As Congress debates what to include in the next coronavirus relief package, almost one-third of households, 32%, owed money for missed rent or mortgage payments from previous months at the beginning of August, according to a survey by Apartment List, an online rental platform.
The finances of many Americans have deteriorated over the past few months as state reopenings have faltered and the unemployment rate remains sky-high. As a result, millions of Americans are missing bill payments, especially housing, which is most people’s largest monthly expense. Of the one-third of households who had unpaid housing bills for previous months at the beginning of August, 20% owed at least $1,000.
Those statistics will only get worse if Congress does not pass another stimulus bill soon, according to Morning Consult: An estimated 5.4 million additional people will be unable to pay all of their bills by the end of August without a new job or the extra $600 in weekly unemployment insurance that expired last week.
August marked the fourth straight month that around one-third of U.S. households did not make their full housing payment on time, per Apartment List. In the first week of August, 11% of respondents made a partial payment, while 22% had yet to make any payment at all.
One silver lining: Though numbers of missed on-time payments were also high in July, around 90% of households had paid their bill by the end of the month. Still, that means millions of households could have accrued late payment or non-payment fees.
And with eviction courts reopening across the country, the missed payments have advocates worried about potentially millions of people losing their homes in the middle of a global pandemic.
“This is creating a deep sense of housing insecurity for those struggling to keep up financially,” says Apartment List. “With the recent expiration of most federal eviction and foreclosure protections and a lapse in expanded unemployment benefits, this insecurity is sure to deepen over the coming weeks.”