NLIHC Summarizes Household Pulse Survey Findings on Renter Experiences during Pandemic

Last week NLIHC released The Road Ahead for Low-Income Renters, which summarizes research largely conducted during the pandemic on renters’ experiences and their needs going forward. The note summarizes findings from the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, rent payment trackers, and research conducted by NLIHC, the Housing Initiative at Penn, the Urban Institute, and other sources.

Approximately 6.5 million renter households were behind on rent in early July, though the surveys do not yet provide an estimate of the aggregate size of accumulated rental arrears. Surveys suggest that many renters have paid rent only by relying on unsustainable methods like taking on additional debt or cutting back on basic needs. The note also explains why there is reason to believe that renters of color, low-income renters, and renters with lower educational attainment are experiencing greater struggles.

The summary note describes the challenges emergency rental assistance programs face in getting assistance to all renters in need and erasing accumulated arrears. Multiple independent surveys suggest that many renters remain unaware of available resources: over one-fourth of the lowest-income renters cannot access online applications at home, and many renters may disqualify themselves or hesitate to apply because of documentation requirements. Renters who have taken on debt to keep current on rent may be ineligible for assistance, even if they will face greater challenges in the future as a result.

The summary note is at: