NLIHC Releases New Estimate of Need for Emergency Rental Assistance in Response to Widespread COVID-19 Job Disruption

NLIHC released on May 8 a second research note on the need for emergency rental assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis. This analysis, “Emergency Rental Assistance Needs for Struggling Workers due to COVID-19,” focuses on the rental-assistance needs generated by the staggering job losses of March and April and additional projected losses, demonstrating the level of support needed to help nearly 13 million low-income households remain stably housed. The report confirms the need for Congress to include at least $100 billion in emergency rental assistance in the next coronavirus relief package.

This global public health crisis has created an urgent need to provide rental assistance to low-income households. Surveys indicate that more than 40% of all households, and more than half of low-income households, have experienced a loss of employment or income as a result of the coronavirus. Using these survey data, NLIHC estimates that over 12.7 million renters are likely to be affected by job disruption and be in need of rental assistance, and that the cost of providing assistance to affected renters will be $9.9 billion per month until employment recovers. For millions of low-income renters, many of whom could not afford their housing before the pandemic, job disruptions imperil their ability to remain in their homes.

NLIHC’s analysis shows that industries hardest hit by layoffs in the last seven weeks—retail, food services, and accommodations—are also ones in which the lowest-income renters are likeliest to work. The unemployment crisis is also disproportionately impacting people of color, since they are disproportionally represented in occupations impacted by the shutdowns.

While the timeline for economic recovery is uncertain, the analysis estimates how the need for rental assistance for employment-affected renters may decline gradually as employment rises. Extrapolating from recent employment projections from the Congressional Budget Office’s, this analysis estimates $116 billion in emergency rental assistance is needed through June 2021.

Read “Emergency Rental Assistance Needs for Struggling Workers due to COVID-19” at: