Priscilla Williams has been luckier than many. Her job as public housing program coordinator pays a decent salary and can be done from home. But the coronavirus pandemic has still strained her finances—so much so that Ms. Williams, a 39-year-old Black woman, has exhausted her savings and is now about 2½ months behind on the rent for her two-bedroom apartment in Boston.

“People don’t understand how you can’t make your ends meet when you have a job,” she said. “I’m above accessing benefits, but I’m not wealthy enough to sustain my family on my own right now.”

The coronavirus is proving to be a great unequalizer, causing joblessness, sickness and even death at higher rates among nonwhite populations. As Ms. Williams’s story illustrates, housing is another key dimension of pandemic-induced inequality—amplifying longstanding racial gaps in financial stability.

Photographed in Palo Alto, Calif. for The Wall Street Journal.

Text by Gwynn Guilford and Luis Melgar.

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