National Week of Action: Grants Pass v. Johnson

On April 22, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the case of City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson. This is the most significant Supreme Court case about the rights of people experiencing homelessness in decades, where the Court will determine whether a local government can arrest or fine people for sleeping outside when adequate shelter is not available.

The campaign urges advocates to join the National Low Income Housing Coalition, National Homelessness Law Center, National Coalition for the Homeless, and National Alliance to End Homelessness by taking action during the week of April 22. Together, we will urge policymakers at all levels of government to oppose the criminalization of homelessness and instead support long-term solutions to the affordable housing and homelessness crisis.

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Campaign Sends Letter to Congress Urging Leaders to Advance Bipartisan Housing Bills  

The campaign sent a letter to Congress urging them to include the Eviction Crisis Act and the Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers Act in any bipartisan housing packages that moves forward in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban  Affairs Committee. Signatories included 27 leading national organizations from an array of sectors, including Children’s HealthWatch, Church World Service, Food Research & Action Center, Healthcare Anchor Network, Justice in Aging, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, National Women’s Law Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, and more. Both bills are top priorities for the campaign and the enactment of each would represent major steps forward in tackling the nation’s housing crisis.

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Campaign Panel at NLIHC’s Annual Forum Highlights the Intersections of Housing, Environment and Health  

Over 100 NLIHC forum participants attended the campaign’s breakout session, “A Multi-Sector Approach to Achieving Justice and Equity at the Intersections of Housing, Environment, and Health.” Panelists include Chantelle Wilkinson, National Campaign Director, Dr. Sabrina Johnson, Senior Housing Policy Advocate at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Edgar Barraza, Energy Equity Policy Coordinator at Physicians for Social Responsibility- Los Angeles (PSR-LA). The speakers discussed how findings from a recent NRDC and PSR-LA report on centering environmental justice and health equity in building decarbonization clearly demonstrate the importance of equitable housing policies.

Those working to advance environmental causes and health equity often cite housing justice as critical for ensuring sustainable and healthy communities, and Dr. Johnson and Barraza both shared how housing fits into their work as environmental and health advocates. The panelists concluded the session by sharing what they look forward to as partnerships between housing, health, and environmental advocates continue to grow and why they each believe coalitions are needed to combat the housing affordability crisis.

NRDC is a Steering Committee member of the campaign.

“We want good, affordable homes on healthy lands, and to end the vicious cycle of poisoning our people.”
-Edgar Barraza, Energy Equity Policy Coordinator at Physicians for Social Responsibility- Los Angeles
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New Report From SchoolHouse Connection Examines Infant and Toddler Homelessness in the U.S.

Campaign roundtable member SchoolHouse Connection released a report last month examining infant and toddler homelessness in the U.S during 2021-2022. The data used in the report are the result of the first state-by-state data collection effort focused on infant and toddler homelessness and provide the most comprehensive look at homelessness among the nation’s youngest children to date.

The report analyzes federal and other available data to estimate the number of infants and toddlers who experienced homelessness in 2021 at the national and state levels and to identify patterns among enrollment in early childhood development programs in the 2021-2022 program year. The analysis reveals that approximately 2.5% of children of ages three or less in the U.S. experienced homelessness during the 2021-2022 program year; that children make up 40% of all individuals facing eviction; and that the rate of eviction for families with children is two times that of families without children. Significant numbers of infants and toddlers experience other housing problems, according to the report, with 2.9% of babies and toddlers having moved three or more times since birth and 15.2% living in crowded housing. The report also provides policy recommendations for state and federal actions to improve access to critical housing supports, including increasing safe, affordable housing options; providing emergency rental assistance and housing stability services; and targeting housing choice vouchers and mobility services to families with young children.

The report builds on an existing body of research that demonstrates the harmful effects of homelessness on children, particularly infants and toddlers in critical stages of physical and cognitive development. Read the campaign’s latest fact sheet, Child Anti-Poverty Advocates are Housing Advocates, for more information about the impact of homelessness on child well-being and family stability.

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Catholic Health Association Shares Article on Health and Housing Partnerships

Campaign Roundtable member Catholic Health Association shared an article highlighting local partnerships between health care and housing providers. The article recounts how two Oklahoma City Catholic hospitals and a nonmedical respite care center partnered to ensure adult patients experiencing homelessness can recover safely and receive wraparound services, including support with finding permanent housing. The article also describes two other examples of cities with transitional respite programs and suggests that partnerships between health and housing providers can serve as models for cities looking for ways to better care for residents experiencing homelessness.

Read the article here.

Read the Article

New Article from Urban Institute Examines Effects of Housing Instability on Educational Outcomes 

Campaign Roundtable member Urban Institute released an article last month through its Housing Matters initiative. The article examines the effects of housing instability on student educational outcomes, identifies challenges in accurately assessing the number of students experiencing housing instability, and provides policy recommendations to improve outcomes and support students’ housing needs. Policy recommendations include providing more resources to school districts to identify students experiencing housing instability, expanding the ability of school districts to support students’ housing needs, and building partnerships between school districts and housing support systems.

The article reviews the broad definition of housing instability and explores how this definition complicates attempts to generate an accurate count of the number of people in unstable housing situations. When it comes to assessing the housing needs of students, for example, HUD’s annual report on worst-case housing needs includes data on children younger than 18 but does not include data for school-age children specifically, making it difficult to accurately count the number of such students experiencing unstable housing. The article also highlights how disparities resulting from housing discrimination make students of color more likely than white students to belong to households with extremely low incomes and more likely to experience homelessness, both of which may lead to particularly negative academic effects. The article goes on to review the ways in which housing instability disrupts learning, including the long-lasting effects of eviction filings on school attendance, the effect of frequent moves on high school completion, and the effect of overcrowding on child well-being and academic achievement. The article concludes with a list of evidence-based strategies that state and federal policymakers can adopt to best reach students in unstable housing situations.

“Connecting stakeholders in schools, like teachers or homelessness liaisons, to those in housing, like federal program officers or nonprofit workers, is key to increasing both groups’ ability to respond to students’ housing needs.”
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