Change is stressful even when it isn’t forced by a terrifying global pandemic. But that’s what we face. We’re all in the middle of a huge and unplanned pivot, simultaneously managing a deadly disease and a worldwide financial collapse. Both are unlike any before.
At NCRC, along with changing how we work – at home, 100% online – we’re re-orienting what we do to help our members respond to COVID-19, and to make sure national policymakers focus on individuals, families, small businesses and communities that will bear the heaviest burdens and need the most help to survive first, and recover when we’re able to.
Most of us weren’t planning for a moment like this. We’d like to know more about your needs. We’ve set up a simple survey to gather input from our members and allies, and your responses will help us adjust further. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey.
Here’s some of what we’re doing:
We’ve compiled and are updating an index of COVID-19 resources for communities, small businesses, individuals and organizations that serve them, such as housing counseling agencies. For instance, the SBA just announced details of how to xxx under the CARES Act. You can find essential links about that on our COVID-19 resources guide.
We’ve scheduled a series of webinars, and you’ll see more of these soon in various registration announcements. Here are a couple:
April 7, 2 pm ET Effective Strategies for Housing Counselors During COVID-19
April 10, 12 pm ET Applying for a Loan via SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program
On the policy front, we’re working closely with members of Congress and their staffs to ensure people don’t lose their homes, small businesses don’t close for good and the needs of low- and moderate-income communities comes first. That effort has involved:
Being one of the first organizations to call on the federal government to implement a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, as well as calling for emergency rental and mortgage assistance.
Sending a letter to congressional leadership outlining key initiatives we wanted to see in last week’s stimulus package like increased funding for housing counseling services through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), both of which are critical to helping keep LMI families in their homes during this crisis.
And then there’s the Community Reinvestment Act. The COVID-19 crisis hit while we were in the midst of a critical policy battle over proposed changes to CRA rules. On March 24, we led a group of 267 national and local organizations that urged the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to suspend their rule-making process until after the crisis is over. We aren’t alone.
Other agencies have suspended their rule-making, the IRS pushed back the tax-filing deadline, but so far the OCC and FDIC have stuck to their April 8 deadline for public comments on their proposal. That’s absurd when hospitals are overflowing, people are dying, 10 million people lost their jobs just in the last two weeks, and both global and local economies are in shut-down mode. But the proposal itself is absurd. It’s literally a plan to help banks do less for lower-income families and neighborhoods. So we’re making a final push for public comments. If you or your organization haven’t submitted a comment yet, please do. The timing is awkward, we all have a lot to worry about, but it also appears these agencies don’t care about our problems. They should, and they need to hear from us. Find instructions on how to submit a comment and samples at: TreasureCRA.
Finally, although this is a truly dark moment, we’re thinking about the future. What happens #AfterThis? What should a Just Economy look like after we get through the coronavirus catastrophe? Our communications team just launched an online, crowd-powered festival to encourage hope and creativity. We hope you’ll share yours. Learn Find out how at: www.afterth.is
Thank you for all you do and for the difficult work ahead.
Wishing you health and safety,