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Posts Tagged ‘COVID’

THE JUDICIAL CONNECTION TO HOUSING

Written by admin on . Posted in Press Releases

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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NCH Statement on Senate Parliamentarian decision regarding Minimum Wage increase

Written by admin on . Posted in News

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Elizabeth MacDonough, the current Senate Parliamentarian ruled today that the Raise the Wage Act would not be included in the current American Rescue Plan. Her decision now puts a temporary halt to the Democrats plan to raise the wage. During a recent townhall, Senator Bernie Sanders I-VT, indicated that this fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour is not over. It’s disappointing for someone that does not have a vote to make that decision, but we will not give up. There are other ways to do this.

There are other economic solutions to focus on beside raising the wage that may make wages more sustainable. Guaranteed Income and Universal Livable Wage would eliminate the argument that jobs and businesses would be lost. It now becomes a matter of the will of the people instead of the skill of the politician.

Background:
In 12 years, the cost of most necessities like housing, transportation and medical care, have increased, and in some cases, astronomically increased. But this the longest period of time the Federal minimum wage has remained stagnant since it was created. While the minimum wage is not the cause of homelessness, it does contribute to it. In the United States, there is not one county where you can afford a two-bedroom apartment working 40 hours per week earning minimum wage.

There are success stories with cities that have raised their own wages to $15 per hour. Millions of Americans have been lifted out of poverty, while millions are still there. In the most expensive cities in the nation, $15 per hour keep Americans in poverty. We are exploring things like guaranteed incomes and wages indexed to the local cost of housing. There is a deep income divide that must be addressed. Stay tuned, game on.

Action Alert: Every State Needs to Vaccinate People who are Homeless

Written by Brian Davis on . Posted in Action Alert

As we enter (hopefully) the final phase of the COVID pandemic with vaccinations, it is unclear in many states if there is a plan to inoculate every resident of the state facing a housing emergency. 

California has the nation’s largest homeless population and has yet to clearly define their plan to distribute the vaccine to the hundreds of thousand people experiencing homelessness, or frontline homeless services workers. The is not just an issue of reaching folks who are homeless. The narrow Federal definition of homelessness prevents many from being clearly defined as vulnerable.

The National Coalition for the Homeless is asking the California Department of Public Health to prioritize vaccinations for all those without a stable place to live, those living outside or in a shelter, and those who work in service to these folks.

While the statewide plan issued by the Department of Public Health makes some mention of homelessness, direction on how to vaccinate all people who do not have permanent housing is vague. There are huge numbers of people sleeping outside in California and no real plan to reach this difficult to serve population. In addition, it is unclear if those who were recently relocated into housing meet the definition of homeless. We are asking for California officials to provide a clear plan that local communities can implement that takes into account the diverse needs of all of those experiencing homelessness.  

Very few states, in fact, have published comprehensive plans to get COVID vaccines to the entire population of people who are unhoused.  We are urging our advocacy network throughout the United States to reach out to their state health departments to ask if there are detailed plans to vaccinate homeless people. We hope that the media begin to ask these questions as well.  We would ask that these plans be published on the state health department websites so that they can be implemented on the local level.  

The National Coalition for the Homeless is hearing mixed messages from social service providers and there is a great deal of confusion in the field about the vaccination program and how homeless people fit into the plans. Now, as the country prepares to vaccinate the population, in most states there is no sign yet that homeless people, those who serve homeless people, are a priority to access to the vaccine. 

TAKE ACTION

For those in California: Contact Dr. Tomás Aragón, the State Director of Public Health, at 516-553-1784. Tag @CApublicHealth in a tweet with the hashtag #VaccinateHomeless, or drop them a note on Facebook @capublichealth. “Please clarify when all homeless people, homeless and hunger social service providers (including those serving homeless people in permanent housing programs), throughout the state will be vaccinated.”

For those outside of California, please contact your state health department with a similar message to be made public.  

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