UHERO: Estimating the Need for Rental Assistance in Hawaii

The UH Economic Research Organization (UHERO) worked with the Hawaiʻi Budget & Policy Center to come up with these figures. They form the basis of the Working Families Coalition's proposal.

Our analysis shows that we should expect significant disruption to the rental market after August 1st if nothing is done to support households suffering from COVID-induced job losses. Looking only at housing costs, the COVID Rent Deficit falls well above $100 million dollars. As noted above, this figure is probably conservative, as it only looks at the impact on renters working in the formal economy who are not self-employed. It does not take into account network poverty, meaning that renters who routinely relied on friends and family to cover rent, may struggle to do so when economic hardship is endemic. It also does not consider the needs of homeowners, who are currently more protected by Federal policy, but not entirely so.

We find that providing cash assistance lowers the needs for housing assistance but does not eliminate it, and a hybrid program that recognizes the value and efficiency of cash payments, while providing rent support to the most vulnerable, could be enormously valuable.

Read the full UHERO post here.

Read the Working Families Coalition proposal here.

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