Renter Households Vulnerable to COVID-19 by Region

Updated on October 15, 2020

Many cities have begun their efforts to combat COVID-19-related housing effects on renters by estimating the number of affected households, claiming federal CARES Act relief funds, and distributing the funds to households in need through local organizations. More than likely, the number of vulnerable households will exceed the funds that have been made available to assist them.

Using methodology developed by New York University’s Furman Center, we estimated the number of households susceptible to COVID-19-related job loss (referred to here as vulnerable households). We hone in on vulnerable renter households, as opposed to vulnerable owner households, because vulnerable renter households do not have access to the same type of widespread relief (that is, mortgage forbearance) that has been made available to vulnerable owner households. Then we look at the intersection of income, cost-burdened status, dwelling unit type, and race in an effort to better understand the distributional impact and identify those vulnerable renter households who might be most vulnerable.

This web tool is intended to serve as a companion resource for those interested in interacting with the estimates we cite in the October 14, 2020, Real Estate Research blog post. You can select the metropolitan area and race of interest from the drop-down menus at the top of the chart, then hover over the stacked bar charts that appear below to view the vulnerable renter household estimates.

You can use these estimates to highlight opportunities for targeted local responses. Localities can also use these estimates to assess whether, and how well, their disbursed funds are reaching those most in need. Further, this analysis can help policymakers and local leaders anticipate the gap between their pool of existing resources and the level of support they may ultimately need, given the estimated size and spread of renter household vulnerability.