Evictions in New England and the Impact of Public Policy during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Abstract: To stave off a flood of evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was the feared outcome when millions of renting households were suddenly unemployed, Congress and many states implemented policies that included eviction moratoriums and federally funded rental-assistance programs. These programs succeeded in keeping millions of renters housed and driving eviction rates down in the early months of the pandemic. The number of evictions filed in New England declined 56 percent in 2020 and 39 percent in 2021 compared with the average number of evictions filed annually from 2017 through 2019—the pre-pandemic period. Recently, new fears have arisen that many renters remain financially unstable from the pandemic and that a dramatic increase in the number of evictions will follow the end of rental-assistance programs. Based on data from three New England states, it is not clear that these fears will be realized. Evictions rose modestly following the end of these programs in Massachusetts and Rhode Island but stayed below pre-pandemic levels. While in Connecticut, evictions spiked sharply once programs ended and remain slightly above pre-pandemic levels.

Keywords: New England; NEPPC; eviction moratoriums; COVID-19; rental assistance;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Part of Series: New England Public Policy Center Regional Brief

Publication Date: 2022-12-15

Number: 2022-2