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Voters Continue to Support Protection for Unhoused People

Executive Summary Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, unhoused people, uniquely vulnerable to the spread of disease, have borne the brunt of government inaction. Yet in some places where the government has taken action it came in the form of crackdowns and new ordinances that criminalize the status of living without a home—actions that contradict CDC […]


Harm Reduction Practice and Innovation in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in San Francisco

Executive Summary Amid a significant spike in deaths among individuals experiencing homelessness in San Francisco, including a rise in overdose deaths, expanded harm reduction practices and substance use treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic have shown promising results in reducing death and harm from opioid use. The interventions include providing emergency shelters for higher-risk adults and […]

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The Case for Social Housing

INTRODUCTION The United States is in the midst of a housing crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic catastrophe are making it worse. Over 40 million people may soon be at risk of being thrown out of their homes at a time of great uncertainty. While the recent federal eviction moratorium keeps some people […]


The Case for a Right to Counsel in Housing Court

Executive Summary The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically and ominously shifted the scale of the eviction crisis in the United States. Short of extensive, multipronged legislative action, estimates suggest that anywhere from 19 to 23 million renters (or 11 million renter households) are at risk of eviction between summer and fall 2020. Congress must take immediate […]

Sheriff Discretion and Evictions

Executive Summary Sheriffs are the so-called “tip of the spear” in eviction proceedings. While they do not instigate eviction proceedings or participate in court processes, sheriffs and their deputies in most states participate in the physical eviction process, which includes serving the writ that notifies tenants of their evictions, forcibly removing tenants from the property, […]

Criminalizing Homelessness Violates the Constitution

Executive Summary Even before the pandemic, the United States was in the midst of a homelessness crisis that ensnares more than a million people every year. This year, with a coronavirus-induced economic crisis, that number will likely grow as unemployment hits record levels and people living paycheck-to-paycheck, already in a state of housing insecurity, can […]


The Case For Universal Rental Assistance

Expansion of an existing federal rental subsidy program, the Housing Choice Voucher, could stabilize housing for millions of households. This research and analysis is part of our Discourse series. Discourse is a collaboration between The Appeal, The Justice Collaborative Institute, and Data For Progress. Its mission is to provide expert commentary and rigorous, pragmatic research […]


Report: Emergency Action Plan

Executive Summary Forced in this moment to reflect on this new reality—and this new recognition of our shared vulnerability—the vast majority of Americans believe that many of our responses to this crisis have, so far, been woefully inadequate and left too many people behind. Indeed, while the virus poses a threat to us all, we […]


Addressing Housing Precarity in the Context of the Coronavirus Crisis

Executive Summary Voters, as shown through polling by Data for Progress, across all party lines want their government officials to take bold steps to protect people from losing their homes and falling into financial despair, including bi-partisan support for each of the following: 79% would support a ban on rent increases for as long as […]

Fighting the Coronavirus and Protecting the Unhoused

Executive Summary On any given night in the United States, federal government data shows that over 500,000 people do not have a home, a count that dramatically underestimates the scope of the problem. The core problem has consistently been lack of access to affordable housing, brought on by bad policy and refusal to take common-sense, […]