I hope you and your families are well and taking good care of yourselves. I’m writing at this unprecedented time to update you on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the Law Center and on our work. Our staff is now all working remotely, and we are all working tirelessly to ensure that our unhoused neighbors are protected and safe.
Last week, we published a webpage and policy recommendations outlining the critical needs of people experiencing homelessness during this public health crisis. They have already been shared widely and several are included in new guidelines from the CDC issued on Sunday. But there is much more work to do, and we are calling on all governments, businesses, and organizations to:
- House people experiencing homelessness in hotels, motels, and/or RVs for the duration of the crisis.
- Place a moratorium on sweeping encampments and seizing homeless people’s tents and other temporary structures and stop enforcement of laws prohibiting resting and sheltering oneself in public space.
- Increase access to hygiene and sanitation services for those living in unsheltered areas.
- Place a moratorium on vehicle ticketing, towing, and impoundment.
- Immediately and safely decrease the number of people incarcerated for laws criminalizing homelessness and other non-violent offenses
- Take K-12 students experiencing homelessness into account as schools close and leave children without meals or access to necessary technology.
- Take college and university students experiencing homelessness into account as universities close and remove students from housing.
- Make federal, state, and local surplus governmental property available for safe camping, parking and access to supplies and services.
- Prevent new homelessness by immediately halting ALL eviction and foreclosure proceedings, put a moratorium on evictions, and ban the imposition of late fees on missed rental or mortgage payments during the crisis.
- Ensure that any emergency cash relief measures designed to assist people with the economic impact of the Coronavirus crisis are also made available to and reach homeless people.
We hope you will join us in calling for all these necessary actions at the federal, state, and local level; we will share more advocacy resources and tools as we have them, so please keep checking our website and social media.
This is a frightening and difficult time for all of us, and the burden falls especially heavily on our unhoused neighbors. Today, more than ever, the need for housing as a basic human right is crystal clear. It is essential for the health of those who lack it and for the health of our communities.
This is also a challenging time for our organization. Because of the crisis, we have made the difficult decision to indefinitely postpone the Law Center’s annual LEAP luncheon and our National Forum on the Human Right to Housing. We are working to determine alternative events and will let you know as soon as we have more information.
With our events on hold and the future unclear, we must do more with fewer resources. Yet the need for our work is now greater than ever, and I ask that you consider donating to the Law Center. Your support, no matter how large or small, is crucial to our continued fight to protect the basic human rights of people experiencing homelessness and to advocate for the human right to housing.
With thanks and warm wishes–
Founder & Executive Director
Changing Laws. Changing Lives.
The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (the Law Center) is the only national organization dedicated solely to using the power of the law to end and prevent homelessness. With the support of a large network of pro bono lawyers, we address the immediate and long-term needs of people who are homeless or at risk through outreach and training, advocacy, impact litigation, and public education.