Giving Compass' Take:

• An article at the Rand Corporation provides suggestions to assist renters who face dismal prospects as coronavirus threatens mass evictions.

• How essential is housing in establishing and maintaining health? What are you doing to push for policies to more equitably address the looming eviction crisis? 

Discover a wide array of resources to assist renters and others struggling during the pandemic.

As coronavirus lockdowns are extended, countless unemployed and underemployed renters could face homelessness, despite federal efforts to provide emergency financial aid.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) act provides direct cash assistance and expanded unemployment benefits, but this aid will not reach millions of low-income or otherwise economically vulnerable households, households that are disproportionately renters. This group includes immigrant workers who do not use a Social Security number to pay taxes.

Policy interventions targeting landlords may be more effective in providing assistance to renters. Data from the 2015 Rental Housing Finance Survey show that 50 million rental properties in the United States have around 23 million landlords, approximately half the size of the population of renters. Seventeen million of these landlords are individual investors with an average of one to two rental properties. Three million LLCs and limited partnerships own on average about five rental properties each, and around 300,000 real estate investment trusts and real estate corporations own an average of seven to eight rental properties each. Even policies aimed at securing the cooperation of the smaller number of corporate landlords could assist tens of millions of renters.

Housing security is vital to individual and collective well-being, and is a key component in the nation's economic performance. The looming coronavirus eviction crisis suggests the need to address the systemic problem of housing affordability and security now. A strategic approach could improve responses to future challenges, whether nationally or locally. Strategic policies are likely to be less expensive, easier to implement, and more beneficial to renters than hasty, ad hoc crisis-related reactions to evictions and homelessness.

Read the full article about how to assist renters at the Rand Corporation.