Well, that was exciting.
Joe Biden ran on a platform that included a commitment to the Housing First approach to homelessness, strong investments in affordable housing centered around race equity, and building the capacity of the economy to provide jobs for people with low incomes. This creates opportunities in the coming years to improve the federal government’s role in building a more just society.
First Things First
Unfortunately, even before President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris take office on January 20, there is desperate and immediate need for action. We must address overlapping crises that have homelessness in their center: the recession and loss of millions of jobs, rising rates of COVID infections and deaths, the approach of winter (without the usual shelter resources available), and the impending end of the Centers for Disease Control eviction moratorium.
There will be work to do on the longer term as well, to restrengthen everyone’s understanding of the most effective ways to reduce homelessness, and to get money on the table to make it happen.
We talk to people every day, around the country, who are working hard to address the immediate crises. They are learning from the success of others at standing up shelters, using hotels and other resources, taking advantage of soft rental markets to get people quickly back into housing. This has been life-saving work, and we thank them.
Over the next few weeks, the Alliance will be working with Congress to make more funding available, and reduce burdens on local providers and system leaders.
Congress will likely consider two large spending bills, one for emergency spending related to coronavirus and economic stimulus, and the other for “regular” federal spending for the 2021 fiscal year. The Alliance will push for homelessness funding and rental assistance in the emergency bill, and for a substantial increase for homelessness and housing funding in the FY21 bill. As always, this work will only succeed if we all speak up and demand it. I hope everyone can keep an eye out for advocacy action alerts from the Alliance, which will start this week.
An Ongoing Effort
There will be many opportunities over the next year to increase the help that people get from the federal government to end homelessness. You can receive regular updates, if you haven’t already, by signing up for Alliance Advocacy Alerts. Thanks to everyone.