October 27, 2022
Prior to COVID-19, research has shown that Black and women renters in the United States were the most likely to receive eviction notices. Fortunately, through the Emergency Rental Assistance program (ERA), those renters were the most likely to receive funds from agencies like the RPC during the pandemic.
ERA was the first-ever nationwide eviction prevention program and provided funding to prevent eviction and housing instability in the wake of COVID-19 through direct cash assistance to renters and landlords. Administered in Champaign County by the RPC, the program sought to assist with rent, utilities, and other housing-related expenses. Now, a study conducted by the Office of Evaluation Sciences and the U.S. Department of the Treasury shows how the demographic profile of renters who were eligible for ERA compared to the demographic profile of renters who received it.
Key findings of the study—which estimated differences in the race, ethnicity, gender, and income of renters who received and renters who were eligible for ERA, show that:
- Extremely low-income renters were overrepresented: at 64%, their share of the recipient population was twice their share of the eligible population. (Through the RPC, extremely low-income renters represented 90% of the eligible population.)
- Black renters were strongly overrepresented among recipients of ERA – their share of the recipient population was 21-22 percentage points higher than their share of the eligible population. (Through the RPC, Black renters represented 70% of the eligible population.)
- The share of recipients who identify as women was 14-15 percentage points higher than their share of eligible renters. (Through the RPC, women represented 72% of the eligible population.)
- Renters who identify as AIAN, Pacific Islander, or Hawaiian Native were overrepresented. (Through the RPC, this population was also overrepresented compared to the Champaign County census demographics.)
- Consistent with other benefits programs, Asian renters were underrepresented among recipients of ERA. (Through the RPC, Asian renters were also underrepresented at less than 1% of recipients.)
As intended, ERA funds effectively targeted resources to those most in need, meaning they were much more likely to reach those with the lowest incomes. This outcome is a direct result of the tireless efforts of agencies like the RPC to develop and execute comprehensive strategies to reach community members in need. By distributing assistance and cutting barriers to program access, the RPC helped thousands of households in Champaign County through Emergency Rental Assistance.