Housing aid is needed urgently by many

Thanks for The Herald’s continuing coverage of the Covid-19 crisis (“Evictions on hold statewide amid COVID-19 outbreak,” The Herald, March 19). I am gravely concerned that none of the Covid-19 bills passed so far by Congress, nor Sen. Mitch McConnell’s proposal, include provisions to help people experiencing homelessness and those in unstable housing situations. With countless low-income Americans being told to stay home from work, many of them cannot pay rent, though thanks to action by Gov. Jay Inslee, they currently don’t face the threat of eviction. In addition, homeless folks are facing unprecedented challenges in staying safe during this crisis.

I urge U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to speak to leadership and ask them to include the following provisions in the final “Phase III” bill: $5 billion in Emergency Solution Grant funds can help local communities minimize the number of people living in homeless encampments and identify space, including hotels, for isolation and self-quarantine. Another $5 billion to prevent people from becoming homeless by providing short-term financial assistance and housing stabilization services. Enact a national moratorium on foreclosures and evictions to help renters and homeowners remain stably housed during and after a coronavirus outbreak. Help with rental assistance and eviction prevention (along the lines of the bipartisan Eviction Crisis Act). Low-income renters — living in federally assisted housing or otherwise — will need emergency rental assistance to ensure that they can remain housed during this crisis and not face evictions, and in worst cases, homelessness.

Willie Dickerson


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