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.

 

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.

Feeding People in a Pandemic

Across the country, community organizations and food-related businesses have found creative ways to provide meals and groceries to low-income people in need.
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.
A group of people stand three feet apart, mouths open as if shouting, outside a building that looks like a court. In the foreground a young white man in sunglasses with political buttons on his jacket holds a sign reading "Shut down housing court until coronavirus is past." In the center, a Black woman with a neon yellow T-shirt and black jacket holds a sign reading "Defend your home versus exposure to the virus? No one should have to choose."

Massachusetts Affordable Housing Providers Lead With Voluntary Eviction Moratorium—But There’s More to Do

Boston didn't have the power to suspend evictions itself, so while advocates pushed the courts and the state legislature, affordable housing providers agreed to a voluntary eviction moratorium and the city encouraged other landlords to join.

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.
Blacksmith hammering iron on anvil

Housers: Now Is the Time to Buy Land

The coronavirus did not end the urban affordability crisis. To the contrary, it is only a matter of time before urban America’s restaurants, bars,...

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.

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...

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.
rural cooperative

We Need a Rural New Deal

COVID-19 is a combined health and economic crisis poised to further devastate rural communities already suffering severe economic stress. Already, rural health care systems...

Housing Policy Must Change in Wake of COVID-19

COVID-19 will hurt the low-income and housing insecure the most. We must act now to protect them—and ensure safe housing for all going forward. Here's how.
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...
Rep. Ilhan Omar, who stands at a podium in front of an American flag, has proposed legislation that would cancel rents and individual mortgage payments nationwide to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

Ilhan Omar Proposes Bill to Cancel Rent, Mortgage Payments During Pandemic

A bill announced today by Rep. Ilhan Omar would release tenants and homeowners from housing payments until the national emergency is lifted, and would make up the losses to landlords and lenders through a federal fund.
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.
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.

The Case for Building Tiny House Villages During the Pandemic

Tiny house villages cost less than extended hotel stays, can remain in place for years, and can help flatten the curve of disease transmission.
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.
Tape sign on stone floor: Wait your turn here

We Need Emergency Rental Assistance to Address COVID-19 Fallout

Stimulus funding should be prioritized to stabilize the housing market by providing emergency rental assistance, with adequate resources allotted for state and local governments in a timely and efficient manner.
a sign that promotes social distancing.

Three Lessons Learned from Working in Isolation

A New York-based organizer says although we may be physically divided due to social distancing, we can be emotionally bounded through our common purpose.
housing march

How Rent Control Promotes Racial Equity

Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, our long-standing housing affordability crisis called for universal rent control as a baseline protection.