The Pandemic Has Exacerbated Housing Instability for Renters of Colour


Center for American Progress (CAP)

Release Date

Friday, October 30, 2020


Washington, D.C. —new analysis from the Center for American Progress looks at the increased housing insecurity faced by renters of color during the coronavirus pandemic. Due to the legacy of systemic racism and widespread discrimination within the rental housing market, Black, Latinx, and Native Americans have long experienced higher levels of housing insecurity than their white counterparts.

The issue brief uses U.S. Census Bureau Pulse Survey data to show that these disparities have been exacerbated during the coronavirus pandemic. The data show that throughout the pandemic, renters of color have struggled to pay rent on time, stay caught up on rent, and pay their next month’s rent at higher rates than their white counterparts.

To ensure an equitable recovery from this pandemic, past harms and current hardships faced by communities of color must be reconciled. To do so, specifically when it comes to rental housing, requires:

  • Prioritizing community partnerships in developing and implementing solutions: This is vital to ensure that those most affected have a voice in the recovery process.

  • Protecting equity initiatives and adequately funding programs: Programs such as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, which prevent discrimination, must be protected.

  • Expanding renter protections: For many, economic recovery from the pandemic will extend well beyond when the public health crisis ends. Therefore, a national, comprehensive moratorium on evictions should be extended past the pandemic to ensure that renters are able to remain housed; and additional renter protections should be set in place to avoid the threat of eviction altogether.

  • Repeal additional barriers to obtaining temporary and long-term housing that disproportionately affect people of color: These barriers include having an eviction on one’s credit report and the long-term impact of having a criminal record.

  • Increasing the supply of affordable, accessible housing that meets the needs of a diverse range of households: This would include housing designed for multigenerational families

“Communities of color have long had their financial and housing security harmed by systemic racism,” said Jaboa Lake, senior policy analyst for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress. “Now, people of color are disproportionately suffering from both the economic and health ramifications of the COVID-19 crisis. Without implementing policies that seek to counter both historic and current-day racism in the rental market, it is likely that the pandemic will only compound inequality and unfairness for generations.”

Read the issue brief: “The Pandemic Has Exacerbated Housing Instability for Renters of Color” by Jaboa Lake

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