due to eviction:

  • CDC moratorium
  • Local moratorium
  • Legal Aid and rental assistance 

On September 2, 2020, The Center for Disease Control Director Dr. Robert Redfield signed a declaration determining that the evictions of tenants could be detrimental to public health. This action was instrumental since the CARES Act moratorium expired in late July.

Some city and state governments issued eviction prevention moratoriums at the beginning of the public health emergency which have since expired.

Three main reasons why tenants are still being evicted from their homes:

  • Landlord intimidation of tenants
  • Tenants not aware of their rights as renters
  • Lack of legal representation in court 

Landlords have taken measures into their own hands during this public health crisis. While they depend on payments for survival, boarding up doors, shutting of utilities, and filing for eviction with the courts does not make a tenant speed up their ability to pay rent. The fine print on a lease may become a challenge to understand and it’s a tool used by management companies to evict.

What can be done to protect the American People?

A fifth coronavirus package to protect the American people, extending the CDC moratorium beyond December is pivotal in blocking the wave of evictions. An executive order by local, and state governments can potentially protect certain groups of Americans from evictions such as the elderly, and domestic violence survivors.

There are benefits for families to stay in their homes. Kids are able to focus in school and decrease the chance of suffering from lack of rest and food insecurity. Prevention of long term mental instability is also a plus.

Should we have hope in that a piece meal approach that has slowed down what’s inevitable? Or will people remain hopeless in the lack of assistance to help Americans sustain their quality of life?

Make no mistake, the United States will face a housing crisis not seen since the great depression regarding housing insecurity. Most moratoriums put in place at the beginning of the pandemic have expired causing massive amounts of eviction filings by landlords.

What will happen if the CDC moratorium on evictions is not extended past December 2020? The jury is still out on that answer, however, the American people must have a say, and challenge our elected officials to do what they were elected to do, legislate. 

Available resources:

Donald Whitehead Jr. Named Executive Director of NCH

Written by admin on . Posted in Blog, News, Press Releases

Donald WhiteheadThe Board of Directors of the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) announced today that it has hired Donald H. Whitehead Jr. as its new Executive Director. Mr. Whitehead brings more than 20 years of experience in serving and advocating for persons experiencing homelessness to NCH, including five years experiencing homelessness himself. “At a time that our nation is experiencing record homelessness, a rise of COVID-19 infection among those experiencing homelessness, and a rising movement for racial and economic justice that calls to account decades of institutional racism that contributes to the disproportionate over-representation of people of color on our streets, we are extremely proud that the oldest national organization focused on ending homelessness in our country is now being led by Black man who has himself experienced and overcame homelessness and addiction.” said John Parvensky, outgoing NCH Director. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to help elevate the voices of those experiencing homelessness so that our country can address the intersection of racial justice and housing justice, and finally completes the unfinished business of the civil rights movement”, said Donald H. Whitehead Jr.” Whitehead, who has served as the NCH Board President for the past year, will give up that role to devote his full-time effort as Executive Director.  Previously, Whitehead has directed several programs serving people experiencing homeless including outreach and case management, health care, emergency shelter and permanent supportive housing.  He has also served as a national advocate and an Organizational Management Consultant focused on homelessness and racial equity.  He brings a unique combination of direct service to those experiencing homelessness as well as years of advocacy for systemic change to end homelessness through increased federal investment in housing and services as well as an end to policies that criminalize homelessness.  Whitehead is also a veteran who served three years in the U.S. Navy. The National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH), founded in 1981, is the oldest national organization focused on ending homelessness in America.  It is a national network of people currently experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, activists and advocates, community-based and faith-based service providers, and others committed to their mission of: To end and prevent homelessness while ensuring the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness are met and their civil rights protected. Over the last 38 years through advocacy efforts addressing the root causes of homelessness including lack of affordable housing, and partnering to write landmark legislation including the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987. The hiring of Whitehead to lead NCH was made possible by an anonymous two-year capacity building grant. Sue Watlov Phillips will become Board President of NCH.  Watlov Phillips has worked together with people experiencing homelessness by addressing both the immediate needs and structural causes of homelessness for over 52 years and currently serves as Executive Director of MICAH – Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing in Minnesota. Dr. Rajni Shankar-Brown serves as Board Secretary of NCH.  Shankar-Brown is an internationally renowned scholar-educator and social justice activist in education, is a leading expert on child and family homelessness, diversity and transformative leadership, community engagement and human rights. Dr. Shankar-Brown is a professor and the Jessie Ball duPont Endowed Chair of Social Justice Education at Stetson University, as well as the Founder and Executive Director of the Poverty and Homelessness Conference. Barbara Anderson serves as Board Treasurer of NCH.  Anderson served for 24 years as Executive Director of Haven House, an emergency shelter and service center for families and individuals experiencing homelessness in rural Indiana.  She is currently devoting her time full time to advocacy and organizing on behalf of those experiencing homelessness in rural communities. In 2019, NCH entered into a strategic alliance with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH)  to leverage the strengths of each organization towards a renewed focus on elevating the crisis of homelessness being experienced in communities across America and increasing organizing and advocacy for immediate action at the Federal level to end homelessness and reduce its trauma on the millions of individuals and families experiencing homelessness and those at imminent risk of losing their homes. The agreement allowed NCH to build its capacity to focus on its strength of bringing together those experiencing homelessness to share their experiences with our nation’s leaders in a call for immediate action to end homelessness.  The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless will continue to provide its administrative, financial and policy capacity to support NCH’s renewed efforts as Whitehead assumes his new position.

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