Brief Avoiding a COVID-19 Disaster for Renters and the Housing Market
Laurie Goodman, Dan Magder
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America’s 44 million renter households are, in general, more vulnerable than America’s 78 million homeowner households to the income disruption that stay-at-home policies and mass layoffs will impose during the COVID-19 crisis. Accordingly, policymakers need to act now to create a national rental assistance program that will provide direct rental payments to renters, either in rental voucher form that cannot be misused for less critical purposes or directly to property owners. This brief examines the consequences of not helping renters, the assistance that has already been provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and other relief measures, discuss what more is needed, and size the maximum amount of relief that may be necessary. The actual relief needed is likely to be less, as we would propose the program incorporate a maximum rent cut-off, require hardship as a condition (albeit with light documentation) and specify that hardship must take into account payments received by the borrower under other components of the CARES Act.


Research Areas Economic mobility and inequality Wealth and financial well-being Families Social safety net Housing finance
Tags COVID-19 Inequality and mobility
Policy Centers Housing Finance Policy Center