Tell Congress: Invest in affordable housing and protect renters.
The Biden administration has released a new renter protection blueprint — a bold initiative that protects renters, promotes rental affordability, uses an evidence-based strategy to quickly connect people to homes, and helps them access voluntary services such as substance use treatment, peer support, and employment services.
We applaud this move by the Biden administration and also realize that without federal legislation there are serious limits to what the White House can do.
During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw how rental protections provided a necessary lifeline to families who had just lost income or members of their household due to the virus. People are still getting sick with COVID, inflation is at record highs, and the financial support and expanded tax credits millions received during the pandemic have expired.
We’re dealing with a national shortage of 7 million affordable homes for low-income renters. This severe shortage of homes is a structural feature of America’s housing system that builds upon almost a century of discriminatory housing policies and practices that exist to this day. The affordable housing crisis impacts every city, state, and community and without Congress’ intervention, the lasting effects on our educational, health care, and economic systems will be catastrophic.
The Americans-are-falling-behind edition. Rents are late and evictions are looming. Two-thirds of parents say their kids have fallen behind in school. One in five households say someone in the home has been unable to get medical care for a serious condition. These are but a few of the findings from a new poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
On the COVID-19 front, about half as many new cases are being reported each day as at the start of September. New infections, hospitalizations, and deaths are falling significantly in most parts of the country – with an emphasis on most. Hawaii, which experienced its worst surge of the pandemic during the summer, now is reporting the fewest infections per capita of any state. It is followed by Florida and Louisiana – both hotspots just a few months ago. But cases in the Mountain West are surging – Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming lead the country in recent cases per capita.
And we are not comforted by what we see outside our borders. In Britain, a country that throughout much of the pandemic has served as kind of a COVID-19 bellwether, new infections are surging. Some experts think this is because Britain rolled out its vaccination program earlier than most – now, in some cases 10 months later, the protection offered by those shots is waning. In Russia, a vaccine-hesitant nation where only just over a third of eligible adults have gotten their shots, infection rates are so high that nonessential workers are being ordered to shelter at home.
Meanwhile, members of Congress and the White House are reported to be in the final negotiations over what will be included in the Build Back Better plan. Many priorities of human needs advocates are in the plan, although some are reduced in scope to fit into a smaller package – but we have to push hard to make sure they are not stripped out of the final version. For example, we must fight for paid family and medical leave and the expanded Child Tax Credit. We must push hard for home and community-based care for the aging and people with disabilities. We must demand that the federal government be allowed to negotiate lower Medicare drug prices.
There’s much more – those are but a few important examples of what we must fight for. You can join the fight. Write your senators and your House member here.
75,498 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the U.S. on Thursday, Oct. 21, along with 1,509 deaths, and 56,759 hospitalizations. That’s a 24 percent decrease in cases, a 15 percent decrease in deaths, and a 19 percent decrease in hospitalizations over the previous 14 days. Tweet this
More than one-third of families with young children are facing serious problems finding child care when adults need to work. That’s according to a new study conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Tweet this
The percentageof households reporting serious financial trouble the past few months. That includes more than 50 percent of Latinx, Black, and Native American households, but only 29 percent of White households. Tweet this
The numberof women who left the workforce in September 2021. Although the drop was not as precipitous as September 2020, when 865,000 women left the workforce, it still shows how women have been disproportionately harmed during the pandemic. The drop is due to a number of factors – many jobs that employ women such as service, retail, hospitality, and caregiving have disappeared compared to levels two years ago. In addition, for many women domestic responsibilities have increased, while support structures such as child care centers and nursing homes are far less available. Tweet this
Women lost 26,000 jobs in September, while men gained 220,000 jobs. Women have now lost 2.9 million jobs since the pandemic began. Tweet this
About 5 million children with veteran or active-duty parents are eligible for a new or expanded Child Tax Credit, thanks to the American Rescue Plan Congress passed in March. But these five million kids – along with millions of other children – will lose the additional benefit in December, unless Congress acts to extend the CTC expansion.
6 x; 65,000
Black and Latinx death rates for middle-aged people are six times higher than those for comparable age Whites. Gender is another important factor: at least 65,000 more men had died from COVID-19 than women in the U.S. by the end of August, according to a new study by the Brookings Institution.
10 states, including Florida, Michigan, and Ohio, still report vaccination rates for nursing home staff under 60 percent. In August and September, nursing home resident deaths surged, hitting 4,000. President Biden has announced a vaccine mandate for nursing home staff, meaning nursing homes with unvaccinated staff will be subject to loss of Medicaid and Medicare funds. But the White House has not yet announced how the mandate will be implemented – details are expected later this month.
The Biden Administration has secured enough supply and rolled out a plan to equip more than 25,000 pediatric and primary care offices, hundreds of school and community health clinics, and tens of thousands of pharmacies with vaccine supply for children ages 5 to 11. It is anticipated that the FDA and CDC will approve COVID-19 vaccinations for the 28 million children in this age group within about two weeks.
New research shows governors in states without vaccine mandates – or where they’ve outright prohibited such a requirement – have “significantly lower” approval ratings for their handling of COVID-19. In states with vaccine mandates, 52 percent of people approve or strongly approve of their governor’s handling of the pandemic. That approval rating drops to 42 percent in states with no vaccine requirements, and to 36 percent in states where governors have banned vaccine mandates.