COVID-19: Poverty, Housing, Homelessness – A Broad View and a Picture from West Michigan

28 Pages Posted: 28 May 2020

Date Written: May 28, 2020


Housing…shelter…is a fundamental part of what it means to be human. The current COVID-19 public health crisis is causing economic hardship on families and individuals, hurting disproportionately people already living in tenuous economic situations. Sectors most severely impacted by the economic shutdown employ notable numbers of such families and individuals, who now are without jobs, receiving temporary unemployment assistance, without certainty that their jobs will again be made available. In order to mitigate the additional negative outcomes of these unprecedented twin global health and economic crises, policy makers across levels of government must work together to prevent an extreme loss of housing and the related negative consequences outlined in this paper. Given Michigan has experienced one of the worst sets of recessions over the last 20 years, it is an important case study in understanding the economic impact, particularly on housing, of these crises. This paper presents an overview of the concerns in the ability to pay for housing springing from the economic impact of the public health shutdowns using west Michigan as an illustrative example. It further recommends policy actions to mitigate the most negative impacts on housing access applicable both in Michigan and nationwide.

Keywords: COVID-19, Housing, Evictions, Homelessness, Policy

Suggested Citation

Beard, Virginia, COVID-19: Poverty, Housing, Homelessness – A Broad View and a Picture from West Michigan (May 28, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Virginia Beard (Contact Author)

Hope College ( email )

United States
6163957545 (Phone)


Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics