Sep 10: Trump says that his public downplaying of the dangers of COVID was a sign of him showing strength.
Sep 11: Two senior officials at HHS, Michael Caputo and the head of SAMHSA, Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, criticize the continued coronavirus lockdowns on Caputo’s podcast, The Learning Curve. Catastrophic fires continue in California and Oregon. Trump-brokered peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban begin. Fauci warns that we will have to “hunker down” for the fall and winter. The CDC says eating at restaurants is the most likely way to be exposed to COVID-19.
A welcome letter arrives from my friend, the poet, Chrystos, who lives in Tacoma, Washington. (We’re putting these in their original, beautiful form in the “Exhibits” section of this museum.) “I’m calmer now because our lawyer, Elizabeth, has gone after the abusive landlords at our trailer park who are trying to evict us… “Why are you trying to evict these women?” Elizabeth asked. Since homophobia, racism, and misogyny are answers, they’ve gone silent.” This is good news after her earlier letters described the landlords’ tearing up of their yard. I still worry for her and her partner Sunny. …
“Nearly every aspect of the public response to COVID-19 simply does not work for the homeless population,” writes Gavin Jones, from Philadelphia. If you think about it, everything that we have done to mitigate this virus has required that you have a home. “Those without housing cannot obey a shelter-in-place order,” Gavin reminds me, “and maintaining social distancing in a homeless shelter is nearly impossible,” He sighs. “Testing also presents problems for the homeless; those without a permanent address or even cellphones lack a reliable way to receive their results.” Shelter is its own basic need, but in a society where communication and distribution of resources are centered around a permanent residence, those without housing are dangerously marginalized. The state of Pennsylvania has set up a program to provide rental assistance to those who need it, but restrictions on application and other issues with the program meant that only half of the allocated funds were actually given away.
The problem of housing in cities like Philadelphia is not just one of construction or temporary shelter, but of community autonomy and gentrification. The Philadelphia Housing Authority, a federally funded city authority that acts as a landlord to many low-income residents, owns many houses that sit vacant throughout the city. Over the years, they have sold many of these properties in bundles to developers, even as over 40,000 residents have been sitting on a waiting list for public housing since 2013. Protestors allege that this disparity is a result of an intentional pattern of gentrification, as the city allows its properties to decay, seizes the surrounding homes through eminent domain on grounds of blight, and sells them to developers who build university dorms. This is a story that is playing out all in cities all over the country.
The pandemic has made the experience of homelessness even harder than it was before. Paula, a homeless woman in Savannah, Georgia, remembers how, in the first few weeks of the lockdown, “it was impossible to get stuff that we need. You know, we use hand sanitizer all the time because, well, you’ve got no real way to wash your hands out here. We live by the stuff… Toilet paper! We need it too. Just the panic overall really affected us because everybody was only thinking about themselves.” Frank, in New York, suddenly had no access to public bathrooms, the free meals from the church nearby, and the subway, which closed from 1AM to 5AM. Tiffany, who has a job as a necessary worker cleaning medical equipment in a hospital in Milpitas, California, could not get to a shower after her shifts ended, despite handling materials that had been used on Covid patients. If housing is a human right, then we have failed.
 Hurubie Meko, “Why Is the Pa. Rental Assistance Program Closing with Millions of Unspent Dollars?,” LancasterOnline, n.d., https://lancasteronline.com/news/local/why-is-the-pa-rental-assistance-program-closing-with-millions-of-unspent-dollars/article_e3874c96-0290-11eb-99e6-8bca8d943472.html.
 Philadelphia Housing Authority, “PHA Auction of Vacant Properties Yields $8.4 Million,” June 25, 2019, http://www.pha.phila.gov/pha-news/pha-news/2019/auction-2019.aspx.
 Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, “Covid’s Invisible Victims,” https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/howardcenter/covid-homeless/audio/index.html.
48% of Texas renters are unable to pay rent and are at risk of eviction. What’s @replouiegohmert done to ensure another round of stimulus makes it to these folks? Nothing. A big fat zero. pic.twitter.com/FuREKpM2Nk— Hank Gilbert (@Hank4Texas) September 11, 2020
Chicago-area renters are still being pushed out of their homes with threats of lockouts and notices on doors, despite COVID-19 eviction moratorium https://t.co/t6HQXQsEq4— Jawanza Malone (@jbkm1973) September 11, 2020
Covered tenants are protected from #eviction through 12/31 by the recent @CDCgov order. Tenants must submit a declaration to their landlord (visit https://t.co/ZAwUMzUmRj for a template). Contact us at 702-386-1070 or email@example.com for questions about your rights. pic.twitter.com/S5brkIXfyC— Legal Aid Center (@LegalAidSNV) September 11, 2020
We are still in an emergency, and Minnesotans need to be able to stay in their homes. That’s why our Administration has extended our statewide eviction moratorium today along with the peacetime emergency for at least another 30 days.— Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan (@LtGovFlanagan) September 11, 2020
HOUSING JUSTICE IS RACIAL JUSTICE.This map from “Housing Loss in Forsyth County” (https://t.co/AVOYVSTSsx) shows predominately Black and brown census tracts with nearly triple the eviction rates of the overall county average (4.4 percent between 2014-2018). pic.twitter.com/Xcg0dYOYuy — Housing Justice Now (@HJNWinstonSalem) September 11, 2020
Our work monitoring eviction court and organizing with tenants for expanded renters rights is spotlighted in Teen Vogue! https://t.co/RZ9CCfuhvi— Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative (@JanePlaceCLT) September 11, 2020
Coronavirus-related deaths of young teachers raise alarm as new school year begins Teachers in at least three states have died after bouts with the coronavirus since the beginning of the new school year. They were as young as 28. https://t.co/mp95LHQXC1— Windthin ~ Rebel Scum & Snark Jedi🇵🇷🏳️🌈🌊❄️ (@windthin) September 10, 2020
Nearly 3,000 people are in court dockets for potential eviction in Miami, to be forcibly removed from their homes bc they can't afford to pay rent during a global pandemic and economic meltdown— THEE Miami Dream Defenders (@MiamiSquaDD) September 11, 2020
Before this $5 million, Miami Dade Police had an operating budget of $759,072,000