Apologies for the late in the day notice but it’s NOT too late! (And until you read a headline that Congress passed a bill it’s STILL not too late!).
I am writing to bring this national action to your attention as it will directly impact our region’s efforts to respond to the housing and homelessness crisis resulting from COVID-19.
The National Coalition for the Homeless, as well as other national and local housing groups, are leading the charge to include in Congress’ COVID-19 relief package the provisions outlined below. Time is of the essence to get out our message of support. If you want additional context, please read the Coalition’s letter to Senator Collins.
Please email ASAP your Congressional Representative and both Senators at the address below (voice mails are frequently full right now so email is a safer bet).
Rep. Jim McGovern: https://mcgovern.house.gov/contact/zip-auth.htm
Rep. Richard Neal: https://neal.house.gov/contact
Senator Elizabeth Warren: https://www.warren.senate.gov/contact/shareyouropinion
Senator Ed Markey: https://www.markey.senate.gov/contact
Feel free to copy and paste the following with your own brief personal message (if so inclined) about the vital importance of these funds and these policy changes to prevent even worse hardship:
We call upon Congress to enact immediate emergency action to address the special needs of those families and individuals experiencing homelessness, and those at risk, while addressing the broader economic fall-out from the pandemic. We respectfully request that the following item be included in any COVID-19 Stimulus Bill:
1. Provide $5 billion in new funding to serve people who are homeless.
2. Provide $5 billion in additional funding to prevent people who are at immediate risk from becoming homeless during this crisis.
3. Direct HUD to automatically renew Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance Funding in 2020 to programs that were recently renewed through the 2019 renewal process, as currently allowed in the HEARTH Act, so long as the Continuum of Care Entity documents that a) there is a continuing demonstrated need for the project and b) that the project continues to comply with CoC program requirements. Use the 2020 CoC NOFA process to competitively award only additionally appropriated funding for New Projects to meet the needs of those currently on the streets, in shelters, or the newly homeless.
4. Require HUD to increase flexibility to allow communities to utilize CoC Homeless Assistance Funding to meet local needs and local priorities.
5. Call for a moratorium on all homeless encampments sweeps during the pandemic.
6. Provide $50 Billion of new funding for expansion of Low Income Housing Tax Credits targeted to housing for homeless families and individuals, expansion of the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and expansion of Project Based Section 8 funding for permanent supportive housing and housing for families experiencing homelessness.
Thanks for your fast action!