As we begin August 2020, with supplemental unemployment benefits and national eviction moratorium expired, millions of households—disproportionately renters and people of color—face increasing housing instability and risk of displacement. As Congress debates how to support these families, we suggest an approach for identifying the places and people who most urgently need housing relief. We have developed a state hardest-hit housing index that prioritizes households of color and renters, who are receiving less government support and more financial damage during the crisis. The index uses four state data indicators—the percentage of rent-burdened households, the percentage of renters of color who missed or deferred rent in the previous month, mortgage delinquency rates, and unemployment rates—and ranks the states hardest hit and in dire need of housing assistance.
This brief was corrected August 6, 2020. An earlier version was published before going through the Housing Finance Policy Center’s internal review. The following sections were substantially rewritten: the fourth and sixth paragraphs of the Background section, the first paragraph of the Method for Targeting Funding section, and the final three paragraphs of the Hardest-Hit States section. Also, the second paragraph of the Method for Targeting Funding section was previously part of the Hardest-Hit States section.