REPORT: "Housing Insecurity Persists for Renters of Color Amid the the COVID-19 Pandemic"
"Housing Insecurity Persists for Renters of Color Amid the the COVID-19 Pandemic" (April 2022)
By Paul M. Ong, Director, UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge
Silvia R. González, Director of Research, UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative, UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge Affiliated Researcher
Paula Nazario, Policy Fellow, UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative
The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened California’s chronic economic and housing inequalities for low-income and people-of-color households. This brief uses data from the US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey (HPS) and California’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to analyze the experience of renters and their participation in critical emergency rental-assistance programs. We
find significant disparities linked to income class and race/ethnicity among California renters who are experiencing financial distress and who have participated in rental relief programs. It is likely that the racial/ethnic disparities are due in large part to two characteristics that are not measured for the HPS or by ERAP but have been shown to be barriers to accessing other safety-net programs: limited English proficiency, and immigration status. Immigrants are generally mistrustful of government programs, and immigrants who are not yet naturalized may be concerned that their participation in safety-net programs may identify them as a public charge. Our results echo recent findings showing that barriers to access—for instance, difficulty accessing the online application, delays in approval, and inadequate language
access—have prevented many struggling renters from benefitting from ERAP.
Published by the UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge in collaboration with the Asian American Studies Center, the Latino Policy and Politics Initiative, and the CSRC.