Skip to main content

Rent Payments in Affordable Housing During the Pandemic: The Role of Rental Subsidies and the Safety Net

The Terner Center and the NYU Furman Center have jointly released a new analysis as members of the Housing Crisis Research Collaborative looking at the troubling declines in household rent payments and increases in rent arrears among tenants living primarily in affordable housing in California and New York City. The two centers have both conducted earlier analyses looking at the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on rental payments and collections.

This new analysis offers a comparative look at the trends in both data sets, with a particular focus on the role of rental subsidies and other safety net supports in shaping outcomes. While both subsidized and unsubsidized households experienced substantial increases in nonpayment rates during the pandemic in both New York City and California, households with rental subsidies accrued lower levels of rental arrears while those with fixed income sources were less likely to miss a rent payment. Similarly, on the property owner side, rent subsidies had a buffering effect on the total rent debt accrued during the pandemic. This points to the role a housing safety net can play during an economic downturn and the additional protective effect of a layered social safety net, offering insights for policymakers and practitioners working to stabilize tenants hit hardest by the pandemic.

Read the full brief on the Furman Center website here.

Related Articles

The Cost to Build New Housing Keeps Rising: State Legislation Aiming to Reverse the Upward Trend

As the Terner Center has previously documented, the cost of building housing in California has skyrocketed in recent years, with…

ADUs for All: Breaking Down Barriers to Racial and Economic Equity in Accessory Dwelling Unit Construction

Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are an important and increasingly popular strategy for adding to the supply of housing in California,…

ADU Construction Financing: Opportunities to Expand Access for Homeowners

Expanding the construction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs)—a secondary, often backyard home on a single-family lot—offers benefits to individual homeowners…

The ABCs of JPAs

With housing prices out of reach for many, California is facing the need to find new ways to create housing…