Federal Reserve Releases New Rental Debt Estimates, Bolsters Case for ERA Distribution

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia released new estimates of rental debt for households that experienced job loss or involuntary part-time work during COVID-19. The report, “Household Rental Debt During COVID-19: Update for August 2021,” finds that without federal interventions, rental debt for households that experienced job loss or a reduction in hours would continue to increase through the end of the year. The analysis estimates that renter households currently have $15.3 billion in debt, a figure that is expected to increase to $18.6 billion by December. The report also contains state-level estimates for the share and number of renter households in debt, amount of debt, and average household debt. These estimates do not take into account recent policies, such as the emergency rental assistance (ERA) program, illustrating the critical need for efficient disbursal of ERA funds to fill these gaps.

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