Back Rent Debt Increases To $21.5 Billion As Evictions Are No Longer Under Quarantine

CBx Vibe:Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But the Rent” Gwen Guthrie

By Sabrina Lynch

  • 56.3% of renters spend more than 30% of their income on rent
  • Pre-COVID, 4 of every 10 homeless people were Black

Nearly half of all apartment renters in America could be expelled from their homes as emergency bans on evictions, also known as eviction moratoriums, are being lifted in cities across the country creating $21.5 billion debt. African American households are more likely to rent, considering only 40% of them are homeowners. This creates longstanding concerns for Black Americans’ financial ability to keep a roof over their heads, leaving an unprecedented figure of rent in arrears on the table. With no solid solutions in sight, a staggering number of people of color could be left homeless.

Why This Matters: The coronavirus is disproportionately hurting Black and Latino renters, exacerbating racial disparities in economic wealth. Between April and July alone, the ethnic demographic breakdown of California residents who were unable to pay rent was 23% Black and 20% Latino. These numbers were more than double that of caucasians and Asians which stood at 9%. The catastrophic consequences of these evictions could leave millions of Black and Latino families on the streets, with no federal support. Add to the mix unscrupulous lenders offering high-cost, same-day loans as a way out, and families are left with dangerously fragile finances.

The ethnic demographic breakdown of California residents who were unable to pay rent was 23% Black and 20% Latino

Pre-COVID, the obstacles preventing under-served communities from having access to affordable and safe housing was the root of four of every 10 homeless people being Black. With higher unemployment rates for the Black community which now stands at 13%, and housing discrimination (despite the Fair Housing Act), evictions could lead to further racial segregation. It could also become a problem for investors wanting to invest in once-thriving Black and Latino neighborhoods. Opportunities for residents to build wealth for future generations will be severely restricted and limit the legacy of assets Black families can acquire.

Situational Awareness: Black and Latino communities are facing economic collapse caused by the displacement of families from their homes through evictions. Rising rents already made it increasingly difficult for people of color to save for down payments and become homeowners, so a fix to prevent the surge of homelessness from evictions needs to become a national emergency.

CBx Vibe:Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But the Rent” Gwen Guthrie

CONTRIBUTOR

Sabrina Lynch

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