COVID-19

How is the community development world responding to the COVID-19 crisis? What are the most pressing policy issues that organizations should be paying attention to? How are groups across the U.S. coordinating? Shelterforce will be delving into these issues and lots more.

We welcome reader stories about the challenges and the moments of hope and collaboration that you’re seeing on the ground, and questions you want answered. Please let us know: what kinds of information would be useful for you to hear? Email us at info@shelterforce.org.

 

Rent Strikes Launching Around the World May 1

Organizers calling for the cancellation of rent are taking to digital platforms to get the word out about the action, where tenants will withhold some or all of their rent until their conditions are met.

Trump’s Empty Shell of a Promise to Renters

Diane Yentel slams President Trump's latest executive order as "reckless and harmful."
A multicolored tent in house's front yard. A sign on the fence says "Moratorium on foreclosures and evictions" and a sign on the house reads "Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign"

The Many Fronts of COVID-19 Related Housing Needs and Measures

Stable housing is crucial during a pandemic. Front-line providers and local governments are moving to address the impacts, but they need more federal funds
handpainted sign says "I think we are doing a beautiful job figuring out some heavy shit"

Response to Pandemic Shows What’s Possible in Housing

We’re seeing bold actions from states across the U.S.—from strong eviction moratoriums in Massachusetts to a major homeless initiative in California. What if these new housing measures were designed to last beyond the coronavirus crisis?

Housing Organizing in the Year of the Pandemic

California housing organizers reflect on what changes, and what stays the same, during a pandemic.
close-up image safety net of rope

Expanding Housing Choice Vouchers Would Strengthen the Safety Net

It’s time to mend the housing safety net. The COVID-19 crisis has thrown light on the fragility of millions of American families for whom...
Photo of the Commons in downtown Ithaca.

Did Ithaca Really Cancel Rent?

In early June, residents and organizers successfully pressured the Ithaca Common Council to pass a resolution that requests that the state grant them the authority to cancel rent in response to COVID-19. Contrary to many headlines, it didn't actually cancel rent—yet.

Making Eviction Diversion Meaningful in Massachusetts

Whether the governor’s rent relief and eviction diversion program will keep people in their homes depends on whether landlords can be persuaded—or compelled—to participate.
destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy

What Prior Disasters Have Taught Housing Advocates About How to Respond to COVID-19

When it comes to helping people maintain or recover their housing, hurricanes and fires aren’t as different from a pandemic as one might think.

States Use CARES Act Funds to Keep Renters Afloat, But It Won’t Be Enough

More than a dozen states are using Community Development Block Grant funding from the CARES Act to fund emergency rental and mortgage assistance programs.
small business close

Help for Small Businesses

What kinds of emergency measures are advocacy organizations proposing to make sure that when small businesses can open again, they’ll be financially able to do so?

Albuquerque Artists Sustain Connection Despite Social Distancing

Placemaking is an inherently in-person practice, but it doesn’t always have to be. In Albuquerque, an exhibit was reimagined to highlight the work of local photographers, who captured striking images of life during the COVID-19 pandemic.
in New York, a person walks to the left holding a stop sign.

New York State Stiffs Nonprofits

Is New York the canary in the coal mine when it comes to a nonprofit funding collapse?
Sanitation worker Bobby Parker was illegally evicted from his home for paying his rent late. He's seen here, walking the streets of New Orleans.

High-Risk, Essential, and Illegally Evicted

Eviction moratoriums are only as good as their enforcement, as one man’s harrowing story in New Orleans shows.
vacant home with lit windows

6 Ways to Prevent Post-COVID Vacancy

Local governments must explore ways to minimize commercial and residential property deterioration and subsequent vacancy.

Building Camaraderie in a Virtual Workspace

How one community development corporation's youth program flourished during the pandemic

CDFIs and the Expansion of the Payroll Protection Program

The Payroll Protection Program is an expansion of a program for banks and credit unions. It offers virtually nothing to nonprofit small-business lenders.

Crossing the Digital Divide During COVID

Flyers, phone calls, and podcasts, oh my! Organizations blend past and present strategies to stay in touch with community members.
A group of people stand in a line outside a building a court building. In the foreground Black man with a white beard in a black jacket and cap holds a sign a sign reading "Shut down housing court until coronavirus is past."

An Eviction Moratorium Is Not Enough—Suspend Rent

What will people do when they’re expected to pay back rent after the crisis is over? Eviction moratoriums are not enough to prevent a homelessness crisis.
A sign for an essential worker.

Your Essential Worker May Be a Voucher Holder

How housing assistance programs benefit all of us—and why they should stop leaving people behind.