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With September rent and mortgage payments due in less than a week, nearly 109,000 Massachusetts households will need help to make those payments, a new analysis finds.
According to a report by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, unemployed people across the state will need $117 million a month in housing assistance. And without the $600 additional federal jobless payments that ended after July, that need is no longer hypothetical, but very real.
Renters face the greatest urgency, representing 61,000 households and $57.2 million of the total.
“Before it was, ‘Warning, warning, warning.’ Now it’s here,” said Sarah Philbrick, an analyst at MAPC in Boston. “Renters can’t be evicted now, but they’re still going to owe that money when the moratorium ends, or face eviction.”
A new $300 weekly benefit for Massachusetts residents, funded by a federal grant, has been approved, but it's unclear when those payments will start.
Homeowner households affected by unemployment number 47,700 and represent nearly $60 million in monthly payments about to become due. They are generally in a somewhat better position than renters, Philbrick said, because they can defer payments for a period, tacking the mortgage owed onto the end of their loans.
However it’s unknown how long banks will be required to offer these extensions.
Philbrick used unemployment claims and housing data to arrive at her calculations. As of July 18, there were 454,954 people in the commonwealth collecting unemployment benefits. That’s a significant decrease of about 300,000 since MAPC’s last analysis in May, with more people recently returning to work.
Unemployment across the state is at about 16%. The study estimates that 37% of claimants are renters.
As the coronavirus-driven recession drags on, the average amount of help a rental household will need is $940 a month to pay for housing and other necessities, the study found. For owners, it will be $1,250 on average.
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