The Bureau continues to fight to help alleviate housing insecurity through its Tech Sprint Program
By Dave Uejio
I am pleased to announce that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will participate in the “The World Post COVID-19” tech sprint program. The program’s six tech sprints will focus on post-pandemic challenges. The CFPB is partnering with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to lead a tech sprint on post-pandemic housing challenges.
For our tech sprint, we will ask participants to develop innovative tools to raise the visibility of housing assistance resources and to connect those experiencing housing insecurity with these resources. Once state and federal COVID-19 eviction and foreclosure protections end, many households will face challenges resuming rent or making back rental or mortgage payments. In some cases, families may be displaced or even face homelessness. So, it’s imperative housing assistance resources reach those in need.
Many displaced homeowners and renters, hoping to find new housing, will confront affordable housing shortages and ever increasing demand on available housing. Even with most state and federal housing protections intact, "just 36 rental units are affordable and available for every 100 extremely low-income renter households.” Once the federal protections end July 31st, we expect the problem of affordable housing to worsen.
We also want housing assistance resources to land in the hands of landlords, particularly small ones, because, often, they are not prepared to weather significant financial hardships, such as tenants being unable to pay rent, and have fewer resources to manage the demands of running a business. These landlords may decide to sell their properties or avoid renting to tenants in need of assistance. Small landlords account for nearly half of all rental units and are an important source of affordable housing in many areas, so their decisions will impact the ability of many families to find affordable housing.
I commend the Census Bureau’s TOP, HUD, and our Office of Innovation for leveraging this tech sprint to contribute to the government-wide effort to help individuals and families facing housing insecurity in the immediate and long-term.