Low- and moderate-income families are bearing the economic brunt of the social distancing measures that are being implemented to protect society from the coronavirus – and the racialized income and wealth distribution in our society means that these burdens also have a disproportionate racial impact. If there was ever a time for “targeted universalism,” the time is now.
Congress and state governments need to act immediately to ensure housing security for the next 18 months and beyond. Wider moratoria on evictions and foreclosures are the first step, followed by expanded – or universal – rental assistance for all families in need, national source of income discrimination protections, an end to utility shut-offs, and forgiveness of housing and utility debt when the crisis abates.
For starters, the current Senate proposal calls for emergency housing assistance to supplement the recent coronavirus legislation (which left housing aid out altogether) – see the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s summary and recommendations here and here. See also this excellent letter to HUD and the state housing department from Connecticut’s legal services community, and a broader list of recommendations to the governor of Illinois from the Shriver Center.
Selected Coalition Partners’ Resource Pages
- National Low Income Housing Coalition’s COVID-19 and Housing and Homelessness Resources Page
- National Health Law Program COVID-19 Resources Page
- Protecting Renter and Homeowner Rights During Our National Health Crisis (NHLP, March 2020)
- COVID-19 & Health Justice Resource Document (Spirit of 1848 & Public Health Awakened, March 2020)
- Federal Foreclosure and Eviction Moratoriums During COVID-19 Crisis: Who is Protected, and Who Left is Out (NHLP, March 2020)
- Business as Usual: Trump Agencies Resist Calls to Suspend Non-Essential Rulemaking (Shelterforce, March 2020)
- Health Justice Strategies To Combat COVID-19: Protecting Vulnerable Communities During A Pandemic (Health Affairs, March 2020)