COVID-19 will cause twice as many homelessness as the Great Recession, researchers say
A new study highlights the high stakes tenants face as they want government help amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the next four years, the COVID-19-related recession is expected to lead to an increase in chronic homelessness of around 49% nationwide, according to new research from the Economic Roundtable, a California-based nonprofit urban research organization. The homeless crisis is expected to peak in 2023, researchers say, with 603,000 more working-age adults without a place to sleep.
“Disconnection from work is a degenerative dynamic – less work, less income, less stable living conditions and an additional disconnection from work,” the researchers wrote. “It is not the total loss of employment, but rather the loss on the margins of the labor market that is the main cause of economically motivated homelessness.
The situation will be even worse in California, which was already the epicenter for the homelessness problem of the country before the pandemic. Chronic homelessness is expected to increase by 68% in the Golden State, with 131,400 additional homeless adults. Of those people, more than a third will be located in Los Angeles County alone.
To produce these figures, the Economic Roundtable looked at what happened after the 2008 recession. During that time, about 10% of people who lost their jobs in Los Angeles then found themselves without a job. shelter.
Not all of these people lived on the streets. The researchers also included people who surfed on sofas or lived in shelters. Indeed, researchers estimate that the vast majority of people who become homeless as a result of the pandemic recession will surf the couch to get by.
“603,000 more adults will be homeless by 2023 due to pandemic, say researchers“
The nature of the current unemployment situation has led researchers to determine that the resulting homelessness crisis will be much worse. Americans most at risk of becoming homeless are those earning below the poverty line, including those who work part-time or have low-paying jobs. Many of these workers are concentrated in sectors particularly affected by the pandemic, including restaurants, entertainment and tourism.
The recently passed stimulus package will help many low-income households keep a roof over their heads, in large part thanks to the increase in federal unemployment insurance. A Zillow separate study estimates that more than 3 million tenants who were employed last March were still unemployed in November.
With just the money they get from state unemployment insurance, these tenants spent an average of about 81% of their unemployment checks on rent. But with the additional $ 300 in weekly payments, that number drops to 43%.
“This analysis shows how much even relatively small amounts of financial assistance can mean for troubled tenants,” said Chris Glynn, senior economist at Zillow ZG,
“Even as top-up has resumed, there are financial wounds to heal from the three-month period when some tenants were sending over 80% of their unemployment benefits at the door on the first of the month.”
The stimulus plan also money included for emergency rental assistance. On Monday, the Treasury Department released how he would allocate the $ 25 billion that was set aside in the stimulus package for rent assistance. These funds will be distributed by state officials to local organizations, who will then pass the money on to eligible tenants.
Housing experts have warned that the national moratorium on evictions, which the stimulus plan extended until the end of January, will have to be extended to give time for these funds to reach households that need them. But even with the moratorium in place, thousands of people across the country were expelled during the coronavirus crisis, due to the lax implementation of the moratorium at the local level.