An Eviction Cliff Years in the Making and the Need for Comprehensive Action

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Executive Summary

The challenges around eviction and housing affordability predate the pandemic, which means the response must also extend well beyond it to protect renters now and from ongoing housing instability going forward. While COVID-19 is pushing tens of millions of people over the eviction cliff, the staggering lack of affordable housing, particularly for the lowest income households, has made that cliff especially high. Prior to COVID-19, nearly 90 percent of renters with income below $20,000 were housing cost burdened, as were nearly half of all renters.The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the limitations of our affordable housing infrastructure and failures in the social safety net.

In a new national poll conducted by Data for Progress, large majorities of voters across party affiliations expressed support for measures to prevent eviction, including rent forgiveness and city, state, and federal funding to compensate landlords and lenders. 

  • 75 percent of likely voters support the federal government setting aside funds to help cities and states compensate landlords and lenders in order to forgive rent and mortgages. 
  • 62 percent of likely voters support forgiving rent during the coronavirus emergency, with their city and state governments compensating landlords for lost rent.
  • 71 percent of likely voters support prioritizing smaller landlords, often economically vulnerable themselves, in any rent forgiveness system and repayment programs their city or state governments establish. 
  • 65 percent of likely voters support forgiving all rent and requiring landlords to agree to a set of practices in order to participate in any rent repayment program.
  • 62 percent of likely voters support rent support programs stretching back to the beginning of the current crisis.