Reflecting on thankfulness, looking forward to a new administration & more!
Reflecting on thankfulness, looking forward to a new administration & more!
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November 24, 2020 | Volume 24, No. 11 | Archives
Giving thanks?
Happy Thanksgiving week! While elections can bring promise and hope, they are not a magic wand for fixing the major tragedies and hardships that have defined 2020. COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise, evictions loom for millions, encampments are being swept even though the CDC advises against it, and the Health Care for the Homeless community is bracing to face tough challenges this winter. In the midst of all this, however, we approach a holiday season focused on gratitude and gifts. Here is what I am grateful for:
  • Newly elected lawmakers who represent record-breaking diversity in office (see more under Candidate Corner).
  • An energized generation of young students building a better future by rewriting the Hippocratic oath to include racial justice messaging and opting-in for careers in public health.
  • Brilliant coworkers who are able to bring humor to the job no matter how dark the work gets. See a meme, courtesy of the Council’s Behavioral Health Coordinator, Kelli.
As we approach our final December 2020 “gratitude” edition of the Mobilizer, let us know what you’re grateful for this year so we can feature it.
Tell Us What You're Grateful For
The Mobilizer is written on the ancestral land of the Pakestikweya people in Baltimore City. We humbly offer gratitude and respect to the elders, past and present citizens of the Cedarville Band of the Piscataway Conoy, the Piscataway Indian Nation, and the Piscataway Conoy Tribe, all Algonquian Peoples. 
News to Know
A new administration begins: Joe Biden is set to be inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States on January 20, 2021. President Trump’s refusal to concede the election is preventing the Biden transition team from accessing necessary resources. Even so, Biden is moving forward by laying out a transition plan, announcing White House staff and hinting at cabinet members, and putting together a COVID-19 task force that is doing their best to start working despite the roadblocks from the Trump administration. Biden ran on a health care agenda that supports developing a public option for insurance coverage and doubling community health center funds (among other provisions), and a housing agenda that supports greater access to Section 8 vouchers and emergency funding for homelessness (among other provisions). We await to see how, if, and when these provisions become reality. The Council is in the process of communicating with the HUD and HHS transition teams to ensure the priorities of the HCH community are heard. 
Trump-era of dangerous rule-making comes to an end: Trump’s presidency was littered with federal rule-making and Executive Orders that restricted access to housing and health care services. HCHers might recall the Council’s comment letters against the implementation of rules on accessing shelter for LGBTQ people, limiting social security benefits, restricting food stamp access, and discriminating in health care, to name only a few. Most recently, the Trump administration released an Executive Order that mandates the end of federally funded racial and gender equity-focused trainings by government contractors, technical assistance providers, and grantees. Many groups filed lawsuits against the rule and called on the Biden administration to overturn the rule. The Council will continue to report on additional actions the Trump administration takes in its final days, as well as the process of rolling back these restrictions we anticipate with the new Biden administration. [Regardless, the Council will continue to promote and create race and gender equity with trainings and publications with its private funds].
While the future of the Senate is unknown, work continues on passing the federal budget and advocating for an additional COVID-19 aid package: The balance of power in Congress remains unknown until the Georgia runoff elections in January. Until then, Congress is approaching a deadline in the lame-duck session to reach a budget agreement or risk a shutdown on December 11. While the Senate and House released proposed spending bills (see our updated budget chart), negotiations over various provisions will likely bring the debate right up to the deadline. Congress continues to flounder on a COVID-19 relief bill deal.
TAKE ACTION: It remains important that we tell Congress to immediately pass a COVID-19 stimulus that includes an eviction moratorium and $100 billion in rental assistance. Find updated tools on NLIHC’s portal to contact your member of Congress; sign your organization on a letter; share stories; and post on social media.
New fact sheet to use in your advocacy: COVID-19 Relief Money & Support for the HCH Community
Millions face eviction on January 1 when the moratorium ends: The CDC released an order halting most evictions due to nonpayment of rent through December 31, 2020. However, renters need to complete a signed declaration to be protected (see our notice). The CDC, while under the Trump administration, is not likely to renew the order and last month they issued new guidance empowering landlords to challenge tenant declarations. Now, 5-7 million households are potentially at risk of an eviction filing come January. Take Action (see above) to ensure Congress provides needed relief and a moratorium now!
Affordable Care Act heard in Supreme Court: On November 10, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on California v. Texas, which will determine the fate of the Affordable Care Act (including Medicaid expansion). Conservative Justices Kavanaugh and Roberts signaled they were in favor of upholding most of the law, and health policy experts say it is likely the ACA (and Medicaid expansion) will remain the law of the land. A decision is expected by June 2021. Learn about potential impacts.
"Winter is Coming"
As communities are continuing to respond to a surge in COVID-19, winter presents additional challenges including cold weather, flu season, evictions, natural disasters, and ongoing civil unrest. The HCH community must continue to Take Action (see above) at the federal level advocating for more resources. 
Other "Winter is Coming" resources:
Candidate Corner
2020 moved the needle in diversity of representation in public office, though there is still much work to be done to attain true “representation” in Congress. Highlights include: 
  • Kamala Harris made history as the first woman and the first woman of color to be elected vice president. (Did you know she is not the first person of color?)
  • Cori Bush is the first black female elected to Congress from the state of Missouri and --notably -- has the lived experience of homelessness.
  • The U.S. House of Representatives elected the most diverse group of LGBTQ candidates.
  • While a large gender gap remains, 117 of the 318 female candidates running for a seat in Congress were women of color. In 2021, at least 50 women of color will serve in the U.S. Congress-- up from 44 last year.
Next month we will highlight local and state initiatives that passed on the ballot. Let us know what passed in your state and we will feature it next month.
*New* Podcast on Evictions
Regina interviews Noëlle Porter (Director of Government Affairs, National Housing Law Project) and award-winning attorney and artist, Rasheedah Phillips (Managing Attorney for Housing Policy at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia). In this episode, we talk about the past and present of the eviction crisis, current policies and how they either prevent or force evictions, and how to be a better advocate to end homelessness. Listen on SoundcloudApple, or Stitcher.
Homeless Persons' Memorial Day is December 21
On December 21, the first day of winter and the longest night of the year, we take part in Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day events.  Unfortunately, 2020 marks 30 years of honoring those without homes who have passed away in our communities. Visit the HPMD landing page to find a social media toolkit and resources on creating a meaningful experience in your community. Make plans to attend the national HPMD Virtual Memorial on Monday, December 21, at 4 p.m. ET, hosted by the National Coalition for the Homeless. Register here! Earlier on the 21st at 12 p.m. ET, we are hosting a Twitter storm chat; look for more information next month.
What We're Reading
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Regina Reed, MPH
Health Policy Manager
National HCH Council
Baltimore, MD
(443) 703-1337 
This publication and all HCH advocacy are funded by dues from Organizational Members of the Council and by private donations. Consider joining the Council to support this work.
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