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COVID-19 Housing & Homelessness Update 3/27/20

As the global pandemic continues and the situation changes rapidly, the VAHC is following COVID-19 news with a special emphasis on housing, homelessness, and our low-income and vulnerable Vermonters. Please read the following important news updates.

BREAKING NEWS: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act (H.R. 748, “CARES Act”) passes both chambers of Congress – including $12b for housing and $2b for VT. Resource materials:


General COVID-19 Resources

For the most recent information about the pandemic in Vermont, visit the Department of Health webpageHere is the last daily update from the Department of Health.

Translated materials are now available on the Vermont Health Website: *Scroll down to the Translated Materials part of the page*

For a comprehensive list of resources about COVID-19 in Vermont, click here.

For sector specific guidance about the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order from the ACCD, click here.

Resources for Community Developers from the  National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations. Click here.

TaxVox Blog – How Will The Coronavirus Stimulus Bill’s Individual Payments Work? Click here.


Written comments on the FY21 budget are due to the Senate Appropriations committee by March 31. Though the Legislature is no longer meeting in person at the State House due to the pandemic, an increasing number of committees are meeting remotely. The first priority for all committees continues to be addressing emergency needs due to the coronavirus crisis. At some point lawmakers will hopefully be able to turn their attention to recovery and a more normal order. Your comments on both immediate, crisis-related funding needs, as well as funding for FY 21 are needed to support VHCB and the other funding issues in the VAHC & VCEH State Legislative PrioritiesRead the press release


The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities today released a statement from Robert Greenstein, president, on the Senate’s passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“The bipartisan Senate COVID-19 package includes important provisions that will help mitigate the sharp economic decline now starting. The House should pass it and then Congress should begin work on another bill to address critical missing pieces. Meeting this crisis will demand a sustained response by all of us — and Congress is no exception. Lawmakers will need to do substantially more in subsequent bills to address urgent needs in areas like health coverage and food assistance for struggling families.”


The National Low Income Housing Coalition has released a new, interactive Housing Instability and COVID-19 Map.

The map shows, for each U.S. county, the number of renters who are experiencing or at-risk of housing instability, including extremely low-income renters who are severely housing cost-burdened or living in overcrowded conditions, the number of people experiencing homelessness in the Continuum of Care to which each county belongs, and which counties have confirmed COVID-19 cases.

It makes clear that the spread of the virus and the looming economic crisis threatens millions of low-income families and people experiencing homelessness.


Updates from the National Alliance to End Homelessness:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance on responding to the COVID-19 outbreak among people experiencing unsheltered homelessness. 

  1. Key takeaways include the importance of providing information to people experiencing homelessness, not clearing encampments, creating isolation housing, recommendations for outreach staff, and more. Read the full guidance

New Report: Impacts of COVID-19 on People Experiencing Homelessness

  1. A new report from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, UCLA, and Boston University project impacts of the coronavirus outbreak on people experiencing homelessness: homeless individuals infected by COVID-19 would be twice as likely to be hospitalized, two to four times as likely to require critical care, and two to three times as likely to die than the general population.

  2. Researchers estimate that $11.5 billion will be needed to appropriately prevent and manage the spread of COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness. Download the report


Resources from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessn


  1. USICH Webinar (3/24/20) Recording and Slides – COVID-19 Planning and Response: Isolation and Quarantine: Lessons Learned from King County. Click here.

  2. From HUD: Essential Services for Encampments During an Infectious Disease Outbreak (3/23/20) Click here.

  3. HUD’s Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPS) weekly Office Hours sessions to discuss COVID-19 planning and response will be on Fridays from 2:30 – 4:00 PM EDT. The next session will be this Friday, March 27, 2020. Click here.

  4. From HUD Exchange – COVID19 Prevention and Response for Homeless Providers: Daily Resource Digest. Click here.


USDA RD COVID-19 Notice:

  1. “USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Rural Development will keep our customers, partners, and stakeholders continuously updated as more actions are taken to better serve rural America.”

  2. These actions include:

  3. Borrowers with USDA single-family housing Direct and Guaranteed loans are subject to a moratorium on foreclosure and eviction

  4. Changes to the Guaranteed Loan Program, Direct Loan Program, Rural Utilities Service, and Rural Business Cooperative Service

  5. For Section 515 Multifamily Housing:

  6. Deadlines for tenant certifications have been pushed back

  7. Late fees on Section 515 mortgages will be waived

  8. Section 515 Annual Financial Statements due Mar 31 have been extended

  9. USDA encourages all owners to work with impacted residents and families to adjust rent payments, enter into forbearance agreements, and lessen the impact on affected residents Read the full notification.

USDA Rural Development Launches COVID-19 Resource Webpage

  1. USDA Rural Development has launched a COVID-19 resource page to keep their customers, partners, and stakeholders continuously updated on actions taken by the Agency to help rural residents, businesses, and communities impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Visit the page.


Other Updates:

  1. The Regional Response Command Center for Washington & Northern Orange Counties made a public announcement including:

  2. A one-page summary overview of the Regional Response Command Center. Click here.

  3. The current organizational chart as of this moment. Please note that the Command Center is a modular system, and this organizational chart is likely to change. Click here.

  4. The Department of Veterans Affairs in Vermont has implemented significant and critical changes to care provided to Veterans in response to COVID-19. Please see their flyer.

  5. “Across the VISN we are transitioning all CBOCs to virtual or telephone care only. All face-to-face visits will stop no later than April 2.” Read the full press release.

  6. Vermont Senate President, Tim Ashe is hosting daily live update calls about the state’s response to the pandemic. More information here


News Updates from VT Digger:

  1. Burlington’s North Beach to shelter homeless during pandemic. Read the article

  2. Woolf: Vermont jobless claims spike, surpassing Great Recession high. Read the article

  3. Live Updates from VT Digger


Good news from the field – VT responds to the crisis:

VHFA grants $120,000 to help meet immediate housing needs arising from Coronavirus pandemic. Read more

Good Samaritan Haven worked with Capstone Community Development and the State of Vermont to relocate shelter guests from three different shelters into a former motel in Montpelier on Sunday night. Read more

Wishing you health in these uncertain times.

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