Housing crisis: millions of people owe billions of dollars during COVID

Housing crisis: millions of people owe billions of dollars during COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic devastated parts of the economy and left people across the country under financial strain:

Nearly half a trillion dollars have been lost during the Pandemic outbreak, affecting thousands of American citizens who piled an enormous debt and are now facing not having a home. As the pandemic has forced incomes to decline or even evaporate, bills have become unreachable.

But the economic disruptions have not hit everyone the same way: A public health emergency from an airborne virus has particularly upended places where people gather. The hospitality and leisure industries have lost millions of jobs in the last year. Restaurant workers, employees in personal services and social services and education as well as government employees have also all suffered paycheck cuts or job loss. Employment in some sectors continues to plummet.

The money matters: In January, the total back-rent owed was $52.6 billion, experts say. Now it's approximately $31.9 billion.

According to People magazine, courts across the country are flooded with eviction cases waiting for the day the ban lifts. The average renter who is delinquent owes thousands in back-rent, and many of them still don't have a decent paycheck. Direct-relief payments (like the stimulus checks) as well as boosted unemployment benefits and $25 billion in rental assistance for qualified tenants have already come to the rescue from federal coffers.

Vincent Reina, an assistant professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania says:

"The total number of delinquent renters is dropping, down to 6 million from some 9.4 million people in January, and experts have lauded the cash infusion to those in need. But they say problems remain. "Current levels of support for emergency rental assistance are critically important during the pandemic, but we also need sustained federal support for affordable housing." 

What's more, landlords don't have to accept rental assistance from the government that comes with stipulations, such as accepting partial payment, agreeing not to evict for a certain amount of months or registering their property and opening themselves up to broader regulation. 

The average delinquent renter in America right now owes $5,282 and is more than three months behind. Their stories are so many; the pain is deep. 

When renters can't pay, the landlord's costs don't go away.

Related Articles

More News

More News