Catholic Charities USA and the Felician Sisters of North America have jointly created the CCUSA Francis Fund for Eviction Prevention. The two organizations seeded the fund with $1 million each. The money will be distributed by Catholic Charities to recipients who are in extreme danger of becoming homeless.
The fund was established as Americans are facing widespread eviction threats. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put in place moratoriums on evictions. But in many cases these moratoriums merely postponed tenants’ or homeowners’ financial obligations. The protections were scheduled to expire on Dec. 31.
“As the pandemic worsens, the weather becomes more bitter and Congress is deadlocked, many people are living on the brink of homelessness and they are terrified,” said Sister Donna Markham, OP, Ph.D., president and CEO of CCUSA in Alexandria, Va.
Congress on Dec. 20 extended the moratorium by one month, to Jan. 31. The provision was accompanied by $25 billion in Congressionally designated rent aid, which was part of a $900 billion relief package. Even so, housing advocates argue that this is a fraction of what will be needed to stave off a homelessness crisis.
According to U.S. Census data for the week ended Dec. 7, 19.6 percent of renter households are not current on their rent payments. And among those that are currently up to date, one third reported using credit cards or loans to meet their overall spending needs, one third reported using money from savings or selling assets and 22 percent had borrowed from friends or family. Renters were allowed to report more than one source of funds.
“In these uncertain times, we know that many families are suffering the burden of unemployment and food insecurity,” said Sister Christopher Moore, provincial minister of the Felician Sisters of North America in Beaver Falls, Pa. “It is unconscionable that they should also face the fear of losing their homes. Catholic Charities USA has the resources to quickly get funding to their agencies across the country and into the hands of those in need.”
Those wishing to contribute to the fund may do so at https://bit.ly/34yMmMm