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What Cities Are Doing About Housing and Homelessness During the Pandemic

May 6, 2020

The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is already the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Renters and homeowners who have lost their jobs during this pandemic are facing down an already tight housing market, in which a third of Americans are cost-burdened and minimum-wage workers can’t afford housing anywhere in the U.S. People already experiencing homelessness are struggling to find a safe place to even wash their hands, though without access to sanitation, the coronavirus may spread.

Without swift action, the housing crisis will only worsen, and the pandemic will be more difficult to contain.

Clearly, cities and states must act. But how?

In this webinar Next City housing correspondent Jared Brey will explore solutions that U.S. cities have already adopted to try to blunt the worst of the housing-related fallout from the pandemic. These solutions could be replicated elsewhere.

During this webinar Brey speaks with:

Cambridge, MA mayor Sumbul Siddiqui, whose administration has committed to paying local restaurants to make meals for homeless shelters, where volunteers can no longer cook meals because of social distancing requirements.

Philly-based Good Shepherd Mediation’s Sue Wasserkrug, who can speak to how the organization’s landlord-tenant mediation program is helping people stay in their homes and helping landlords resolve disputes with tenants without the need for court.

Eran Pehan, director of housing and community development for the City of Missoula, Montana. Officials in Missoula recently acquired a downtown motel to use as emergency housing for people experiencing homelessness, with long-range plans to redevelop the property as affordable housing.

Jared Brey is Next City's housing correspondent, based in Philadelphia. He is a former staff writer at Philadelphia magazine and PlanPhilly, and his work has appeared in Columbia Journalism Review, Landscape Architecture Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Philadelphia Weekly, and other publications.

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