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Critical COVID-19 Opportunities for Communities Combatting Vacancy

April 8, 2020


As America actively battles one of history’s most impactful public health crises, the necessity of community development work and urgent help for communities in need is growing exponentially. As with every widespread American emergency, COVID-19 presents us with both real dangers, and real opportunities to advance equity, stability, and more just communities.

As we all forecast the pathways for recovery, here are four active issues and opportunities we can all speak up to address to ensure communities have a well-supported path to recovery and increased stability.

1. Speak Up Against Gutting the Community Reinvestment Act – Deadline Wednesday

Respond to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR) for the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)

One of America’s most important pieces of Civil Rights legislation, the Community Reinvestment Act was intended to undo the legacy of government-sanctioned discrimination in housing and lending we know as “redlining.” CRA holds banks and lenders accountable to serve the needs of their communities particularly the needs of those communities of color and low- and moderate-income communities harmed by redlining.  This week, you can speak up to ensure the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Deposit Insurance Company act responsibly and preserve CRA’s mission to encourage banks to meet the credit, investment and community development needs of low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

Make sure CRA isn’t undermined. Share your view on the new proposed rule with the National Community Reinvestment Coalitions’ easy public comment widget at

2. Encourage Federal Lawmakers to Focus on the COVID-19 Challenges

While many of our nation’s important issues, including COVID-19, must be addressed urgently, a number of discussions and new rule developments unrelated to the current emergency remain on the federal docket. Community Progress joined dozens of allied organizations to call for a suspension of all non-essential rulemakings during the crisis. You can amplify these important calls and encourage agencies and lawmakers to suspend Non-COVID-19 Rulemakings by sharing these letters via social media or in your legislative outreach:

3. Ask for Direct Funding for Every City and Town in Need

As the pandemic evolves, we are already seeing drastic impacts on cities, towns, and communities throughout the United States. From devastating cancellations of events and vital activities to furloughs and missed revenue opportunities, American municipalities are only beginning to see impacts.

Speak up for emergency assistance for cities and towns in need at the National League of Cities Action Center. There you can connect with your legislator to share thoughts on how the next round of stimulus efforts can help offset the growing challenges and emergencies in American cities at

4. Help Ensure Community Stability of Reverse Mortgage Borrowers

Recently, the National Consumer Law Center, the Center for Community Progress, and 40 other groups sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) seeking stronger protections for reverse mortgage borrowers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While we acknowledge that HUD’s 60-day foreclosure moratorium is a crucial step in helping homeowners, we are encouraging residents and leaders nationwide to advocate for reforms that consider some of America’s highest-need homeowners: older Americans with reverse mortgages.

For shareable content and opportunities to engage, follow the NCLC on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and share the recent release, “Advocates: HUD Must Do Much More to Protect Older Reverse Mortgage Borrowers in the Coronavirus Epidemic.”

The Center for Community Progress is proud to continue to advocate for stability, equity, and health in American communities. We also encourage those who have the bandwidth during this challenging time to share their voice and elevate these and other issues that will advance long-term resilience in our communities.

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