Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Fyall and Fowle in Seattle Times for Research on Housing Insecurity During Pandemic

Posted: 7/27/2021 (CSDE Research)

CSDE Affiliate Rachel Fyall and CSDE Trainee Matt Fowle recently completed a report on COVID-19 impacts on low income tenants’ housing security in Washington State (report available here). Their report was highlighted on the front page of the Seattle Times on July 21, 2021. With funding from the UW’s West Coast Poverty Center and the Population Health Initiative, Fyall and Fowle find that the pandemic led to downward residential mobility, increased rental debt, and poorer housing quality for low-income households. The pandemic has exacerbated the negative impact of housing insecurity on health as tenants are spending more time in substandard housing that is harmful to their physical and mental health. Overall, households of color have been disproportionately affected by this worsening housing security, in particular Black and Latinx tenants. The eviction moratorium has likely been successful in preventing a surge in formal evictions during the pandemic. However, methods of informal evictions and forced moves, such as landlords changing door locks and refusing to renew leases, have significantly increased. Their study employed a mixed methods approach in partnership with the Tenants Union of Washington State, draws on semi-structured interviews (n=25) and a survey (n=410) with low-income tenants to examine the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic and eviction moratoria have impacted housing security in Washington State.

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