New Poll Shows Strong Bipartisan Support for Robust Housing Assistance to Prevent Evictions

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With federal eviction protections set to expire on July 25 and other more localized moratoria also on the verge of lapsing, new polling finds that a bipartisan majority of American voters support a wide variety of state, local, and congressional action to stave off the coming wave of evictions and foreclosures triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The polling was conducted by Data for Progress and published in a Justice Collaborative Institute report written by Kathryn Howell, associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and Co-director of the RVA Eviction Lab, and Vincent J. Reina, Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Faculty Director of the Housing Initiative at Penn.

“This eviction crisis is rooted in realties that predate COIVD-19, including a chronic lack of affordable housing and persistent racial discrimination that is imbedded in housing markets,” said Reina. “The economic consequences and health risks associated with COVID-19 have only exacerbated and exposed these longstanding realities. We are at a clear moment to both support our most vulnerable residents who are at risk of homelessness and ongoing housing instability, while establishing housing policies that increase affordability and protections beyond the pandemic.”

The report warns that tens of millions of people could face eviction in the coming weeks if lawmakers fail to promptly pass robust housing assistance. Congressional protections barring the eviction of renters who live in federally subsidized buildings or in properties with federally backed mortgages are set to lapse on July 25, and the pain for many renters will only be compounded as expanded unemployment benefits are scheduled to disappear at the end of the month. The consequences that follow, while widespread, would  disproportionately affect communities and individuals of color, the report says.

The new survey finds that large majorities of voters across party affiliations support a broad slate of measures to prevent eviction and foreclosure.

  • 62% of voters, including 51% of Republicans, support forgiving rent during the coronavirus emergency, with their city and state government compensating landlords for lost rent.
  • 75%, including 59% of Republicans, support the federal government setting aside funds to help cities and states compensate landlords and lenders in order to forgive rent and mortgages. 
  • 71%, including 65% of Republicans, support prioritizing smaller landlords, often economically vulnerable themselves, in any rent forgiveness system and repayment programs their city or state governments establish. 
  • 65%, including 56% of Republicans, support forgiving all rent and requiring landlords to agree to a set of practices in order to participate in any rent repayment program
  • 62%, including 51% of Republicans, support rent forgiveness stretching back to the beginning of the current crisis.

The entire report is available here.