**First 100 Day Priority
As the country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, philanthropy should educate the administration on what is happening in their community and the vast need for immediate relief to those who are disproportionally impacted through a comprehensive federal relief bill. Relief must include robust funding for rental assistance and people experiencing homelessness as well as connected policies such as strong eviction moratorium.
This is a continuation of what is already being done, but now with a commitment to go beyond the minimum and stress the importance for these funds to be equitably utilized and targeted to ensure they are reaching the communities most in need who are often left out of the mainstream funding.
By using its convening power, philanthropy can facilitate community listening sessions that address the urgency of resources needed for individuals experiencing homelessness or housing instability. These listening sessions can provide a baseline for future conversations by starting the relationship-building process and expectation that communities and government entities should create feedback mechanisms on future policies.
Philanthropy has funded frameworks for equitable recovery and can urge the administration to incorporate these frameworks designed by grantee partners as requirements into emergency response funding and in other contexts such as disaster recovery. Funders can also use our COVID-19 Response and System Redesign Recommendations for Philanthropy to provide the administration with a view and understanding of how philanthropy can be a catalyst for racial and housing justice both and stress the need for the federal government to be an active partner in these efforts.
Funders can also host listening sessions with the administration to address the importance of actions to keep people experiencing homelessness healthy and safe, such as:
- Requiring the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) to prioritize addressing the public health implications for people experiencing homelessness such as higher risk of infection due to congregate shelter models; preexisting health conditions; inability to “shelter at home” and isolate; and lack of access to necessary resources.
- Elevating the CDC guidance to an order on no encampment evictions without individual housing.
- Ensuring people experiencing homelessness are prioritized in the vaccine distribution by including them in the definition of vulnerable or critical populations that should be part of first tier vaccination efforts, as well as staff who support people individuals experiencing homelessness.
- Prioritizing mobile outreach servicing for testing and treatment, especially within encampments due to people experiencing homelessness being at an increased risk for developing severe cases of COVID-19.
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