Media Moves

Covering the housing market at a tipping point

August 12, 2020

Posted by Chris Roush

Conor Dougherty

Conor Dougherty, who covers housing and business for the New York Times, talks about the issues on his beat given the current economy.

Here is an excerpt:

Before the coronavirus pandemic, I was writing a lot about housing insecurity. Housing in America has been a problem for decades. One in four tenants spent more than half their income on rent. Younger professionals had no chance of buying a house. We had a million evictions a year and about half a million homeless people. So I was focused on housing in a multifaceted way: Why do our federal programs not cover as many people as they should cover? Why is it so difficult to build lower-income housing?

For many reporters, the pandemic shelved a lot of long-term projects. But for me, the opposite happened. What I had been writing about for years became that much worse. The story was no longer about making housing better but about that most basic thing: How do you keep people from being thrown out of their homes?

Housing experts thought there would be a horrific eviction problem at the beginning of the pandemic, but that didn’t happen because the stimulus measures basically worked. There were problems with it, but the $600 weekly supplement, the $1,200 one-time stimulus and all the eviction moratoriums passed by a large majority of states, the federal government and a ton of cities helped avert a crisis.

Read more here.

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