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With Nearly Half of DC Renters Rent-Burdened, Urban Institute Recommends Federal Housing Relief

by Nena Perry-Brown

The pandemic has imperiled the economy, and now the expiration of additional unemployment benefits and inconsistent or unenforced eviction moratoriums threaten to make up to 28 million US residents homeless next month. A new study from the Urban Institute attempts to pinpoint which states are most in need of housing intervention from the federal level.

The ranking weighs four data points: the percent of tenants who are rent-burdened, or pay more than 30% of household income on rent; the share of delinquent rental payments from non-white renters; share of delinquent mortgages for all homeowners; and unemployment rate. Both DC and Maryland rank in the top 20 of areas in need of assistance. 

The study ranks DC 20th with over 48% of city renters rent-burdened. One in 4 non-white renters in DC proper deferred or missed paying rent, and 7.4% of homeowners have delinquent mortgage payments.

In Maryland, which ranks 8th, 49% of renters are rent-burdened, 34.6% of non-white renters are behind on rent, and 10.4% of homeowners are behind on payments. 

Urban Institute suggests that the federal government enact a new version of the 2010 Hardest Hit Fund, the first round of which made $10 billion available for homeowners in 18 states and DC. This new fund, however, would prioritize renters who are more vulnerable in this downturn because most homeowners have access to mortgage forbearance.

A federal relief package passed in March enacted an eviction moratorium on one in 4 rental units nationwide (and gave DC half the relief granted to the 50 states); additional Covid-related federal relief has yet to pass in Congress.

The Urban Institute study uses 2018 American Community Survey data to calculate rent burdens, and from May and June, data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics for unemployment, the Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey for share of missed rent payments, and analytic firm Black Knight for share of missed mortgage payments.

Thumbnail photo by Ted Eytan

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/with-over-half-of-dc-renters-rent-burdened-urban-institute-recommends-feder/17169

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