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COVID-19 Policy Correspondence

The following is a sample of letters Coalition for the Homeless has signed since the start of the COVID-19 public health crisis. 

On October 8th, Milbank and The Legal Aid Society sent a letter on our behalf to the Department of Education and Department of Homeless Services regarding the lack of internet access for school-age children in DHS shelters. Read the letter here.

On September 16th, the Coalition for the Homeless and other advocates, led by Advocates for Children of New York, sent a letter calling on Mayor de Blasio to develop a coordinated interagency plan to address the barriers that students who are homeless are facing as the school year begins. Read the letter here.

On September 10th, the Coalition for the Homeless sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio to express our dismay at his recent announcement that the City will begin to move homeless New Yorkers out of the Lucerne Hotel and the Long Island City Plaza Hotel. Read the letter here.

On September 8th, the Coalition for the Homeless, elected officials, and other advocates sent a letter urging Governor Cuomo to release $4 billion in Federal coronavirus relief funds. Read the letter here.

On August 28th, the Coalition for the Homeless and other advocates, led by the Upper West Side Open Hearts Initiative, sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio denouncing the inflammatory, dehumanizing rhetoric against vulnerable New Yorkers who are living on the streets or in shelters. Read the letter here.

On August 13th, the COVID-19 Working Group of New York, including the Coalition for the Homeless, sent a letter requesting a meeting with New York City’s health leadership to discuss recommendations regarding post-COVID-19 care and the chronic disease impact of the pandemic. Read the letter here.

On August 4th, the Coalition for the Homeless and other advocates, led by Advocates for Children of New York, sent a letter calling for Mayor de Blasio to prioritize the educational needs of students who are homeless while planning for the reopening of schools this fall. Read the letter here.

On July 17th, the Coalition for the Homeless, elected officials, and other advocates, led by New York Housing Conference, sent a letter calling on Congress to fund $100 billion in rental assistance for households impacted by COVID-19 and $915 billion to keep state and local governments funded, in order to continue critical public programs. Read the letter here.

On June 1st, the Coalition for the Homeless and other advocates, led by New York Housing Conference, sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and City housing leaders opposing the cuts to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s capital budget. Read the letter here.

On May 18th, the Coalition for the Homeless and other advocates and legal services organizations sent a letter urging Governor Cuomo to extend the universal eviction moratorium, rather than a weaker moratorium he announced, for the duration of the crisis. Read the letter here.

On April 27th, the Coalition for the Homeless and other advocates sent a letter urging Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo to immediately offer free tests for COVID-19 to all homeless New Yorkers and those serving them. Read the letter here.

On April 24th, the Coalition for the Homeless and other disability rights organizations sent a letter urging the Cuomo administration to take prompt action to mitigate the contraction and spread of the COVID-19 in State-funded congregate facilities that serve thousands of New Yorkers with disabilities. Read the letter here.

On April 22nd, the Coalition for the Homeless and other advocates, led by the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State, sent a letter requesting that the State Department of Health temporarily suspend certain regulations related to onboarding personal assistants during the COVID-19 outbreak. Read the letter here.

On April 16th, the Coalition for the Homeless and The Legal Aid Society sent a letter to the Department of Social Services urging them to immediately take the following steps:

  1. Offer all new single adult entrants and anyone who would otherwise receive an overnight placement a direct placement in a hotel room, subject to their expressed preference to remain in their assigned shelter.
  2. Offer all unsheltered homeless people direct placement into hotel rooms.
  3. Further reduce crowding in congregate shelters or family shelters with shared bathrooms or kitchens by offering hotel placement to as many people as possible, with emphasis on people age 50+, people with those underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk from COVID-19, and people in large dorms.
  4. Make single occupancy placements, as OEM and SHNNY do, unless the client requests an accommodation otherwise (for an aide, etc.).
  5. Offer any family with a member who is COVID positive or has a CLI the opportunity for an isolation room for that family member.

On April 15th, the Coalition for the Homeless and other members of the COVID-19 Working Group New York City sent a letter to City and State officials requesting that they create safe spaces for vulnerable persons and those with presumed or confirmed COVID-19 and mild to moderate disease. Read the letter here.

On April 15th, the Coalition for the Homeless and other advocates, led by New York Housing Conference, sent a letter urging Congress to include robust housing and homelessness assistance in the next round of federal COVID-19 assistance. Read the letter here.

On April 14th, the Coalition for the Homeless and other advocates and elected officials sent a letter calling on Congress to include $100 billion in additional stimulus funding – with $10 billion for New York State – for housing and rental assistance. Read the letter here.

On April 10th, the Coalition for the Homeless and other advocates, led by New York Housing Conference, sent a letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson calling on HUD to allocate all of the HUD CARES Act funding with urgency and to use formulas that will target the funding to New York and other hard-hit areas. Read the letter here.

On April 3rd, the Coalition for the Homeless and other housing and health care advocates sent a letter calling on Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo to open vacant hotel rooms for sick and vulnerable homeless New Yorkers during the COVID-19 crisis. Read the letter and our statement here.

On April 2nd, the Coalition for the Homeless and other advocates, led by Win, sent a letter calling for changes to the CityFHEPS rental voucher program in light of the public health crisis. Read the letter here.

On April 2nd, the Coalition for the Homeless and other advocates sent a letter calling on Mayor de Blasio to end the criminalization of homelessness and police-involved outreach. Read the letter here

On April 2nd, the Coalition for the Homeless and other advocates sent a letter calling on Mayor de Blasio to meet the immediate needs of unsheltered homeless New Yorkers. Read the letter here

On March 26th, The Legal Aid Society sent a letter to the Department of Homeless Services at the request of the Coalition for the Homeless citing several problems with the City’s response to the COVID-19 crisis and the need for homeless individuals to have access to safe shelters in which they can be isolated and recover. Read the full letter here and the Wall Street Journal article about the letter here.

On March 20th, the Coalition for the Homeless and other advocates, led by Advocates for Children of New York, sent a letter calling for students who are homeless to have access to Regional Enrichment Centers. Read the letter here.

On March 17th, the Coalition for the Homeless and Housing Works sent a letter urging the City to change its policies on homeless persons and COVID-19 to reflect public health guidance. Read the letter here.