As the effects of the coronavirus grows, it is clear that there needs to be robust housing assistance from the federal government to protect homeless people and keep people housed. The second aid package passed yesterday by Congress and signed by the president failed to include housing assistance, but Congress is working on a third aid package. That package must include emergency housing assistance to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among homeless and housed families and help people affected by business closures to stay housed. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, released plans today for a legislative package to provide a comprehensive fiscal stimulus and emergency housing response to the coronavirus pandemic. We are urging all partners to call their member of congress and ensure that the following items, mirroring many of NLIHC‘s reccomendations, are included in the next coronavirus response bill.

  1. $5 billion for Emergency Shelter & Housing through McKinney-Vento Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) to provide emergency shelter and housing assistance to reduce street homelessness and move individuals out of a congregate setting as needed to prevent COVID-19 spread. Homeless eligibility rules and other restrictions should be waived to ensure that this funding can be used flexibly to meet local needs.
  2. Direct Payment Program to households for the duration of this crisis. Monthly allocations must be appropriately sized for high-cost markets for households to afford rent and other necessities.
  3. Emergency Rental Assistance to support vouchers for all households who are experiencing homeless or at-risk of homelessness.
  4. Emergency funds for public housing and other HUD housing providers.
  5. CDBG funding to support nonprofits serving low income populations.
  6. Moratorium on foreclosures and evictions.
  7. Rent Freeze and Mortgage Deferment Option for Renters, Homeowners & Building Owners- Bold measures are required in an unprecedented and widespread interruption to the economy. If renters cannot pay rent, building owners will not be able to pay their mortgage. Eviction and mortgage foreclosure moratoriums only delay eviction or foreclosure for renters and homeowners experiencing a substantial loss of income, kicking the can down the road.
  8. HUD & IRS Should Offer Broad Waivers for eligibility, asset management and compliance reporting to ensure federally assisted housing can be immediately utilized to meet local emergency needs.

NYHC and partner organizations sent a letter to the New York Congressional delegation yesterday with these recommendations. You can find the letter here. Below are the groups that joined us:
Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, Citizens Housing & Planning Council, Coalition for the Homeless, Community Service Society of New York, Cypress Hills, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. The Fortune Society, Habitat for Humanity New York City, Homeless Services United, Leading Age NY, The Legal Aid Society, LiveOn NY, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), New York State Association for Affordable Housing, Regional Plan Association, RiseBoro Community Partnership, Settlement Housing Fund, Inc.Supportive Housing Network of New York, Win NYC

We urge you to call your members of Congress and tell them to prioritize an emergency housing response in the third federal relief package currently being negotiated.
Find your local member of Congress here:
Contact New York’s Senators here:Sen. Charles SchumerSen. Kirsten Gillibrand