A new study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) found that many renters still struggled to pay rent despite the help provided by rental relief measures. The analysis found that while emergency rental assistance programs were helpful to families that lost income, rent hardship remains high, especially among renters of color and families with children. The analysis also illustrates several other stark trends.
The study found that renters of color were more likely to report being behind on rent. In September 2020, 65% of Latino adult renters and 57% of blank adult renters reported a loss of income due to COVID-19, compared with 51% of white adult renters. Further, families with children were significantly more likely to fall behind on their rent than families without children. Renters of color with children were at the highest risk of falling behind on their rent. This disparity is particularly evident after the end of the expanded Child Tax Credit.
The share of adult renters facing rental hardship was the greatest in eight Southeastern states, with New York and New Jersey rounding out the top ten states. Renters in Mississippi were facing the highest housing hardships, with 24% of adult renters on average reporting that they were behind on rent at some point between September 2020 and March 2022.
Many households that reported falling behind on rent were already burdened by high costs of living before the pandemic; 21% of low-income residents were already paying over half of their income on housing costs before the pandemic.
The study concludes by analyzing the policy responses in different states and the effects of each. Nearly 20% of adult renters in Georgia were likely to fall behind on rent, compared with only 12% of adult renters in Minnesota. Minnesota implemented an eviction moratorium in March 2020, whereas Georgia didn’t offer significant protections for tenants at the state or local level. Renters in Georgia reported a much higher fear of being evicted than those in Minnesota did, which the authors posit is due to stronger tenant protection policies in Minnesota. Minnesota also effectively distributed its rental aid by completely exhausting its emergency aid funds by March 2022, whereas Georgia only distributed 42% of its first round of funds by March 2022.