A new housing crisis study by the United Way Suncoast Data Team reveals that 1 in 2 families in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, and DeSoto Counties are rent-cost burdened.
Economists define rent-cost burdened households as those spending more than 30 percent of their monthly income on rent. The statistic represents just one of the indicators the UWS Data Team will continue to track in its new State of the Housing Crisis dashboard at https://unitedwaysuncoast.org/eviction-mitigation.
The dashboard, which took six weeks for the team to compose, will update data from a variety of sources to examine rising rental rates, eviction filings and available emergency rental assistance dollars.
“We hope that this dashboard can be a clean and clear source of information for the community to continuously shine a light on the ongoing housing crisis in our communities,” said Doug Griesenauer, director workforce development and financial stability for UWS. “By knowing that rent is not going down, eviction filings are holding steady, and ERA dollars are still on the table, we hope to be a resource for people to always know how we’re doing and what more we can do as a community.”
The numbers certainly reflect a need for greater assistance. Julia Goldman, UWS’ data analysis senior manager, said the dashboard indicates that eviction filings, once delayed by state and federal government moratoriums, have returned to pre-pandemic levels. The U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey indicates that 40 percent of Florida respondents feel they are likely to be evicted from their home in the next two months.
Equally revealing: the data team discovered that a two-earner household with each making $15 an hour cannot find affordable rental accommodations (30 percent or less of their income) in the five-county region. Meanwhile, the state minimum wage sits at $10 an hour.
Goldman said she hopes such statistics do more than raise eyebrows.
“This tool can be used by the public and lawmakers alike to not only understand the current situation in our community, but take action to disperse emergency rental dollars quickly,” Goldman said. “In addition, we hope it sparks conversation around finding additional measures that can help with the eviction crisis outside of the ERA dollars.”
Some of the statistics are based on delayed data from the U.S. Department of Treasury, which the department releases one month after collection. However, the data team will continue to update the dashboard as new numbers become available.
United Way Suncoast has devoted $3 million to eviction mitigation efforts that include funding the hiring of rental navigators, creating cohorts of nonprofit agencies, regional planning and information sharing to increase access to ERA dollars, and providing legal support to tenants facing eviction through strategic community partners Bay Area Legal (Hillsborough/Pinellas), Gulfcoast Legal (Pinellas/Manatee/Sarasota) and the Community Law Program (Pinellas).
For further information and to arrange interviews with Griesenauer or Goldman, please contact Ernest Hooper at (813) 310-4444.