A statement from Amanda Andere, CEO, Funders Together to End Homelessness and Jeanne Fekade-Sellassie, Project Director, Funders for Housing and Opportunity, on the September 1 CDC eviction moratorium notice.

On Tuesday, September 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ordered an eviction moratorium for renters through the end of the year. While we welcome this overdue order and the relief it will provide many households, without combining it with funds for rental and unemployment assistance, the federal government is failing people who face eviction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ignoring that the rent will eventually become due and many will be unable to pay only exacerbates the financial crisis for renters, especially Black, Indigenous, and people of color, as well as small and nonprofit landlords.

The order suggests that nonprofit organizations should tap philanthropic funds to address gaps in critical needs like rental assistance. The administration’s ongoing claim that private philanthropy can be used to fill the gap in our nation’s immense housing needs is deeply flawed and concerning to us. Private funding cannot -- and should not -- be a substitute for a responsive and effective government. According to Candid, in 2018, philanthropy granted nearly $739 million towards housing and homelessness programs and services. This doesn’t touch the $100 billion in rental assistance needed, a figure calculated by our partners at the National Low Income Housing Coalition. What’s more, it pales in comparison to the $49.1 billion budget of the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2020, a federal department whose explicit purpose is to address our nation’s housing needs.

If philanthropy is expected to invest additional funds into rental assistance, it would take critical resources away from other crucial investments in housing, homelessness, preventative programs and solutions, and create yet another crisis that would require federal resources.

Read the full article about philanthropy fills funding gaps by Lauren Bennett at Funders Together to End Homelessness.