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.

 

The Foreclosure Crisis Waiting for Us in January

Although homeowners have so far accessed financial relief from the pandemic much more easily than renters, housing counselors are bracing for a foreclosure crisis as forbearance terms start to end.

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.
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.

Massachusetts Showed States How to Create an Eviction Ban. Now It’s Backpedaling

The Massachusetts eviction moratorium—one of the strongest in the nation—expired, just in time for winter. How did this happen?

What an Effective Eviction Moratorium Must Include

An eviction moratorium must hit all five phases of eviction to protect public health. Here's what's needed for an eviction halt policy to do its job.

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.
A large group of cheering people wearing yellow T-shirts hold a sign that reads "Homes Guarantee". In the background, a large sign reads "People before profits, politics, polluters."

Housing Justice Organizers Don’t Want to Return to ‘Normal’

As they organize for immediate relief for those whose housing was affected by the pandemic, tenant leaders are also building power to demand long-term changes.
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,...
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. 

A Bolder Future for Housing Justice: ‘These Times Call for Radical Actions’

Housing advocates working at the local, state, and national levels discuss new research and policy recommendations for advancing housing justice.

Building Camaraderie in a Virtual Workspace

How one community development corporation's youth program flourished during the pandemic
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.
Human chain paper with light and shadow on wood table

Forming Partnerships With Public Health Departments, Part 1: Why It’s a Good Idea

What public health practitioners do and why community partners are essential to their goal of health equity.
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.

The CARES Act Was Supposed to Protect NJ Tenants from Eviction. It Didn’t.

State activists say eviction cases were filed in violation of the CARES Act’s ban on evictions. Pre-trial settlement conferences are further complicating the situation.
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.

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.
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.

Residents of Nonprofit Housing Have Lower Rates of COVID

Affordable housing providers have touted the connections between health and the places where people live for years. In a small city outside of Boston, the evidence is incontrovertible.
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.