Skip to main content

Tens of thousands of Arizona households have already missed rent payments during COVID-19

The recent uptick in COVID-19 cases has made it clear that Arizona remains stuck in a public health and economic emergency. As the expiration dates for expanded unemployment benefits through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Governor’s eviction moratorium draw near, many renters may be on the verge of losing their homes.

According to the Household Pulse Survey conducted each week by the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 14% of Arizona renter households have missed or deferred payments since March. That translates to about 125,000 households that could be on the verge of eviction today. The rate is slightly higher in the Phoenix Metro Area, with 16% of households missing payments, approximately 97,000 households.

While the state has established a pandemic rental assistance program for those who have been affected by COVID-19, records suggest that very little of these resources have been disbursed. While landlords and tenants may enter into voluntary agreements on rent payment, Arizonans deserve protections for lost income (and thus rent payment) due to COVID-19. While the Governor’s eviction moratorium was never broad enough to adequately protect renters during the pandemic, at a minimum the expiration date of the order should be extended. The Arizona Center for Economic Progress recently joined a host of organizations to advocate just that.

To be clear, affordable housing was a growing problem in Arizona well before the pandemic. According to a recent report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Arizona is now in the top 20 most unaffordable states in the country. Going back to normal will not be good enough for those struggling to pay rent or live close enough to their workplace. To build back better, Arizona should pursue people-first policies like investing in the Housing Trust Fund and empowering cities to increase the supply of affordable housing.

More News

Diverse people wearing face masks

Arizona's regressive tax policy contributes significantly to economic and racial injustice

Tax policy plays a role in the fight for economic and racial justice. The type of tax and how it is structured matters. A new report issued by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), Taxes and Racial Equity…

Family preparing for school during COVID-19 pandemic

American Rescue Plan will provide much needed boost for Arizona

The American Rescue Plan Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Biden last week, is a major victory for Arizonans. A year into the pandemic, this legislation provides much-needed relief to struggling households and…

Arizona in the time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions to the U.S. and Arizona economy. Unemployment and underemployment remain high. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. added 49,000 jobs in January, more…