While Dietsche’s cellphone has been ringing with eager buyers, Tammy Steen’s phone has been buzzing for a different reason. Her landlord keeps calling demanding the $700 rent she does not have. Steen, 52, was a hotel housekeeper at a Hampton Inn in Pensacola, Fla. Her temporary layoff now looks permanent. She has yet to receive unemployment aid despite applying in late March. She has applied to countless fast food, retail and maid jobs but has not been hired. She has started selling hot dogs on the side of the road to beachgoers, praying she does not become homeless.
The coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating inequities across America, especially in housing. This summer is one of the best times for home buyers and worst for many renters. Americans with money in the bank are buying bigger homes, while renters increasingly worry about eviction.
Nearly 15 million homes sold nationwide in April, May and June, according to new data released last week by the Commerce Department and National Association of Realtors. Meanwhile, 12.6 million renters say they were unable to pay rent last month, according to the latest Household Pulse survey from the U.S. Census.