Homestretch

Leading Youth & Family Homeless Outreach Organizations, Eviction Epidemic Experts Participate In Press Call

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Jul 2020

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Call Focused On COVID-19’s Impact & How To Mitigate Looming Crises

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 22, 2020

CONTACT

Julia Mirich

jmirich@pluspr.com

(760) 688 – 8745

 

FALLS CHURCH, VA – Today, Wednesday, July 22, SchoolHouse Connection, Eviction Lab, Second Story, and Homestretch participated in a press call to discuss the short- and long-term effects on the homeless and housing crises in the United States caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and its impact on the educational system and our nation’s youth, families, and other communities affected by COVID-19.

The call featured a discussion on legislative solutions to help alleviate the extreme burden facing many Americans in our post-COVID-19 world, such as the Emergency Family Stabilization Act (S. 3923); Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (S. 4112); Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act (S. 4097); and the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act (S. 3685).

During his introduction of the call, Christopher Fay, executive director of Homestretch, said, “Homestretch has had good success over the last 30 years, with 90 percent of families successfully moving into permanent housing they can afford on the income they earn. But the expected flood of newly homeless families is likely to overflow the current capacity of all nonprofits providing services for homeless families. We will need a massive infusion of new funding through new legislation, to meet this need.”

Judith Dittman, chief executive officer of Second Story, followed Fay’s remarks, noting, “Youth experiencing homelessness is more common than many think. One in thirty young people, or 700,000 ages 13 to 17, are homeless. One in ten, or about 3.5 million transition age youth ages 18 to 24, are homeless in any 12-month period.” Dittman went on to say, “The resources allocated to help these vulnerable young people are insufficient in the best of times, but the pressures being brought to bear by coronavirus may well overwhelm us. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, we must find the resources to support our young people. They are our future and they deserve to have their chance.”

Lavar Edmonds, research specialist at Eviction Lab, emphasized the looming housing and eviction crises we face in our post-COVID-19 world, noting, “Eviction is ubiquitous. It is not merely an event that affects the renter on the lease. It’s a severely destabilizing action that impacts their families and their communities, and one that can reverberate for years afterwards. We are on the precipice of a catastrophe, but it is possible to weather the ensuing wave. This must, in my opinion, necessarily include stronger, longer term protections for renters that consider the entirety of the eviction process, rather than just a portion.”

Closing the call, Barbara Duffield, executive director of SchoolHouse Connection, spoke to the legislative solutions and next steps to address this crisis. Duffield remarked, “As Congress rolls up its sleeves to tackle the next COVID-19 relief legislation, vulnerable families and youth must be prioritized. We call on Congress to protect our nation’s future by listening to front-line service providers, youth, and parents, and enact these vital measures.”

The call ended with a brief Q&A and call to elected officials to work towards legislative solutions to help address these crises.

A full recording of the call can be found here

Eviction Lab is a team of researchers, students, and website architects who believe that a stable, affordable home is central to human flourishing and economic mobility. Accordingly, understanding the sudden, traumatic loss of a home through eviction is foundational to understanding poverty in America. Drawing on tens of millions of records, the Eviction Lab at Princeton University has published the first ever dataset of evictions in America, going back to 2000, with the hope of raising awareness and working toward new solutions to the eviction epidemic. To learn more about the Eviction Lab, visit: https://evictionlab.org/

Homestretch, an acclaimed 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, makes self-sufficiency possible for dozens of homeless parents with children every year. In operation since 1990, Homestretch provides homeless families with safe housing in neighborhood homes while they progress through a rigorous two year program designed to build their finances, restore their health, improve their life skills, and launch them into careers. At the end of their time at Homestretch, families graduate from the program into permanent housing they can afford on their own income. And 95% of Homestretch families remain housed and employed years after exiting the program. To learn more about Homestretch visit www.homestretchva.org.

SchoolHouse Connection is a national non-profit organization working to overcome homelessness through education. SchoolHouse Connection provides strategic advocacy and practical assistance in partnership with early childhood programs, schools, institutions of higher education, service providers, families, and youth. They believe education is the only permanent solution to homelessness. SchoolHouse Connection’s vision is that children and youth experiencing homelessness have full access to quality learning, birth through higher education, so they will never be homeless as adults, and the next generation will never be homeless. To learn more about SchoolHouse Connection, visit: https://www.schoolhouseconnection.org/about/about-schoolhouse-connection/

Second Story transforms the lives of children, youth, and their families by providing safe havens and opportunities for them to grow and thrive. Second Story’s programs provide support at critical turning points in their lives. The vision of Second Story is of a community in which all young people are safe, live in a nurturing environment and have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Founded in 1972 as “Alternative House,” Second Story transforms the lives of children and youth, helping them stay safe, make positive decisions, achieve educational success, and overcome personal crises. Second Story offers children, youth, and families hope for brighter futures by providing counseling, shelter and neighborhood-based support. To learn more about Second Story, visit: https://www.second-story.org/

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