Recently, the Hispanic Federation and the New America organization published “Overcoming COVID-19: Economic Barriers for Latino Communities,” an extensive investigation into the effects of the pandemic in three fundamental spheres for our community: employment, housing and food. In addition to the research results, the study contains important recommendations from the two organizations.
Latinos and Latinas, and especially immigrants, have markedly lower homeownership rates than Americans overall. More than one in five Hispanics (22%) told us they owned their home. And more than seven out of ten (72%) rent the place where they live. The remaining 6% do not fall into these two categories because they are homeless, or live with relatives without paying rent or in dwellings provided by their employers or companies.
More than one in three people (35%) said they had trouble paying their rent or mortgage on time during the pandemic. And more than one in four indicated they were one to three months behind on their rent. 8% owed more than three months.
Nearly four in ten of those who had difficulty with payments said that their landlords or lenders had allowed them to make partial payments for a few months. And more than one in ten said their landlord or lender allowed them to pay nothing for several months.
On the other hand, 43% of the tenants and owners of their homes in debt were required to pay full and on time. But only 14% of those surveyed said they were in danger of eviction or loss of their home due to foreclosure.
Finally, just over one in 10 respondents said they applied for help paying their rent or mortgage, and a slightly smaller percentage said they had difficulty qualifying for that help.
One of the recommendations of the report from our Hispanic Federation and New America is that longer periods of time be given to pay back rents and mortgages, before starting the eviction process. It should also facilitate and simplify the procedures for requesting help with the rent, and lengthen the deadlines to request it; and information and education about available help, tenant rights, and housing counseling services should be increased.
In the long term, both organizations propose that policies be implemented to ensure safe housing for agricultural workers; that shelters be increased and improved; and that measures be taken so that more Latinas and Latinos can own their homes.
Interested parties can consult the report “Overcoming COVID-19: Economic Barriers for Latino Communities” and our recommendations.
For more information about our federation, visit www.hispanicfederation.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter.
Let’s celebrate the 31st anniversary of the Hispanic Federation together, and see you next column!
-Frankie Miranda is the president of the Hispanic Federation