Mitigating Housing Instability During a Pandemic

78 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2020 Last revised: 19 Sep 2023

See all articles by Michelle D. Layser

Michelle D. Layser

University of San Diego School of Law

Edward W. De Barbieri

Albany Law School

Andrew Greenlee

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tracy A. Kaye

Seton Hall Law School

Blaine G. Saito

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Date Written: June 15, 2020

Abstract

Housing instability threatens to impair the United States’ policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic by undermining public health strategies such as social distancing. Yet, mitigation of housing instability has not been the focus of early emergency legislation, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which has focused on providing cash support to individuals and businesses. Although many of these laws have the potential to reduce housing instability, this Article argues that they face barriers to effective implementation akin to those that hindered similar interventions during the Great Recession. These barriers—which include administrative hurdles, reliance on voluntary participation, resource constraints, and political pushback—may prevent these interventions from effectively mitigating housing instability. For this reason, additional rental assistance and mortgage payment assistance will be necessary to prevent the loss of housing that will ultimately exacerbate the public health crisis. We also recommend a new civil right to counsel in eviction cases and targeted place-based interventions to promote affordable housing development where it is needed most.

Keywords: Housing, Poverty, Urban Law, Tax Law, Tax, Economic Development, Urban Planning, Pandemic, COVID-19, LIHTC, Opportunity Zones, Tax Credits

JEL Classification: K11, K34, 018, R21, R28

Suggested Citation

Layser, Michelle D. and De Barbieri, Edward and Greenlee, Andrew and Kaye, Tracy A. and Saito, Blaine G., Mitigating Housing Instability During a Pandemic (June 15, 2020). University of Illinois College of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 20-15, Seton Hall Public Law Research Paper Forthcoming, Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 386-2020, Albany Law School Research Paper No. 6 For 2020-2021, Oregon Law Review, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3613789 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3613789

Michelle D. Layser (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.sandiego.edu/law/faculty/biography.php?profile_id=12852

Edward De Barbieri

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States
518-445-3234 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://albanylaw.edu/faculty/faculty-directory/edward-w-de-barbieri

Andrew Greenlee

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL Champaign 61820
United States

Tracy A. Kaye

Seton Hall Law School ( email )

One Newark Center
Newark, NJ 07102
United States

Blaine G. Saito

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

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