Testing the Emergency Rental Assistance Priority Index

Brief

Testing the Emergency Rental Assistance Priority Index

Correlations with Eviction Filings

Abstract

The Urban Institute developed the Emergency Rental Assistance Priority (ERAP) Index and mapping tool to help local leaders conduct outreach and allocate emergency rental assistance to neighborhoods where low-income renters face the greatest risk of housing instability and homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. The tool was also designed to support an equitable response to the pandemic by accounting for risk factors that are higher for certain groups, particularly Black, Indigenous, and Latinx renters, as a result of historical, systemic exclusion from economic and housing opportunities as well as the disparate health and economic impacts from COVID-19. In this brief, we examine the relationship between the ERAP Index and past and current eviction trends at the neighborhood level. We found that two-thirds of states had pre-pandemic eviction filings that positively correlate strongly or moderately with the ERAP Index at the neighborhood level. The ERAP Index showed stronger correlations to eviction filings than the three component subindexes, indicating that the overall ERAP Index has a stronger relationship with evictions than any of the three subindexes or indicators alone. The overall ERAP Index, the two subindexes built on historical indicators, and individual historical indicators correlate more closely with eviction filings both before and during the pandemic than does the COVID-19 Impact subindex. Overall, our analysis supports using the ERAP Index to target emergency rental assistance.

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