Urban Institute Survey Reveals Ongoing Housing Instability among Renters

A recent survey and report from Urban Institute highlights the ongoing hardships many renters face amid COVID-19. The report, “The Looming Eviction Cliff: Findings from the Urban Institute Coronavirus Tracking Survey,” finds that approximately 10% of renters were behind on rent in September. It also estimates that 3.3 million renters have received an eviction notice or have been threatened with an eviction since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Across all outcomes, Black and Hispanic/Latino renters experienced higher rates of housing instability.

The data from this report come from the second wave of Urban Institute’s Coronavirus Tracking Survey, administered between September 11 and 28 to a nationally representative group of nonelderly adults.

This survey reveals that 13.6% of adult renters experienced problems paying rent in September 2020. The share of renters experiencing a hardship paying their rent varied widely by race and ethnicity, with 8.3% of white renters reporting problems paying rent compared to 16.7% of Black renters and 22.8% of Hispanic/Latino renters. Further, unpaid rent has started to accumulate. One in ten renters reported being behind on rent, with 4.2% of renters owing one to two months of rent, 2.5% owing two to three months, and .8% owing more than three months.

An estimated 3.3 million renters have received an eviction notice or have been threatened with an eviction since the onset of COVID-19. This represents 4.7% of all renters, with 2.6% being threatened with eviction and 2.2% receiving an eviction notice. Black and Hispanic/Latino renters were almost four times more likely to be threatened with eviction or receive an eviction notice compared to white renters. Approximately 2% of white renters experienced the threat of eviction, compared to nearly 8% of Black and Hispanic/Latino renters.

To combat widespread housing insecurity amid COVID-19, the authors recommend strengthening the CDC eviction moratorium, expanding rental assistance, implementing eviction diversion programs, and providing tenants the right to legal assistance.

The paper can be found at: https://urbn.is/2L3BH62