Analysis by NYU Furman Center Shows Geographic and Demographic Variations in ERA Applications in New York

New York University’s Furman Center conducted a ZIP-code level analysis of applications to the New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program as of August 31, 2021. The researchers found that rural and suburban very low-income (VLI) households with incomes at or below 50% of the area median income may be underserved. Data revealed that ZIP-codes with larger shares of renters over the age of 65 tend to have lower application rates.

The Furman Center’s analysis found that New York City (NYC) had the highest application rate among VLI renters at 12 applications per 100 VLI renter households. By contrast, ZIP-codes in suburban areas of the NYC metro area had an application rate of 6.9 applications per 100 VLI renter households. Non-metro areas outside of NYC had the lowest application rate at 6.0 applications per 100 VLI renter households. These rates indicate that additional outreach and marketing to VLI households across the state is needed, with particular attention to rural and suburban areas. Suburban and rural VLI households may face additional barriers to starting the application process, such as limited access to broadband, computers, and organizations providing application assistance.

Several demographic characteristics were associated with higher application rates. ZIP-codes with higher shares of renter households who are Black or Hispanic were associated with higher application rates. This relationship was particularly strong for ZIP-codes within NYC. State-wide, ZIP-codes with larger shares of households with a head of household age 65 or older had lower application completion rates. This may indicate challenges with application accessibility. To distribute emergency rental assistance funds effectively and equitably, programs should implement robust outreach and marketing, create an accessible application, and conduct ongoing monitoring and evaluation to ensure that households most in need are served.

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