Federal Coronavirus Response Package Includes Funding for Homelessness & Housing

After long days of advocacy and negotiation, Congress has reached a bipartisan agreement on a $2 trillion direct spending bill to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The Senate passed the bill on Tuesday; now it goes to the House for approval and then to the president’s desk for his signature as soon as possible.

Thank you for your advocacy: it worked!

Overall, the bill provides more than $12 billion in funding for HUD programs, including:

  • $4 billion for Emergency Solutions Grants for homelessness assistance
  • $5 billion in Community Development Block Grants
  • $1.25 billion for the Housing Choice Voucher program
  • $1 billion for project based rental assistance
  • $685 million for public housing
  • $300 million for tribal nations, and more

The bill also institutes a much-needed temporary moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for homeowners and renters in federally subsidized apartments and homes with federally backed mortgages.

Our partners at the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) have a full analysis and chart with more details.

This achievement wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated and effective advocacy of supporters, allies, and partners across the country. Our thanks to everyone who spoke up to call on Congress to meet the needs of people facing homelessness and housing instability during this public health crisis.

What comes next?

We have a lot more work ahead of us as this crisis unfolds. Housing Action Illinois will continue to work with our partners in NLIHC’s Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition, as well as with stakeholders in Illinois, to urge HUD to get these new resources to communities in need as quickly and effectively as possible.

To help us in that work, NLIHC has released a new, interactive Housing Instability and COVID-19 Map. The map shows for each U.S. county the number of renters who are experiencing or at risk of housing instability, including extremely low-income renters who are severely housing cost-burdened or living in overcrowded conditions, the number of people experiencing homelessness in the Continuum of Care to which each county belongs, and which counties have confirmed COVID-19 cases. 

We will continue to push for additional federal resources and policies needed to keep people experiencing homelessness safe and healthy and to ensure that low-income renters are stably housed.


Zeroing in on Illinois: State Efforts to Address Homelessness & Housing

Illinois Department of Human Services is making $6 million available throughout the state for isolation housing for people experiencing homelessness, as well as increasing homeless service providers’ funding by 5% to increase capacity. All Chicago Making Homelessness History will be facilitating the distribution of these funds and has sent the application out to local Continuums of Care.

Governor Pritzker has taken important steps to address COVID-19 in Illinois, including action to support those facing homelessness and housing instability. On March 20, he issued an Executive Order that includes a halt for court-ordered evictions around the state—a valuable protection for households on the brink.

Today, on March 26, the governor also announced the creation of the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund in collaboration with the United Way of Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations. This fund, which has already raised nearly $23 million from individual, corporate, and foundation donors, will be disbursed to nonprofit organizations across the state serving individuals, families and communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Preventing foreclosures

Housing Action Illinois and NHS of Chicago are calling on Governor Pritzker to take additional steps to support low- and moderate-income homeowners and prevent foreclosures, such as:

  • Calling on all banks serving Illinois residents to suspend foreclosures for the next 60 days and respond thoughtfully to borrowers struggling to make payments
  • Supporting funding for housing counseling and relief for low-income homeowners who are behind on mortgage payments due to lost income from the COVID-19 crisis

In the coming days and weeks, our elected officials and communities will have to take significant additional actions to prioritize the needs of people experiencing homelessness and facing housing instability. Our communities won’t truly be on a path to containment and recovery until we provide for everyone’s health and housing needs.