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Bring America Home NOW Rally – Press Release

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For Immediate Release 

October 19, 2021

Contact:
National Organization for Women, NOW Press Team,  press@now.org 
National Coalition for the Homelessness, Donald Whitehead, dwhitehead@nationalhomeless.org 

October 20: Bring America Home NOW Rally & Press Conference 

National Organization for Women, National Coalition for the Homeless and End Homelessness Advocates Demand Investments to Solve Housing Inequality Crisis 

Washington, D.C. – The housing crisis in the United States has reached a critical point due to long-standing structural inequities compounded by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Congress debates President Biden’s “Build Back Better” Infrastructure Bill, advocates from across the affordable housing, women’s rights, and social justice movements have come together in an unprecedented coalition calling on Congress and President Biden to prioritize investments to solve this public housing crisis.  

The coalition, led by the National Organization for Women and the National Coalition for the Homeless, is urging Congress not to cut over $300 billion in much-needed funding for long-overdue renovations of severely dilapidated public housing, an expansion of over 500,000 units of affordable housing for low- income Americans, and the removal of toxic lead paint from public housing. As millions of Americans fall behind on their rents and mortgages, and with the imminent risk of evictions during freezing winter weather conditions, advocates are also urgently calling for an extension of the CDC moratorium on all evictions throughout the duration of the pandemic to avoid the needless tragedy of unhousing possibly millions of families, women, and children.

“Homelessness is a feminist issue that NOW’s activists are deeply invested in solving. We know numbers show that women – especially women of color – are disproportionately affected by homelessness,” stated Christian F. Nunes, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW).  “This issue is compounded by gender-based economic inequality, racial discrimination and the impacts of domestic and sexual violence, which contribute to women, children and families becoming the fastest-growing segments of the homeless population.”

 “America is the wealthiest country in the world, and we can easily afford to pay for the President’s bill, and therefore not cut the housing investments in the legislation. We must have the political will and emergency citizen advocacy to make this happen,“ said Donald Whitehead, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. “The majority of the American people, both Democrats and Republicans, support the President’s plan. Now we the people are organizing a mass mobilization to demand that Congress and President Biden pass the bill, without any cuts to the desperately needed housing provisions.” 

“We as a nationwide progressive end homelessness/housing for all movement will not allow millions of Americans to be evicted and thrown into the streets during the lethal Covid-19 pandemic. Have we no shame,” added Joel Segal, national director of the Bring America Home Now Campaign. “Furthermore, the national BAHN campaign’s most important priorities right now are to stop any cuts to affordable housing in the President’s Infrastructure Bill and a zero-tolerance policy for any evictions during the Covid-19 Pandemic and freezing winter temperatures. It’s unamerican, immoral, and cruel for we the people not to intervene now to stop the unnecessary, life-threatening, and destabilizing nationwide eminent eviction emergency.” 

In addition to calling for investments within the Build Back Better infrastructure package, the coalition has also called for meetings with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia L. Fudge and Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo to discuss allocating funds to the development of housing crisis “navigators,” emulating the success of the Affordable Care Act program to simplify the application process for rental assistance. The coalition hopes to meet with Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and other congressional leaders to discuss how our country can create lasting solutions and provide housing security for our most vulnerable populations. 

WHAT: Bring America Home NOW Rally & Press Conference

WHEN: Wednesday, October 20th at 10:00am-12:00pm ET

WHERE: Capitol Hill, Constitution Ave & New Jersey Ave. NW (Robert Taft Memorial)

WHO: Bring America Home NOW Campaign featuring NOW & the National Coalition for the Homelessness, members of Congress, and other guest speakers

MORE INFO:  Additional confirmed speakers and logistical details, including location, will be updated here. Members of the media interested in attending or connecting with speakers can contact press@now.org or dwhitehead@nationalhomeless.org.

Click this link to Contact your Congressperson

Flyer for rally in DC on October 20, 2021, calling to Stop Evictions, Housing is Infrastructure

End of the CDC Eviction Moratorium is an Emergency that must be Addressed!

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The National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) and the National Organization for Women (NOW), along with advocates, tenants, and community leaders will gather in late October, in Washington, DC, and communities across the country to push for the prevention of anyone falling into homelessness.

National Organization for Women and National Coalition for the Homeless call for addressing the emergency of evictions

“The homeless social service sector cannot accommodate any more people during this national health emergency with rising levels of COVID-19 in many communities. There are millions of dollars sitting on the table from the federal government and we need state and local officials to move mountains to get rental assistance out to those facing evictions,” said NCH executive director Donald Whitehead.  

In August, CNBC reported 11 million households are behind on their rent, but even if only 1 million get evicted the homeless shelters and services will collapse. Whitehead said that shelters have had to de-concentrate due to the pandemic and do not have the means of taking more people in to provide a safe place to stay while they look to find other housing options.  

We are urging the Governors to do whatever they can to stop any evictions into homelessness or they will see the huge rise in those living outside that Washington DC, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Miami, Austin, and Phoenix have seen over the last year.  

The Problem

As of Thursday, August 26, 2021, the federal moratorium on evictions related to COVID was lifted. As many as 35 million people in the United States, whose livelihoods have been negatively impacted by pandemic-related economic shut down, are at risk of homelessness. 

What’s more, there are hundreds of thousands of people and families who were placed into hotel rooms with CARES Act funding that is due to expire. Many of these folks will be forced back onto the streets, and into congregate shelters, with desperately increased risk of contracting COVID.

This is a massive economic and public health crisis, disproportionately affecting people of color. We must protect individuals and families – and especially our children and youth.

What we Know

Without safe housing, millions of people will be forced into congregate settings, increasing the risk of transmitting COVID-19, at a time when hospitals are operating at capacity.  

Lack of capacity at the state and local level, combined with bureaucratic red tape, has prevented up to 75% of aid from the Federal government from reaching renters and desperate to maintain their housing. 

Even though it is illegal, there is the danger that families forced back into homelessness risk losing custody of their children. Studies have shown overwhelmingly that safe housing has more to do with a child’s wellbeing and achievement than any other single factor. 

People who are unhoused face targeted enforcement and criminalization of life-sustaining activities. This over-criminalization separates families, eliminates employment options and further jeopardizes the mental and physical health of those affected.

What has been done

Through the CARES Act and the American Recovery Plan, the federal government has allocated over $85 Billion to housing and homelessness programs, including $25 billion specifically for Emergency Housing Vouchers. Many communities have used these recovery dollars to house folks temporarily in hotel and motel rooms, and further secure individual housing accommodations. But many of these programs are closing and people are being returned to congregate shelters or the streets.

The U.S. Treasury has provided explicit direction to local agencies distributing funds to allow renters and landlords to attest to their need without onerous documentation. The U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Veterans Affairs (VA) have also taken action to protect and support vulnerable renter households. The Secretaries of HUD and Treasury, along with the Attorney General, wrote a letter to governors, mayors, county Executives, and chief Justices and state court administrators to issue their own moratoria, stay evictions while rental assistance applications process, and use ERA and State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to enhance tenant access to legal representation. 

But we know that landlords and eviction courts are eager to start processing evictions that have been held up. We know too that without legal representation, tenants overwhelmingly are not able to exercise their full rights to remain in housing.

What we Need

NOW and NCH are urging local and state elected officials to assign additional staff, enlist every housing non-profit in their communities to get this money to the people in need! Additionally, struggling Americans need:

  • Congress to pass legislation halting any eviction until ERA and Recovery applications are fully processed. 
  • Emergency Rental Assistance and other recovery programs should assume presumptive eligibility, instead of forcing long drawn out documentation of need. 
  • Landlords should get paid all back rent, either through direct payment and/or tax credit within 30 days.
  • There needs to be broad civic education on renter rights and eviction and homelessness prevention, in addition to ending and addressing the underlying causes of poverty and homelessness.

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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. NCH’s advocacy addresses 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 National Organization for Women is the largest grassroots organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has hundreds of thousands of contributing supporters and members in chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since its founding in 1966, NOW’s purpose is to take action through intersectional grassroots activism to promote feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life.

THE JUDICIAL CONNECTION TO HOUSING

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WASHINGTON, D.C.  – The impact of judicial nominees can be traced back to the founding of this nation. Today that impact was felt in a painful way when Texas federal judge John Barker ruled that the current CDC moratorium exceeded the authority of the constitution. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued order 361 of the public health act to temporarily halt evictions back on September 4, 2020. This guidance shielded some tenants from eviction due to the current coronavirus pandemic. This order was also issued to help prevent spread of the coronavirus. 

The state of Texas, which ranks at the top in carrying out evictions, is helping perpetuate homelessness. The state is living up to their slogan “everything is bigger in Texas”. According to the Eviction Lab, there have been 2,668 evictions carried out in the United States just in the last seven days. The state of Texas ranks at the top when it comes to executing evictions. Since March of last year, cities in Texas evicted people at an alarming rate. Austin executed 877 evictions, Fort Worth 12,353 evictions, and Houston executed 24,355 evictions. Bigger does not always equate to better.

The National Coalition for the Homeless supports adhering to eviction moratoria, and preventing housing displacement due to the pandemic economic downturn. As the top public health agency of the federal government, the CDC issued an order meant to protect the health and safety of everyone. By allowing evictions to proceed, city and state governments are ignoring the purpose of the CDC’s moratorium and guidance on quarantine and social distance. Housing is a human right.  It says so in our declaration of independence; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Public servants including the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government are supposed to execute that, not evictions. 

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