Affordable Housing

District of Columbia, DC
United States

Surveyed affordable-housing-property owners in the Washington, DC, region to track changes in rent delinquency rates and help city agencies determine how to target financial assistance to tenants and landlords.

As of mid-July 2020, 33 percent of District of Columbia residents were not confident in their ability to pay the next month’s rent. Moreover, tenants’ inability to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many affordable housing developers’ cash flows, making it difficult for them to balance their books. The Coalition for Nonprofit Housing & Economic Development (CNHED) is a member association that collected data to track the COVID-19 pandemic’s financial impact on affordable housing properties across the District of Columbia. Although national trackers collect data on rent payments, they do not include subsidized housing or log partial payments.

To conduct its research, CNHED worked with affordable housing developers to collect the dollar amounts of financial delinquency and the number of tenants missing rent payments each month. CNHED compared the amount of unpaid rent with estimated gross potential rent and calculated the rate of financial delinquency for these properties across the District. CNHED conducted property-level analyses by collecting the location, type of residents, income limits, and number of units with rent subsidies for each property in an affordable housing developer’s portfolio. In addition, CNHED used a monthly tracker to report metrics in aggregate, showing how the nonpayment rate fluctuates and hopes to extend data collection six months beyond the end of the public health emergency to evaluate the pandemic’s evolving impact and understand how financial assistance can best be targeted to assist tenants and landlords.