Delaying the inevitable wave of homelessness

Delaying the inevitable wave of homelessness

President Donald Trump’s surprise national moratorium on evictions is short-term relief that will only delay an inevitable wave of homelessness throughout the country until after Election Day. While the order was welcome news to people at risk of losing their homes as federal aid has stalled, it includes no federal rental assistance. That means renters will still be responsible for any overdue rent and be subject to eviction when the moratorium expires on Jan. 1. The Louisiana Illuminator’s JC Canicosa reports on housing advocates’ cautious optimism, but why they think the order remains no substitute for a comprehensive aid package that Congress must negotiate. 

Though she said she was grateful for Tuesday’s action, [Cashauna, executive director of the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center] Hill said that order doesn’t let lawmakers off the hook. “To keep us all in our homes for the duration of this pandemic, we also need Senator (Bill) Cassidy and Senator (John) Kennedy to get back to work on a relief bill that includes the $100 billion in emergency rental assistance already passed by the House,” she said. When asked about the eviction moratorium at his Wednesday press briefing, Gov. John Bel Edwards said his administration has to “figure out exactly how it’s going to work.” Edward said he is going to continue to advocate for federal rental assistance “so we can get those landlords paid as well.”

Clarification: An article about housing instability cited in Wednesday’s Daily Dime was in reference to an earlier executive order by President Trump; not the most recent evictions moratorium.  

 

Covid-19 health monitor for Louisiana prisons
Louisiana prisoner advocates are urging Gov. John Bel Edwards to grant more furloughs because of public health risks and are requesting an independent health pandel to monitor the safety of prisoners who remain behind bars. The furlough program that was previously used at the Department of Corrections has been criticised as unnecessarily restrictive and for not doing enough to stop the spread of the virus. The AP’s Melinda Deslatte reports: 

When the corrections department announced its coronavirus furlough program that operated from April until early June, the agency said as many as 1,100 inmates could be eligible for temporary release, thos convicted of nonviolent, non-sex-offense crimes who were withing the last six months of their sentences.  The idea was to reduce the population in facilities where people were packed closely together and more vulnerable to the virus’ spread. But the six-person review panel evaluated 594 cases, according to Natalie Laborde, with the corrections department. Only 68 of those were released on furlough, 34 of whom have since been released from state custody entirely. The review panel was suspended in March. 

Hurricane Laura left many immigrants being forced to live in I.C.E jails in Louisiana in unlivable conditions WWNO’s Rosemary Westwood reports: 

The reports of conditions are “horrible,” with some describing knee-deep sewage, (Luz) Lopez (of the Southern Poverty Law Center) said. “No electricity. No fans, no air conditioning. Sewage has backed up and is overflowing. Some folks had to remove clothing because they were suffocating,” she said. Lara Nochomovitz, an immigration lawyer, has heard similar details from detainees in the Jackson facility. She was told that people have been relieving themselves in bags because the toilets are backed up. At least one of the women’s dorms is quarantined because of the coronavirus, meaning they are eating their meals within proximity of the washrooms, she said. 


Emaciated relief bill
If Congress wants to pass another coronavirus relief bill this year, it will need to happen before the end of September — which is also the deadline for Congress to pass a budget that keeps the federal government from shutting down. Instead of providing more relief to struggling Americans, Republican senators are spending their time crafting an inadequate relief bill that has no chance of passing in an effort to give political cover to vulnerable senators. Marianne Levine of Politico updates the ongoing stimulus negotiations. 

“Republicans may call their proposal ‘skinny,’ but it would be more appropriate to call it ‘emaciated,’” [Sen. Chuck Schumer] the New York Democrat wrote. “With no money for rental assistance, no money for nutrition assistance, and no money for state and local services, the census, or safe elections, Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans would be making another unacceptable and ineffective attempt at providing relief.” … Senate Republicans have previously been somewhat divided on a relief plan, but GOP leaders are growing confident their bill will garner 51 votes from the 53-seat GOP caucus and increase pressure on Democrats to cave.

 

Rich kids, poor kids and virtual learning
The demands of juggling jobs and family obligations have become much more complicated for families during the Covid-19 pandemic, as millions of children are forced to learn virtually from home. But The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof writes that wealthier families are far better equipped for this transition, which could have long-term negative consequences for kids whose families were already struggling. 

(A)ffluent children will mostly be fine even without in-person classes. But one study found that almost 17 million American children live in homes without high-speed internet, and more than seven million don’t have a computer at home. For disadvantaged kids, “online learning” is an oxymoron. Prolonged school closures will worsen dropout rates across the nation, for missing just 10 percent of class days is associated with a sevenfold increased risk of dropping out. Even in normal times, only 53 percent of children attending Bureau of Indian Education schools finish high school. Closures after Hurricane Katrina led many students to leave school for good.

For many poor children, public schools are not just a place to learn, but a steady provider of nutritious food. The New York Times’ Brand Ann Kenneally traveled across the country to document images of America at hunger’s edge: 

 

Number of the Day
98% – The amount of U.S. debt as a share of the economy. This is the first time since World War II that the government’s debt is approximately the size of the entire economy. (Source: New York Times)