Rent Debt in America: Stabilizing Renters Is Key to Equitable Recovery

By By Sarah Treuhaft, Jamila Henderson, Michelle Huang, Alex Ramiller, and Justin Scoggins: For Complete Post, Click Here…

From the National Equity Atlas

Our new rent debt dashboard, produced in partnership with the Right to the City Alliance, equips policymakers and advocates with data on the extent and nature of rent debt in their communities to inform policies to eliminate debt and prevent the specter of mass eviction.

Mounting rent debt and the potential for mass eviction is one of the most pressing equity issues created by the Covid-19 pandemic. The vast majority of renters who are in debt are low-wage workers —  disproportionately people of color — who’ve suffered job and income losses due to the pandemic. Without sufficient eviction protection, debt relief, and financial support, these Covid-impacted renters will be left behind — deepening inequities at a moment when the federal government has prioritized addressing systemic racism and ensuring an equitable recovery.

To inform the national policy debate, as well as local and state policymaking and advocacy, the National Equity Atlas and the Right to the City Alliance have launched a new rent debt dashboard with near real-time data on the number and characteristics of renters behind on rent for the US, 45 states, and 15 metro areas.* The dashboard provides estimates of the amount of back rent owed for these geographies, as well as estimates for the number of households with debt and the amount owed for all counties in the 45 states. Drawing current data from the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey and the University of Southern California Center for Economic and Social Research’s Understanding Coronavirus in America survey, the dashboard data will be refreshed approximately every two weeks. Find our full methodology here.

Born out of the need for accessible, current data to inform local and state campaigns, the dashboard was produced in partnership with the Right to the City Alliance, a network of community-based organizations working in 45 cities and 26 states to prevent displacement, expand affordable housing, and build just, sustainable cities for all.

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