Multi-City Housing Insecurity Study

For many low-income renters, and for many non-white communities, COVID-19 is exacerbating several issues related to economic vulnerability, displacement, and housing instability. The goal of the COVID-19 Housing Response Collaborative is to leverage the expertise at the University of Pennsylvania to provide deep technical assistance to cities to advance effective local policies amidst the pandemic and thereafter. Specifically, PennPraxis Design Fellows, under the advisement of Vincent Reina, are helping six US cities—Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Philadelphia—develop rent relief programs for low-income households experiencing COVID-related income loss. The team is also embedding evaluation instruments into the program design in order to measure the impact of rent relief on individual outcomes. The team will continue to develop a cross-city knowledge sharing network that will allow municipalities to leverage lessons thus learned to equitably and efficiently address urgent COVID-related housing needs and inform future rent relief programs. Ultimately, the project aims to synthesize lessons from these unprecedented local efforts to inform federal housing policy, which has long fallen short of the vast need for assistance and the potential to narrow the racial and economic inequalities that divide Americans.

The Housing Initiative at Penn