As the pandemic rages on and a mass surge into homelessness looms before us, Congress left D.C. to go back to their home states and districts until September without providing additional financial relief to those in need.
While your Members of Congress are back in your home state, use this time to contact them to ensure they know how dire this situation is and that help must come quickly.
Since July, Congressional leaders and the Trump Administration have attempted to come to a deal on a fifth coronavirus relief package, but have been unable to agree on key provisions. Provisions under discussion include extending enhanced unemployment payments and additional funding for state and local governments and schools.
Community Solutions and our coalition of homeless advocates are also working to ensure they extend the federal ban on evictions and fund programs to provide emergency rental assistance. Without action, the impending housing crisis could leave millions more homeless.
In response, President Trump signed a series of executive orders on August 8 that claim to extend the expired federal ban on evictions and provide additional funding for rental assistance. They also purport to defer taxes, continue student loan deferments, and provide enhanced unemployment benefits.
As noted by Peggy Bailey at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, these executive orders will not extend the expired federal ban on evictions or provide more funds to tenants or landlords to cover lost rent payments, despite the administration’s claims.
The HEALS Act, introduced in the Senate in July, did not include any resources for the homeless response system to prevent a surge into homelessness or keep our homeless neighbors safe. The House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act in May, which included our three priorities and should be part of the next relief bill:
- $100 billion for Emergency Rental Assistance and Eviction Prevention
- A national, uniform moratorium on evictions and foreclosures
- $11.5 billion for Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG)
These federal resources are imperative to prevent a surge in mass homelessness and keep our most at-risk neighbors stably-housed and those experiencing homelessness safe.
While your Members of Congress are back in their home states, use this time to contact them to ensure they know how dire this situation is and that immediate relief that must be delivered. The devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will leave a lasting imprint on the lives of many Americans and generations to come. The choices that we, as a country, make today will determine whether we can address and prevent some of these harms.