April 14, 2020
Last week, we were thrilled to receive one-time funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The JPB Foundation to regrant in support of the efforts of our partners throughout the country working to meet the immediate COVID-19-related needs of people who are homeless or on the brink. The NLIHC team is working quickly to get grants out to local organizations to be put to work saving lives during this critical gap in time between when tremendous, urgent needs continue to increase and when federal funding from the CARES Act begins to reach communities.
Within days, we received proposals requesting nearly double the amount we had available to give. The need is extraordinary, and the grant proposals are all very powerful. By midweek, we will have regranted the full $3,500,000 to 52 organizations in 27 states. The funds are supporting efforts to keep highly vulnerable homeless communities safer by decompressing shelters to implement social distancing and reduce outbreaks and moving people experiencing homelessness into hotels or apartments. The grants will allow for some shelters to hire needed staff and avoid reducing services or closing their doors altogether. Funding will support the purchase of handwashing stations in homeless encampments in some communities and will be used to prevent evictions with short-term rental assistance or legal counseling in others.
The funds will support people who are homeless or unstably housed in major metro areas such as Silicon Valley, New Orleans, Detroit, Las Vegas, and Chicago, and in rural areas in Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Alaska, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Pine Ridge Reservation, and beyond. The funding is supporting organizations working statewide to quickly get people who are homeless into hotels in Ohio, Connecticut, Utah, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Washington, New Jersey and Minnesota, and into new makeshift shelters on Cheyenne River Reservation. The funds are also supporting: public housing residents responding to urgent and immediate needs of their neighbors in Virginia and Pittsburgh, PA; the continuation of a network of street papers throughout the country; the cultivation of first-person videos of people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic; and the longer-term education and research needed to achieve federal, state and local policies for an equitable response and recovery in California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, Indiana, Idaho, Washington, DC, and beyond.
It’s been heartening and tremendously impressive to see all the ways our partners and members are stepping into this challenging time with extraordinary determination, courage and resourcefulness. While there’s so much more work to do, each of the organizations we’ve regranted to – and so many more organizations throughout the country – are doing essential work that is saving the lives of some of our country’s most vulnerable and marginalized people.
Philanthropy plays a critical role in this challenging time, but only the federal government can respond adequately to the magnitude of need throughout the country. Together, NLIHC and our network throughout the country were successful in getting Congress to provide in the CARES Act $12 billion in housing and homelessness resources, as well as partial moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures. We’re working with partners to ensure the CARES Act funds reach communities as quickly and efficiently as possible, and to urge local decision-makers to use the funds to meet the greatest and most urgent needs.
Now we must continue to demand that Congress do more. Communities need another $11.5 billion in Emergency Solutions Grants to protect and house people experiencing homelessness, at least $100 billion in rental assistance to assist low-income renters and small landlords, and a uniform and complete moratorium on evictions and moratoriums. We also need emergency funds for public housing and other HUD housing providers, and a major investment in repairing and building affordable homes throughout the country.
Join us in urging Congress to provide these funds in the next spending package. And thank you – always – for your incredible work. You’re an inspiration.
Read the press release on the regrants at: https://tinyurl.com/y748mgzz
For more information & resources on COVID-19 housing and homelessness, go to: https://nlihc.org/coronavirus-and-housing-homelessness