COLORADO SPRINGS — Millions of renters who are unemployed during the pandemic who are behind on rent payments, face an uphill climb to catch up before eviction moratoriums expire. The $300 weekly payments in the latest fiscal stimulus package will help, but a new report by Zillow shows the typical unemployed renter remains severely rent burdened.
Zillow estimates more than 3 million renters who were employed last March, remained out of work as of November. Many have fallen behind on rent payments, with eviction moratoriums keeping them in their homes for the time being, industry estimates suggest nearly 12 million renters will owe about $6,000 on average in back rent and utilities this month.
This same scenario is playing out in Colorado Springs.
In November, before the current stimulus package was passed, a typical unemployed renter living alone spent 82% of their unemployment income on rent. The additional $300 a week brings the burden down to 46.5%, which is an improvement, but well above the 30% threshold that has been linked to rising homeless rates in a community.
"Renters that are spending almost all of their monthly income on housing are faced with impossible choices and that could be between paying rent or paying for health care, childcare, and food," said Chris Glynn, a Senior Economist at Zillow. "It really puts renters in a no-win scenario where they have to make choices and trade-offs that they shouldn't have to."
The typical rent is $1,570 a month. Another potential cliff looms on March 14 when the current $300 weekly supplement expires.