An emergency housing response is needed for the COVID-19 pandemic. A group of housing and legal scholars from Atlanta area universities has published a set of policy recommendations on the website Medium. On March 14, Georgia’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold D. Melton had declared a statewide judicial emergency, which closed most courts and suspending most court functions. That action, as reported in the AJC, left citizens in the eviction process uncertain about their status. Conflicting information and plans from different municipalities and counties are adding to the confusion.
The scholars urge stronger protections for tenants across the state, as well as financial support for renters, landlords, and shelters. “Eviction, foreclosure and utility shutoffs make it impossible for self-quarantine of individuals with high-risk factors such as advanced age, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease”
Here are their main points: Housing stability is public health, is economic resilience, and is essential to protect children during the crisis. Coordinated action is needed from foundations, corporations, and public agencies at the state and local level. Speed is of the essence, and the duration of the crisis is unknown. Finally, they call for effective communication to all affected individuals.
They call for leaders to do the following:
- Preserve housing stability during the crisis.
- Ensure swift economic recovery by preventing a wave of evictions and foreclosures after the crisis.
- Provide operational support to properties receiving Section 8 rental assistance, senior affordable housing providers, and other residences with high numbers of high-risk residents.
- Provide operational support to homeless shelters.
To learn more about their specific policy recommendations, read the original post on the emergency housing response needed for the COVID-19 pandemic here.
The authors of the recommendations come from Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University: Elora Raymond, Dan Immergluck, Lauren Sudeall, Frank Alexander, Michael Rich, Dan Pasciuti, John Travis Marshall, Prentiss Dantzler and Allen Hyde.
Dan Immergluck recently also appeared on WABE’s Closer Look with Rose Scott discussing these recommendations. You can listen here.