Columbus: The Cost of Eviction and Unpaid Bills of Financially Insecure Families for City Budgets (2019)

Brief

Columbus: The Cost of Eviction and Unpaid Bills of Financially Insecure Families for City Budgets (2019)

Abstract

In 10 major US cities, financially insecure families are prevalent, and residents’ financial insecurity affects city budgets. In 2019, the costs to cities range from between $6 and $14 million in Miami to between $534 million and $1,232 million in New York City. In Columbus, the costs range from $17 to $39 million, suggesting that Columbus, like other cities, has an economic interest in improving residents’ financial health.

Analyses of residents’ credit health and debt can provide cities additional information about the financial health of families. Sixty-two percent of Columbus residents have healthy credit, on par with the national and Ohio state averages. But the city has geographic disparities in credit health; seven zip codes have subprime median credit scores. These areas may have weaker overall financial health than other neighborhoods.

Cities can pursue initiatives that address long standing structural barriers including residential segregation, lack of access to capital flows and affordable housing, and measures that would address predatory financial practices to improve their residents’ financial health. These initiatives can be challenging to implement and require long-term investments and planning. In the meantime, cities can integrate financial coaching, counseling, credit building, and incentivized savings interventions into existing government programs into improve residents’ financial well-being and help the city meet residents where they are.

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