• Steve Grant

"The United States may be facing the most severe housing crisis in its history"

The Aspen Institute published a report on the systemic issues in the housing market created by COVID-19 and the suffering that will result. It won't just be the people who rent, but the small property owners who cannot pay their mortgages because of the hardships renters are facing, and the impact of communities as a whole. The piece states it as follows:

The COVID-19 housing crisis has sharply increased the risk of foreclosure and bankruptcy, especially among small property owners; long-term harm to renter families and individuals; disruption of the affordable housing market; and destabilization of communities across the United States.

This crisis will have consequences that go beyond homelessness, if that's not enough.

The impact of an eviction on families and individuals is even greater. Following eviction, a person’s likelihood of experiencing homelessness increases, mental and physical health are diminished, and the probability of obtaining employment declines. Eviction is linked to numerous poor health outcomes, including depression, suicide, and anxiety, among others. Eviction is also linked with respiratory disease, which could increase the risk of complications if COVID-19 is contracted, as well as mortality risk during COVID-19.

We know from our work with the Arizona Benefits Portal(ABP) that utility payments in hot climates come before rent, because without electricity the heat becomes intolerable in hot climates. Therefore, nonpayment of utility bills becomes an "early warning" sign for eviction. This year it's worse due to the immense economic pressure of COVID.

The purpose of Prefix and the ABP is to alleviate the pressure of utility bills and rent in an efficient manner. It's good to be part of the solution. But the eviction crisis could be something unprecedented, with a multitude of severe secondary problems that will arise from it.

To read the full report see here

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