Giving Compass’ Take:
• While the hotels offered to keep homeless individuals out of crowded shelters, it is not a long-term solution to curb homelessness nor does it establish permanent housing solutions.
• What type of transition would help homeless populations as hotel efforts wind down? How can donors respond with impact to homelessness compounded by the pandemic?
• Read more about the challenges of homelessness and COVID-19.
As the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading across the US in early March, communities scrambled to create safer conditions for people experiencing homelessness, who face greater threat of exposure, infection, and death from the coronavirus. Many communities secured hotel rooms to lessen the risks posed by living in crowded shelters or in unsheltered situations, but the people needing shelter dwarfed the number of rooms secured.
With eviction moratoria ending and some hotel efforts winding down, communities are balancing how to pivot to long-term solutions for those who were in hotel rooms, provide safe shelter options, and prevent a new wave of people entering homelessness. As a result, communities are fighting a two-front battle against the worsening homelessness crisis: local governments need more funding to continue stopgap measures like hotel placements and more funding to establish permanent housing solutions.
Repurposing hotels and motels received widespread news attention in March, but it was unclear how many communities adopted the strategy. To understand the scale of hotel repurposing, we conducted a scan of press releases, news articles, and local government and nonprofit websites in 80 jurisdictions. We selected a sample of Continuums of Care (CoCs), the local governing bodies that coordinate homelessness assistance services and funding, proportionally representing major cities and mostly urban, mostly suburban, and rural areas.
Aside from these few examples, most communities we examined did not have publicly available plans for the transition to permanent housing for people residing in hotels.
With the pandemic continuing and infection and mortality rates increasing in some parts of the country, significant additional funding is necessary to maintain the emergency investment in hotel rooms, at least temporarily, and to scale public health and housing responses that can ensure the safety of all people experiencing homelessness by providing them with permanent housing. Several national organizations are urging communities to prioritize targeting CARES Act emergency rental assistance resources to people (PDF) living in unsheltered situations and in hotels and motels.
Read the full article about temporary hotels for housing by Nicole DuBois, Abby Williams, and Samantha Batko at Urban Institute.
Nonprofit Trends is a complex topic, and others found these selections from the Impact Giving archive from Giving Compass to be good resources.
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If you are interested in COVID-19, please see these relevant Issue Funds, Charitable Organizations or Projects where you can get involved.