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NHCHC Commends Passage of CARES Act, Emphasizes a Long Road Ahead

NASHVILLE, TN, March 30, 2020 – The president signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748) into law on March 27, 2020, providing $2 trillion in direct spending to address the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Council advocated for the inclusion of housing and homelessness resources in this third package and for the $4 billion provided for Emergency Solutions Grants to be allowable for medical respite services and street outreach. We were pleased to see these provisions in the bill, which includes $1.32 billion for community health centers, $12 billion for the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a moratorium on evictions, and billions more to address medical supply shortages and other critical public health needs. Find a Summary of Key Provisions.

“The CARES Act is an important step to support our health centers and other clinical providers on the front lines of this pandemic, working hard to treat people experiencing homelessness and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. NHCHC commends the passing of this bill and strongly encourages lawmakers on Capitol Hill to continue work on legislation that will further support our health care providers and people experiencing homelessness who are particularly vulnerable,” says G Robert Watts, CEO of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC).

People with the experience of homelessness are concerned that funds won’t make it down to those who need it most. Co-Chair of NHCHC’s National Consumer Advisory Board, Deidre Young, says:  “While I wish it didn’t take a pandemic to get Congress on board with the homelessness crisis, I am glad to see this bill passed.  Clinics supporting the homeless are stretched thin. I worry about people living in shelters and outside. We need policymakers to make sure people on the streets see the benefits of the new funds.”

Before this crisis began, we acknowledged that the housing and health care infrastructure in this country is designed and administered in a way that drives people into homelessness and makes it difficult to escape homelessness. Incoming Chair of NHCHC’s Policy Committee, and Policy Director at Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless, Rachel Biggs asserts, “We are hopeful that because of the CARES Act Health Care for the Homeless clinics will have access to the essential supplies, personal protective equipment, and additional funding to ensure staffing and operations can continue to address the pandemic, while also guaranteeing health care to people without homes in the future. We have a long road ahead and will continue to advocate for additional resources while also working toward permanent changes that ensure no one goes without a home or without access to proper health care.”

NHCHC will continue to update our community on policy developments at the federal level, and provide guidance and strategy for obtaining and utilizing funding that will soon be available.  Please regularly check our COVID-19 Landing Page and refer to our Needed Policy Response sheet, Summary of Key Provisions in federal legislation, and further analysis of housing and health center provisions in federal legislation from our partners.

Contact: Barbara DiPietro, PhD, Senior Director of Policy, 443-703-1346,

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