The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) sent letters to Congressional leaders and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary Ben Carson formally requesting $5 billion for the public housing program and $3.5 billion for the housing choice voucher program in emergency supplemental funds and additional regulatory relief for public housing authorities as they work to protect residents and staff during the COVID-19 public health crisis.

"Low-income households and the elderly who are served by public and affordable housing have the most to lose during the current COVID-19 public health crisis because they are the most vulnerable to unemployment, lost income, and, heartbreakingly, the virus itself,” said Sunia Zaterman, CLPHA executive director. "To ensure the health and safety of residents, and of staff, public housing authorities are taking unprecedented actions to follow public health protocols, while continuing to provide residents with services ranging from food deliveries to regular property repairs.”

The fiscal 2020 operating budget for public housing authorities is wholly inadequate to fund the unforeseen cost of COVID-19 emergency expenses combined with estimated losses in tenant rent payments, according to Zaterman.

CLPHA is requesting $8.5 billion from Congress in emergency supplemental funds and urging HUD to provide public housing authorities with the flexibility to respond to the changing situation as needed.

"Without a commitment from the federal government to support public and affordable housing operations during and after the COVID-19 emergency, millions of households could be left unprotected from the virus and face longer-term housing insecurity,” Zaterman said. “CLPHA members are working tirelessly, compassionately, and pragmatically to support low-income households. We urge Congress and HUD to do the same."

CLPHA’s 70 members represent virtually every major metropolitan area in the country. Together they manage 40% of the nation’s public housing program; administer more than a quarter of the housing choice voucher program; and operate a wide array of other housing programs.