An analysis of government data by Bloomberg News shows that federal emergency housing assistance distributed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic prevented millions of Americans from being evicted, reports Jennah Haque in Bloomberg Politics.
The data comes at a particularly meaningful time as housing advocates urge the Biden administration to continue tenant assistance programs, pointing to a continuing rise in rent costs and an uncertain economic future. However, “That will be hard under legislation signed into law last weekend that suspended the nation’s borrowing limit as it clawed back unused pandemic aid and imposed caps on future increases in the federal budget,” Haque notes.
“Data on evictions is hard to come by, said Peter Hepburn, associate director of the Eviction Lab. There are more than 3,000 independently operated county courts which handle evictions, many of which often keep documents sealed, undigitized or both.” But “The lab credits the pandemic measures for preventing at least 800,000 evictions in 31 US metropolitan areas it studied.” According to U.S. Census Bureau data, 4.7 million more people reported being caught up on rent payments in the first quarter of 2023 than before the Emergency Rental Assistance Program was created.