In most states, about 1 out of every 10 calls to 2-1-1 helplines is from someone seeking help with their monthly rent payment. It is one of the most frequent requests, and in many states the most frequent request. In a single year, 2019, five states alone – MD, MO, NC, NY, PA – accounted for over 100,000 requests for rent assistance. And still, every state we examined in this analysis has experienced increased requests since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In 12 of the 17 states in the chart below, the number of requests for rent assistance was at least twice as high during March 12-22, 2020 compared to the same days in 2019. With rent often due at the beginning of each month, we will be watching these numbers closely and expect that requests could increase even further in the next week. Very large increases were also seen in cities like Nashville, Miami and Sacramento (lower chart).
Contributors: Cindy Charles, Balaji Golla, Irum Javed, Matthew Kreuter, Jennifer Wolff