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National Support Needed for Addressing COVID-19 & Homelessness

States all across the nation are stepping up to respond rapidly and robustly to the health crisis that is COVID-19. But state resources alone will not meet the needs arising, especially when it comes to our low-income renters and neighbors experiencing homelessness. The best way to make your voice heard immediately is to call your members of Congress directly. You can contact the congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be transferred. Or you can find your congressional district here and look up phone numbers here

Here are a few examples of organizations pushing the type of progressive policies we need on the national level to uplift the needs of low-income renters and people currently experiencing homelessness during this time. Click on links below for more details about each organization’s suggested policies:

  • Housing Justice Platform
    • Transfer $2,000 in cash to all people in the United States, immediately;
    • Institute a nationwide rent/mortgage holiday, rent/mortgage freeze, and/or rental assistance;
    • Enact a nationwide eviction/foreclosure moratorium;
    • Ban utility shut-offs and restore service to all households;
    • Provide homes and expanded services for people experiencing homelessness;
    • Provide immediate support for public housing residents; and,
    • Ensure a just, green transition post-pandemic.
  • NLIHC
    • Provide additional resources to McKinney-Vento Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) and short-term rental assistance, like the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP)
    • Provide medical respite care to people experiencing homelessness
    • Increase outreach and street medicine resources
    • Put a moratorium on sweeps of homeless encampments
    • Put a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures
    • Provide rental and eviction prevention assistance
    • Provide emergency funds for public housing and other HUD housing providers
    • Provide access to legal services and foreclosure and eviction crisis counseling
    • Increase investments in the National Housing Trust Fund
    • Provide Rental Assistance
  • Congressional Progressive Caucus (This isn’t a non-profit organization, but a caucus group within the US House of Representatives)
    • Provide immediate cash assistance
    • Address housing insecurity
    • Provide worker-centered industry assistance
    • Provide higher education assistance
    • Support for small businesses and Nonprofit organizations
    • Include broad expansion of worksharing and other unemployment insurance programs
    • Provide free testing, treatment, and prevention
    • Include immigration and criminal justice protections
    • Maintain election integrity
    • Ensure Parity for Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Urban Indian Organizations:
    • Utilize the Defense Production Act (DPA)

If you’re interested in learning more about these policies at the federal level and its impact at the local level in King County, Rep. Jayapal (Democrat from Seattle) will be holding a video briefing with Kirsten Wysen of Seattle and King County Public Health today at 5:00 PT on her Facebook page.

-Written by Emily Strange

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