Giving Compass' Take:

• At Urban Institute, Benny Docter and Susan J.Popkin express the dilemma public housing authorities face in providing residents with proper services during COVID-19.

• How might increased funding for public housing help mitigate the coronavirus risk for marginalized communities? What can we do today to help public housing authorities receive the support they need to serve their residents?

Find resources to guide your giving towards public housing authorities and other coronavirus response efforts.

As COVID-19 has spread across the county, public housing authorities (PHAs) have had to make rapid adjustments to their operations to continue serving their residents, many of whom are disproportionately older, disabled, and people of color, leaving them most at risk of serious health complications from the coronavirus. In our conversations with PHA directors across the country, many described the creative ways they are adapting to meet resident needs while working remotely.

Most directors also spoke to the reality that, barring increased federal assistance, they face long-term funding shortfalls. Many PHAs need additional assistance soon, or they will be forced to cut back on services. To ensure PHAs can continue meeting the needs of their residents and providing long-term financial stability, federal policymakers should consider allocating additional funding as quickly as possible.

PHA staff described how they have adapted their operations to prioritize residents’ health, food and financial security, and social integration. Within their communities, PHAs are taking preventative measures, such as closing gyms and other common spaces, to help encourage social distancing and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

For PHAs, adapting often means relying on community partnerships, in addition to ensuring resident’s health and well-being. Many PHAs reported scaling up food delivery, either in house or by relying on community partnerships, to help residents who have been laid off or who are sheltering in place.

PHA staff said they hope policymakers will replenish the resources they are spending so they can keep serving residents. It’s clear PHAs cannot sustain these enhanced services and accommodations on their own. Soon, PHAs will need additional resources and regulatory flexibility to cover costs.

Read the full article about public housing authorities during COVID-19 by Benny Docter and Susan J. Popkin at Urban Institute.