April 13, 2020

Congressman Neguse Introduces Bill to Provide Robust Funds to Aid Northern Colorado’s Homeless Population in the Wake of COVID-19

Washington D.C.—Today Congressman Joe Neguse unveiled new legislation to provide aid and economic relief to individuals experiencing homelessness throughout Colorado and across the country in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act, which passed the House and was signed by the President on March 27th, provided $4 billion in Emergency Solution Grants to equip the country’s homeless population, including $22 million for the state of Colorado. Congressman Neguse is proposing an additional $11.5 billion in funding for Emergency Solution Grants, in new legislation—the CARE Act for Those Without Homes. This funding could be used to purchase hotel or motel rooms for homeless individuals experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, provide handwashing stations and hygiene products, and create Federal Medical Stations to care for displaced persons throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“For individuals experiencing homelessness throughout northern Colorado, the COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique set of challenges for people to care for themselves and also abide by community prevention recommendations,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “We must ensure we provide the necessary resources and safe havens for these individuals so they can stay healthy and get the care and shelter they need if they contract the virus.”

“Safeguarding those experiencing homelessness is the Boulder Shelter’s number one priority,” said Greg Harms, CEO of the Boulder Shelter. “Many of the individuals we serve are highly vulnerable and have compromised health systems.  Limiting their possible exposure to COVID-19 is not only a matter of their survival, but will also reduce our community’s overall risk.  We have limited ability to fulfill this mission without the additional help this bill will provide.”

“The Colorado Coalition applauds Congressman Neguse’s introduction of the CARE Act for Those Without Homes with its desperately needed $11.5b in funding for assistance for America’s community that cannot “stay at home” despite what the government, elected officials, and public health guidelines recommend,” said Cathy Alderman, Vice President of Communications and Public Policy at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. “For far too many individuals and families in Colorado, not having a safe place to call home during the COVID-19 outbreak means no place to wash hands regularly, no place to isolate away from the virus, and no place to recover from the illness if contracted.  And the fear is magnified by the high health risks that many people experiencing homelessness have including compromised immune systems, pre-existing respiratory illnesses, and more advanced age than most of the housed community.  Someone who is 45 years old and experiencing homelessness will often present medically as a 65-year-old.  In order to keep people experiencing homelessness out of the hospital and out of harm’s way during this pandemic, we must provide safe spaces for them to go and this legislation and funding could help to provide those safe places.” 

Read the bill text here.