Researchers at the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization are urging Hawaii policymakers to increase support for renters until 2022.
“It is clear that doing nothing is not a viable option. In the absence of additional support, at least 10,000 families will be in perilous housing situation(s) in addition to the normal strains of Hawai’i’s housing market,” researchers Philip Garboden and Isabelle Picciotto wrote Tuesday.
The researchers analyzed four different scenarios in which unemployment assistance ended in the first quarter of 2021; was extended through the third quarter; and was supplemented by $100 or $300 weekly subsidies. Even in the best-case scenario, researchers estimated 6,000 additional renter households would be paying more than 30% of their income on rent next year. Even prior to the pandemic, Hawaii already had a high rate of renters who paid a large share of their income on rent.
“The data also suggest that some households’ need will be quite extended, lasting beyond the end of 2021. This suggests a policy intervention that moves beyond a single influx of cash assistance (as welcome as that might be) to one that adjusts to household needs as (the) economy recovers in unpredictable ways,” the researchers found.