WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Senator Cory Booker and U.S. Representative Mikie Sherrill, both New Jersey Democrats, today sent a letter to Senate and House leaders urging them to ease application requirements for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Continuum of Care (CoC) program in the final COVID 4 legislative package.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, non-profits and local and state governments enrolled in the CoC program are experiencing a severe strain on their time and resources, and are struggling to provide assistance for individuals experiencing homelessness. Each year, such institutions have to reapply for CoC funding, requiring significant staff hours and resources that during this crisis should be directed solely toward assisting people experiencing homelessness.

“We strongly support the inclusion of language in future legislation that will require HUD to automatically renew CoC awards for the next fiscal year so that recipients currently enrolled in the program continue to receive critical funding without having to complete a time-consuming application process,” the lawmakers wrote. “Individuals and families facing homelessness are at particular risk at this time. The organizations that serve them are already overburdened, and need to focus on providing effective and safe housing.”

The HEROES Act, H.R. 6800, which passed in the U.S. House of Representatives last month, included a provision that would allow organizations that address homelessness to receive FY20 funding without having to reapply. However, that package has not been considered by the Senate.

The full letter is available here.