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August 27, 2020 | Volume 24, No. 8 | Archives
Federal Inaction on COVID-19 is a Disgrace
Months after the House Democrats passed an additional COVID-19 stimulus bill, the HEROES Act (see our analysis), Senate Republicans introduced a wholly inadequate HEALS Act (see our analysis). Congress then left for August recess in their home districts without a deal. Since then, Senate Republicans unveiled an even more inadequate proposal and the House Democrats passed a separate post office stimulus. While these most recent actions might serve as an opening for further stimulus negotiations, there is no movement or agreement in sight. The bottom line: Congress has the authority to prevent homelessness and evictions and they have failed to do so. Read our statement on this disgrace and see more under TAKE ACTION on how to demand a national moratorium on evictions and funds for rent relief and housing supports from Congress NOW.
Trump Releases Flurry of (Mostly Meaningless) Orders
In response to inaction in Congress on COVID-19, President Trump signed an executive order on evictions that does nothing to stem evictions or provide funds for rental assistance. Rather, it calls on federal agencies to “consider” if halting evictions is needed and “identify” funding for housing assistance. He additionally signed an executive memorandum on unemployment that raids the FEMA/Disaster Relief Fund – a funding source for states to respond to hurricanes, wildfires, and other disasters– to provide $300/week unemployment payments if states match $100/week and create a new state program to administer these funds. (Note: The legality of this order is questionable.) This month President Trump also signed orders on expanding telehealth flexibilities in Medicare; requiring FQHCs that participate in the 340B Drug Pricing Program to provide insulin and injectable epinephrine products at cost (note that the impact of this order is limited); suspending student loan payments and interest through December 31; and withholding certain payroll taxes.
Anti-Transgender Shelter Rule is Open for Comment
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a proposed rule that allows HUD-funded shelters to disregard gender identity and consider only biological sex. This rule removes protections and poses many concerns for those in the transgender community. The HCH community should submit comments to advocate against these changes by the September 22 deadline; see templates and more under TAKE ACTION.
Election Update - "Vot-ER"
The election draws closer, and communities and organizations must consider how they will ensure everyone is able to vote during the pandemic. Recent comments by President Trump, concerning actions from the Postmaster General, and the inability of Congress to find agreement on anything, are not encouraging for voters or advocates. However, the HCH community has access to resources such as Our Homes Our Votes and the You Don’t Need a Home to Vote Campaign. To further this work, the Council is proud to announce a partnership with “Vot-ER,” a web portal where you can determine registration status, register to vote, or request a mail-in ballot. Learn more about these initiatives by registering for our two voting-related webinars on September 11 and 18. See more under TAKE ACTION.
Presidential Candidate Health and Housing Platforms
It is no secret that the two presidential candidates have vast differences in their policy positions, and this has only been accentuated by coverage at the DNC and RNC this month.

See Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s health care plan to build on the ACA (read more from Vox) and his plan for housing centered on expanding Section 8 vouchers (read more from Vox). 

While the GOP opted out of writing a party platform this year, you can read about Republican nominee Donald Trump’s perpetual promises on health care and latest messaging on housing about how low-income housing units are “hell for suburbia.”
*New* From the Council
• Spread the word about consumer advocacy! NHCHC’s National Consumer Advisory Board started an Advocacy Committee to provide education, discuss advocacy strategies, and inform the policy work of NHCHC. Spread the word to consumers who have the experience of homelessness and contact to join or learn more.

Watch the recording of our anti-racism webinar: The NHCHC’s recent Coffee Chat webinar, Anti-Racism and Consumer Perspectives (listen to the recording here), discussed the issue of systemic racism and provided strategies for combatting it. Speakers included Judith Park, MSW/MPH Candidate at the University of Maryland, Baltimore; Mercedes Elizalde, Policy Director at Central City Concern; and Valarie Dowell, NHCHC Board Member. 

Read our new Medicare-for-All policy brief: NHCHC’s new resource assesses the COVID-19 response in single-payer countries in order to demonstrate why Medicare-for-All is needed in the U.S.  The Council will be using this brief to advocate for single payer on Capitol Hill and encourages the HCH community to use this in your own advocacy.

• Submit proposals for the conference: The Call For Proposals for the 2021 National Conference is open, and we need YOU to submit proposals on important policy and advocacy issues.  Note: Proposals submitted for the cancelled 2020 conference do not carry over. Contact with questions.

• Mark your calendars for voting and single-payer webinars: On September 11, 18 and 25, at 1 p.m. ET, NHCHC is hosting coffee chat webinars on elections, voter registration and Medicare-for-All. More information and registration for this series of Friday webinars can be found on the webinars page.
Some Good News
• Discriminatory health care rule blocked: Last year HHS proposed a rule that would violate civil liberties and compromise the health and security of transgender individuals in health care settings (read the Council’s comment against the proposal). Just before the rule was set to take effect this month, a judge issued a preliminary injunction to stop it -- victory!

Inspiration from a civil rights leader: In this video, hear the late civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis’s last words, Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation, read by Morgan Freeman. This essay serves as an invigorating reminder of what we need to do to move our country towards Justice. May he rest in power. 

• Teenagers pave the way: While many policymakers sit idle, teenagers are organizing, demanding a seat at the table, and asking: “What does the world look like if we didn’t have police or if we had more resources to support people?” (See more from youth activists in Chicago.) They also are saying, "It's not really explained [in the education system] that modern-day slavery still exists in the justice system. That's what needs to be talked about." (See more from youth activists in Detroit.)

• Medicaid Expansion Wins in Oklahoma and Missouri: This summer Oklahoma and Missouri voted to expand Medicaid through ballot initiatives. This is a notable victory as both states faced opposition from conservative public officials for many years.  An estimated 340,000 people will gain health coverage once the programs expand in both states.
Did you receive Mobilizer as a forwarded email or hear about it via social media? Register now to receive our action alerts each month!
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Regina Reed, MPH
National Health Policy Organizer
National HCH Council
Baltimore, MD
(443) 703-1337 

• Demand Congress Act on COVID-19: Congressional leadership needs to act immediately to provide long overdue housing and homelessness protections (included in the HEROES Act passed by the House months ago) and to prevent homelessness, poverty, and financial ruin that disproportionately affects the most vulnerable. Take a few minutes to act on your outrage (no policy expertise required); find tools on NLIHC’s portal to contact your member of Congress; sign your organization on a letter; share stories; and post on social media. Tell Congress to #DoYourJob!
Demand Action
• Comment on HUD’s Anti-Transgender Rule: Do you think it’s unjust that HUD is targeting a population that already disproportionately lacks access to safe shelter? The Housing Saves Lives portal makes it easy to comment on HUD’s rule that allows shelters to discriminate against transgender people by disregarding their gender identity. Fight back by telling HUD what you think and submitting a comment! The deadline is September 22. Contact for a copy of our comment letter that can be used as a template.
Submit a Comment
• Register Staff and Clients to Vote: Vot-ER is a web portal to help people determine their registration status, register to vote, or request a mail-in ballot from their state. NHCHC has a specialized link for our community to share widely with colleagues and clients. We recommend HCH staff add a line to their email signature “Participating in our democracy is critical to our individual and communal well-being. Check to see if you are registered, register to vote, or request a mail-in ballot in your state here.” You can also download resources for staff (badges with QR codes (back) or phone lock screen with QR code) or encourage people to text “Vote NHCHC” to 34444 to begin the process. For questions about Vot-ER or voting for people experiencing homelessness, please reach out to Katherine Cavanaugh, Consumer Advocate, at
Share Vot-ER Link
What We're Reading
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