Pro Bono News

The eviction crisis has begun. It will get so much worse.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The eviction crisis has begun. It will get so much worse.

"For months, legal aid attorneys, activists and community leaders have sounded the alarm: Without financial assistance for renters and small landlords, ending emergency eviction protections would produce a wave of displacement. The moment of reckoning seemed to arrive at the end of July, when provisions of the Cares Act that blocked evictions and supplemented unemployment insurance expired, wiping away two of the strongest barriers standing between renters and a wave of eviction filings.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an emergency order on Sept. 4 barring certain evictions through 2020. This just kicks the issue a few months down the road because Congress has offered no new funding to help the unemployed keep up with rent. But in the window between those two events, we got a glimpse of the looming eviction crisis: In places that lacked local protections, and where we have data, evictions spiked — a sign of the social catastrophe to come if the CDC and local moratoriums end and Congress declines to step in.

The federal government doesn’t collect data on evictions, and neither do most states, hampering study of the problem. But the Eviction Lab, at Princeton University, pulls data from public court records systems in jurisdictions where that’s possible. We currently monitor monthly eviction filings in 17 large and medium cities — the biggest include Houston, Phoenix and Boston — and the database includes both 2020 information and data from recent years..."

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