Homelessness during COVID-19 Pandemic Letter to State Officials
Governor Chris Sununu
Concord, NH 03301
CC: Commissioner Lori Shibinette
Senate President Donna Soucy
Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Morse
Speaker Steve Shurtleff
House Minority Leader Dick Hinch
March 17, 2020
RE: Homelessness during COVID-19 Pandemic
Dear Governor Sununu:
Thank you for your recent decisive actions in protecting the residents of New Hampshire as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Housing Action NH would like to share our gratitude, in particular, for your directive this morning to suspend evictions and foreclosures during the current state of emergency.
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 surveyed our network on Friday, March 13 to identify some of the pressing needs among our members. We are seeking support from you and your team to address the following issues:
Quarantine Solutions for Homeless Shelters: The New Hampshire homeless shelter system is not designed to safely quarantine individuals and families. The congregate living arrangements are in direct conflict with all current public health protocols. We request a statewide directive assuring support from the healthcare system to care for homeless individuals with the virus. We also need a statewide plan for individuals and families required to quarantine, such as hoteling, moteling or use of empty college campuses.
Rental Assistance/Eviction Prevention Fund: The budget for SFYs 20-21 includes additional funds for eviction prevention. We request that this funding be fast-tracked to CAP agencies and local welfare administrators to address those struggling to pay rent. We also request fast-tracking of new federal resources related to rental and mortgage assistance when they become available.
Plan for Encampments: We request additional supports for agencies providing outreach and access to healthcare for those living outside in encampments. The unsheltered are at higher risk of untested and untreated illness and they are often in poor health.
Financial Support for Homeless Services: New Hampshire’s homeless shelter providers are on the front-linesof this crisis dealing with our state’s most vulnerable population. Many of these nonprofits will experience ashortfall in community giving due to the economic downturn, all while having to increase services. We ask that you prioritize their financial sustainability as resources become available.
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.
Elissa D. Margolin Director
M 603 828 5916