The Grapevine

America’s Renters Could Bear The Brunt Of Economic Collapse Due To Pandemic

A substantial amount of Americans will be rendered homeless and evicted due to the economic downfall that followed the pandemic, causing people to lose their jobs en masse. Sadly, federal funding for the unemployed did little to help them and the bills introduced by politicians are still riddled with indecision. 

According to the recent U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, out of 77 million respondents, 32 percent of tenants across the country have either zero or miniscule confidence of being able to pay rent next month. The poll surveyed both high-income and low-income renters for the survey. 

Of the people who are not confident, 19.7 percent said they had at least one individual in their household who had recently become unemployed. From them, 20.4 percent who survived on an annual household income of $25,000 are likely to have a tough time making rent as a result of the recently incurred financial strain. 

In totality, 13.4 percent said they had no confidence whatsoever about the prospect of paying rent, while 8.3 percent showed slight confidence and 25.3 percent believed they had moderate confidence. Only 37.6 percent reported high confidence in their ability to pay their landlords and most of them are tenants in apartments. 

However, in contrast, until now, almost all family homes had paid their rent. National Multifamily Housing Council hosts a weekly webcast during which they discuss the problems facing renters. By May, 90.8 percent of multifamily renters did not default on paying rent, while 92 percent paid up in April, experts at the NMHC said. 

While this may seem like a new phenomenon, the threat of eviction is not new to Americans. As per researchers, when the rate of unemployment in America was 4.7 percent in 2016, 3.7 million eviction cases were noted. Considering that the latest estimates of unemployment are at 40 million, large-scale eviction is inevitable. 

Another study conducted recently by the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley, concluded that about 16.5 million renter households no longer have a steady income as the country grapples with the worst recession since 2008. Of these households, 7 million or more could not pay rent even before the financial crisis hit. But tenants have made their displeasure very clear to the government. 

Over the last month, about 200,000 tenants have not paid rent in protest against the economic hardships they have to endure through no fault of their own. Strikes against paying rent were organized across the country in tandem, protesting the need to pay rent amidst the unprecedented humanitarian crises they have no control over. 

Donald Trump President of the United States Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Gage Skidmore/flickr

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