The nation’s housing problems have been exacerbated by the events of 2020—the COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustice, and the harsh impacts of climate change. The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies’ (JCHS’) “2020 State of the Nation’s Housing” report shows that these challenges put even more into focus the lack of affordable rental housing, unequal access to quality homes, and the vulnerability of housing stock to natural disasters.

According to the report, the economic downturn created by the pandemic has worsened affordability challenges. The economic impacts have been far reaching, with 49% of renters and 36% of homeowners experiencing employment income loss between March and September.

It also has affected some populations more than others, with renters earning less than $25,000 a year much more likely to report lost employment income since March and more than half of the lowest-income renters losing wages during this period compared with 41% of all households. In addition, 23% of Black and 20% of Hispanic renters were behind on rent as of September compared with 10% of white renter households.

Read More