Our statement on justice for George Floyd, cash benefits for consumers, etc
Our statement on justice for George Floyd, cash benefits for consumers, etc
Share this:
April 29, 2021 | Volume 25, No. 4 | Archives
Tears, Relief, Anger
by NHCHC CEO, Bobby Watts, MPH, MS
I was surprised that I started tearing when I heard "The Verdict" in the Derek Chauvin case, and it took me a while to identify the predominant emotion as RELIEF. I was relieved that a just decision was reached, and black and brown communities would be spared another sharp reminder that their lives matter less than those of others.

Soon, my chief emotion became ANGER. Anger that something so fundamental as a just verdict from the “justice system” should be so elusive and up for grabs and generate surprise and relief when it occurs. Anger that something that white people take for granted in America is still an exception for those of darker hue. 

I became angry as I heard commentators refer to The Verdict as “a new beginning” or “an inflection point." My thought is that, by itself, The Verdict changes almost nothing. At most, by itself, it has set a new floor of what we can reasonably expect: IF there’s overwhelming video evidence and eyewitnesses that includes a fire department EMT, and IF the chief of police testifies against the officer’s actions, now it’s not unreasonable for us to hope for a just verdict.

Finally, I get angry when I hear people refer to the protests of the past year as a “reckoning” on race. South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission showed that they could not create a different society without first facing their past and the current situation. As a nation, we have not come close to reckoning (as in ‘to face’ or ‘to calculate’) the impact our racist policies inflict on our society. Our elected officials have steadfastly refused to even consider studying reparations as a possible way to repair our society. But we have a chance to change that. The House and Senate can pass a bill to create such a commission to look at reparations [see the box on H.R. 40 and the Council’s support for it].

As individuals and as the HCH community, we have a chance -- and a responsibility -- to make sure The Verdict can be part of a new beginning toward our vision of a better and more equitable world.
H.R. 40 establishes a commission to study and develop a proposal for reparations for descendants of U.S. slaves and has been introduced in the House of Representatives since 1989. This month, the bill passed out of House committee for the first time. The Council is proud to join hundreds of organizations calling for Congress to pass this bill. See the statement 'Why We Can't Wait.'
New Cash Resources Available for Consumers
Case managers and front-line staff should know about opportunities for financial relief available to their clients and how to access them. See the latest information on how to benefit from Stimulus/Survival Checks, the Federal Eviction Moratorium (now extended to June 30), Rental Assistance, Emergency Broadband Benefit, and FEMA Funeral Relief. Note the deadline for filing taxes to receive the stimulus check for qualified individuals is May 17. Questions about benefits for consumers can be sent to kcavanaugh@nhchc.org.
TAKE ACTION: Forward this information to caseworkers and other colleagues to ensure our clients are able to access the cash benefits available to them!
Health Center Money from the American Rescue Plan
This month, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a $6.1 billion investment from the American Rescue Plan Act for community health centers to expand access to care. Funds have been distributed to every health center with guidelines that allow for flexible use of the funding to address a wide range of needs. Our issue brief and recorded community discussion outline some possibilities for connecting these funds to the additional HUD funds coming to communities (which total more than $70 billion).
TAKE ACTION: Health center leadership should consider collaborations with Continuums of Care (or other partners) to identify how multiple funding streams can be combined to improve community-wide systems of care for people experiencing homelessness. Use our issue brief to facilitate these discussions.
Advocacy on the MAT Act
The Council is continuing advocacy to promote the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act, which eliminates the burdensome requirement for providers to obtain a separate “X-waiver” through the DEA to prescribe buprenorphine. Watch a recent Congressional hearing and read testimony on this bill and other addiction proposals here.
TAKE ACTION: If you are a medical provider or patient working with a Medication Assisted Treatment program and are interested in eliminating the X-waiver and reducing barriers to treatment, please contact rreed@nhchc.org to learn more.
Vaccines, Vaccines, Vaccines
The CDC lifted its pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and is encouraging all communities to resume use. The Council issued a follow-up statement encouraging the HCH community to offer as much vaccine choice as possible. As vaccination rates continue to rise, the Council continues its work combatting barriers to vaccine access for people experiencing homelessness. Listen to the recordings of our webinars featuring collaborations in Washington, DC, and Minnesota that strengthened service provision to people experiencing homelessness and led to early access to COVID-19 vaccines. Join us on April 29 for the third part of this series featuring Chicago, IL. On CNN, Council CEO Bobby Watts and LifeLong Medical Care spoke on Erin Burnett OutFront about the progress and challenges of vaccinating people experiencing homelessness against COVID-19 (see video and article).
Sign up for the bi-weekly Council COVID-19 Flash Blast to get the latest resources and updates on vaccines and other COVID-19 news.
President Biden Addresses Congress
Last night President Biden made his first address to Congress (see prepared remarks and video with a shout-out to health centers at minute 10:30). The hour-long speech promoted his two major spending proposals (see more below), and called for action on a number of policies including tax reform, a $15-an-hour minimum wage, gun control, immigration reform, LGBTQ rights, police violence, and more. During the speech Biden touted “health care should be a right, not a privilege in America” but did not directly press for any major reform, instead calling for incremental changes such as lowering marketplace deductibles and drug prices.
'Build Back Better' Spending Plans Stall in Congress
The Biden Administration continues to roll out major spending proposals as part of Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ agenda. This month, Biden released a $2 trillion infrastructure proposal, the American Jobs Plan, which includes $213 billion for developing affordable housing and $100 billion for expanding broadband. Yesterday the Biden Administration released the $1.8 B American Families Plan proposal which includes food assistance, paid leave, and other anti-poverty measures. Further analysis will be available in the coming week. While partisan negotiations have begun on the next stimulus, no legislation has been released and a timeline is unknown as Congress turns its focus to the budget (see below) and other priorities such as voting rights and police violence.
Work Begins on Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Budget
Over the next few weeks, Congress will move forward on passing a federal budget. This month, President Biden released a $1.5 trillion budget request (summary) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 that represents an 8.4% increase over the FY 2021 enacted level and a generous 15% increase for Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and 23% increase for Health and Human Services (HHS) (see health and housing highlights). Biden will release a full budget request later in the spring, and House and Senate committees will put forward their proposals in the coming weeks. Find updated budget charts on our appropriations page and action alerts on health center funding from our partners at the National Association for Community Health Centers. Advocacy opportunity: The Council encourages local organizations to take advantage of budget earmarks by submitting requests to your member of Congress.
Medicaid Changes Under Biden
The Senate confirmation of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure as Administrator of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is delayed over controversy about Texas’ Medicaid waiver. Without a leader to guide the key agency overseeing Medicaid, the Biden Administration slowly continues efforts to roll back Medicaid work requirements. This month, the administration pulled the plug on Michigan’s work requirements, joining three other states as revoked: New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Arkansas. See our updated Health Insurance brief that illustrates the positive impact of Medicaid expansion for Health Care for the Homeless programs. How does your state rank on providing insurance to HCH patients?
Housing Changes Under Biden
Last week, HUD announced a roll-back of the prior Administration’s rules that would undermine the Equal Access Rule, which ensures that all individuals—regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation—have access to HUD-funded services. New guidance is available to support equal access to housing and shelter for transgender people.
Local Advocacy Spotlight
Los Angeles, CA: The Council was proud to join local advocates and a national coalition effort led by the National Coalition for Housing Justice to prevent celebrity Dr. Drew Pinsky from being nominated to the Los Angeles Homeless Authority Board of Directors. Dr. Drew previously referred to the housing crisis as a “hoax,” (among other egregious short-comings) and was not an appropriate choice to lead LA’s efforts to prevent and end homelessness.
Phoenix, AZ: Council member and Phoenix clinic, Circle the City, made national news with their efforts to vaccinate 500 people experiencing homelessness in five days. Way to go, Phoenix! Keep spreading the word about the need to vaccinate our nation’s most vulnerable people.
Send rreed@nhchc.org the work you’re doing to be featured in next month’s Local Advocacy Spotlight!
2021 Virtual Conference
Join us at the virtual 2021 National HCH Conference & Policy Symposium on May 10-14, 2021. The registration deadline is Thursday, May 6. Whether you’re interested in exploring racial equity or medical respite/recuperative care, harm reduction, or trauma-informed care, we hope you will join us as we unite to explore the future of homeless health care and real solutions to homelessness. To help plan your week, see a list of all the policy/advocacy sessions and note the exhilarating pre-conference session entitled Advocacy for the Revolution (great for beginner advocates!). Note, the Council is providing subsidies to support attendance for people with the experience of homelessness.
What We're Reading
Did you receive Mobilizer as a forwarded email or hear about it via social media? Register now to receive our action alerts each month!
Sign Up for Mobilizer
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.
604 Gallatin Ave., Suite 106 | Nashville, TN 37206 US
powered by emma
Subscribe to our email list.