Navigating COVID-19: Health Policy Solutions- Housing


Ally Siegler, Health Policy Strategist

Keeping people safely housed during the COVID-19 pandemic is critical for keeping everyone healthy. And yet the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 is threatening housing stability across the nation. Temporary federal, state, and local policies have prevented some people from losing their homes, but these policies will eventually expire, leaving millions of Americans facing potential homelessness.  

Like many other social determinants of health, the impacts of unstable housing are not felt equitably. Black households are twice as likely to be evicted and more likely to spend a larger portion of their income on housing than white households. A long history of housing discrimination explains these housing inequities and puts people of color at the greatest risk of displacement during the pandemic. 

If our country faces the predicted eviction crisis, we must be prepared to deal with the short and long-term consequences. For instance, children who experience eviction have poorer academic and health outcomes. Adults who are evicted may have a difficult time finding subsequent housing because of a permanent mark on their record.  

Although a federal moratorium on evictions could keep most renters housed through the end of the year, a lack of coinciding rental assistance leaves landlords susceptible to foreclosure and tenants at risk for eventual eviction. Many other temporary measures have lapsed or will soon expire, leading housing experts to believe that an eviction crisis has only been postponed and not avoided. Future policy solutions should prioritize keeping people safely in their homes while providing support that could prevent an ensuing housing crisis. 

In the third brief in our series, “Navigating COVID-19: Health Policy Solutions,” we dive into the various provisions that have kept people safely housed and provide recommendations for extending and expanding housing protections during the pandemic, with a focus on resources for protecting renters.  

Read the full brief here: “Navigating COVID-19: Health Policy Solutions-Housing 

Read: “Navigating COVID-19: Health Policy Solutions-Telehealth 

Read: “Navigating COVID-19: Health Policy Solutions-Paid Leave