Homelessness/Housing Needs During COVID-19 Pandemic Letter to Congressional Delegation
March 17, 2020
RE: Homelessness/Housing Needs During COVID-19 Pandemic
Thank you for leadership during this challenging time. Housing Action NH is a statewide coalition of 80 organizations united to improve state and federal policy so everyone in New Hampshire has a place to call home. Our members include: homeless service providers; affordable housing developers; property managers; public housing authorities and low-income family advocates.
We have surveyed our network and connected with other state and national partners to identify some of the most pressing needs among housing and homeless shelter provides. We are seeking your support for a comprehensive COVID-19 relief package that includes key priorities for those providing housing and shelter in our state.
Rental Assistance: Short-term rental assistance, including programs like the Disaster Housing Assistance Program, are key to combatting a surge in homelessness. An expansion of the Housing Choice Voucher Program would also help provide housing stability since there are currently long waiting lists in our state to access vouchers.
McKinney-Vento Emergency Solutions Grants: We urge supplements to the Emergency Solutions Grantprogram for homeless shelters and advise our delegation to ensure small-state minimums. In addition, we request that the relief package direct HUD to fast-track funding to avoid lengthy delays in getting the resources to providers.
Emergency Funds for Public Housing: Additional resources and flexibility are critical for New Hampshire’s public housing agencies as they work to keep their residents safe throughout the crisis.
Eviction Prevention: We are grateful that Governor Sununu has declared a temporary moratorium on evictions during the state of emergency. However, the economic downtown within our very tight rental market will generate an evictions crisis unless we are proactive. We urge support for a new Emergency Assistance Fund as proposed by the Eviction Crisis Act.
Thank you for your swift attention to these issues. We are committed to working with you to implement the most effective solutions during this unprecedented crisis.