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.

 

Pandemic Leads to Early Prisoner Release, But Finding Housing for Them Remains Difficult

As the infection rate at jails in places like New York began to climb, officials started looking for criteria to use in determining which inmates could be released. Then they ran into a familiar but now heightened dilemma.

Lessons from Post 9/11 America for a Post-COVID Society

A post-COVID society can look different from post 9/11 America if we reject racism, focus on the most vulnerable communities, and balance rapid response with long-term strategies that tackle systemic disparities.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson smiles as his folds his hands in front of his chest.

HUD Urged to Make Tenant Income Adjustments Automatic by April 1

Preventing catastrophe when eviction moratoriums lift requires reducing tenants' rent quickly—which advocates say is fully within HUD's power.
Close up of a typewriter with the word "Regulations" typed out

Business as Usual: Trump Agencies Resist Calls to Suspend Non-Essential Rulemaking

Congressional leaders and community advocates are calling on HUD and financial regulators to suspend non-essential rulemaking. HUD appears to refuse.
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.
evictions: image of house keys and a tag that says "evicted"

As Moratoriums Start to Lift, Preparing for an Eviction Wave

Tenant organizers and legal services groups are working vigorously to get ahead of eviction cases as housing court processes restart.

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.

Flexibility Key to Vermont Nonprofit’s COVID-19 Homeless Housing Pivot

By mid-March, the state of Vermont and the Champlain Housing Trust were able to offer quarantine space for Burlington’s homeless population.
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.
Interrupting history

Let’s Interrupt History: Racial Equity in a Time of Crisis

Data on the pandemic shows once again the dramatic consequences of racial inequalities. CDFIs must focus on ensuring equity for Black-owned businesses.
home with sold sign

This Moment Calls for Finally Making Homeownership Access Fair

The worsening housing crisis shows that we must develop comprehensive tools and programs to keep families housed and their assets preserved.

Why We Must Protect Young People from Homelessness Now

As past economic crises show, insufficient action today could all but ensure that high school and college graduates will struggle with housing insecurity as they age.
Squatters occupy the Arion building in Seattle after it sat vacant for months. There are signs that read "Operation Homestead" and "It's Alive" outside the large white building.

History Shows that in Times of Crisis, Housing Activists Get Radical

A recent spate of vacant home occupations echo squatters campaigns of the past.

Nonprofit Housing Providers Face Down COVID-19

As organizers struggle to get strong eviction moratoriums passed and enforced around the country, there’s one sector where evictions during the pandemic were not...

Trump’s Empty Shell of a Promise to Renters

Diane Yentel slams President Trump's latest executive order as "reckless and harmful."

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.
Artists_COVID sign

A Letter from A Starving Artist

To my fellow artists? Just please, PLEASE, stick around on the planet. I know. It’s getting tougher. For me too. You’re not alone.
homeowners_foreclosure sign

Don’t Just Defer Loans—Start Modifying Loans Now

We have learned how to successfully provide broad-based mortgage payment relief to millions of American households in need. There’s nothing to stop us this time around from doing it right.
Photo of AICHO's Gimaaji Gardens

Duluth Indigenous Groups Reframe Climate Work in Cultural Context

While many conversations about climate resiliency are well-intentioned, they often lack a perspective grounded in community control and cultural context. In this interview, Ivy Vainio and LeAnn Littlewolf from the American Indian Community Housing Organization explore how gardens, worm bins, and solar panels help reclaim agency for Duluth's Indigenous communities.
hotel room

What’s Next for Those Staying in Hotels During the Pandemic?

As tourism remains slumped for the foreseeable future, some state and local governments are looking to create long-term housing for those who have been helped by temporary projects during the pandemic.