Evictions Are Climbing to Pre-Pandemic Levels in Cities Across the US

Despite the fact that billions of dollars of federal rental assistance is flowing to cities and states, the number landlords are seeking to evict tenants is rising back to pre-pandemic levels across the country. This is because wage growth continues to lag behind inflation, and millions of people are struggling to meet the rising cost of basic necessities.

An estimated 35 percent of respondents to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest Household Pulse Survey they are either “very” or “somewhat” likely to leave their home in the next two months due to an eviction. Only 11 percent of respondents claimed they applied for and received rent assistance through federally-funded programs typically administered in states and cities. These cities are responsible for dispersing around the country. $46.5 billionIn aid of landlords and tenants A larger Pulse survey found that nearly 25 percent of renter households are “slightly confident” or “not confident at all” in their ability to pay the next month’s rent.

These federal figures are just extrapolated from survey data. But if they are even close to reality, a growing tide of evictions could result in millions of people being displaced. cost of living spikes.

Shawn Fremstad is a senior policy Fellow at The Center for Economic and Policy Research. He says that employment gains and support through temporary pandemic assistance packages protected the working class against the inflationary effects. However, corporations continue raising pricesConsumersCongress failed to extend safety-net programs such as the expanded Child Tax CreditThis was the last. millions of peopleLast year, you didn’t go hungry.

“But it is now clear that corporate greed is hitting the working class head on,” Fremstad said in a statement this week. “According to the Census Bureau, just over one in three adults (about 34 percent) now report difficulty paying for the usual household expenses, the highest level we’ve seen since early 2021.”

Across the six states and 31 cities tracked by Princeton University’s Eviction LabIn the last week alone, more than 10247 evictions were filed by landlords. In Texas cities — Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth — landlords filed for 37,000 evictions in the first three months of the year, accordingTo a Texas Tribune Reports are based on the identical data.

In Dallas, eviction filings plummetedDespite the fact that there were only six filings per week during the pandemic, the number of filings soared after the lifting of federal and local eviction moratoriums months earlier. This month, Dallas saw more than 1,000 filings in a single week. Similar reportsThese are the latest developments in cities across the country as pandemic social aid dries up.

The housing crisis extends beyond eviction. This is partly due to a broken social safety netLow wages for workers across multiple top industriesA staggering 33% of U.S. households cannot afford $600 per month rent. This leaves many families living in dangerous or crowded housing situations.

The United States faced a housing crisis and eviction crisis long before the pandemic that forced millions of Americans out of work and forced many businesses to close. Rent was being charged to people who couldn’t afford it even before the pandemic. accordingHousing justice groups. More than 3.6 million evictionsEach year, filed in the U.S.

Losing a home can be as easy as falling behind on rent, especially in red states. few legal protectionsFor renters. An attorney is only available for 3 percent of tenants facing eviction. This compares to the 81 percent of landlords. accordingThe National Coalition on the Right to Counsel. Greg Pollack, a staff member at the Right to Counsel Coalition, said that many evictions do not get challenged in court.

“They just leave. If they try to fight alone, they will lose, and they know it,” Pollock said in an interview. “Half of the people involved don’t even go to court for something that can make them homeless, lose their children, lose their job.”

Even the filing of an eviction, regardless of the outcome in court, can remain on a tenant’s record for years.

The burdens of this crisis fall on a wide range of people. From 2012 to 2016, Black renters received eviction notices from their landlords at almost twice the rate of white renters. Women with low incomes were also targeted. accordingTo the American Civil Liberties Union.

Pollock stated that concerns about housing during the pandemic prompted efforts in many cities to ensure tenants have legal representation. He also established eviction diversion programs to help tenants resolve disputes with landlords and prevent them from being evicted. Tenants unions have also been formed to collectively challenge landlords, and fight evictions all across the country.

Washington State, Maryland and Connecticut established “right to counsel” programs that provide legal counsel to tenants facing eviction based on income, and similar programs were recently established in New York City, San Francisco, Newark, Boulder, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Louisville, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Toledo, Seattle, Denver and Cleveland, according to Pollock.

“There are now 16 jurisdictions that have right to counsel, there were zero in 2017,” Pollock said.

Other cities attempted to thwart and eviction crisis by passing new protections for renters, but Pollock said these efforts suffer from “enforcement problems.”

“Often tenants have to file an affidavit of some kind, they don’t know how to do it, and landlords can challenge it,” Pollock said. “In the cities that don’t have a right to counsel, some of the eviction diversion programs and other efforts have helped, but sometimes they are hampered by the fact that there are no lawyers there to make sure that laws are actually followed.”

Even in cities where tenants have the right to counsel, many of the new programs are still being developed. Pollack stated that there is a shortage of defense attorneys for tenants in the country. The Supreme Court overturned a federal moratorium against evictions last August. Most local moratoriums are now expired. Local courts are filling with tenants facing evictionIn-person hearings are now available to replace the cumbersome Zoom calls that were previously slowing down court proceedings and locking out defendants who didn’t have internet access during pandemic lockdowns.

Advocates are well aware that the right to counsel can help keep many people in their homes. Pollock reports that 84 percent of New York City’s tenants who have legal representation remain in their homes. In Cleveland, however, 93 per cent of represented tenants avoid an involuntary or eviction.

Many tenants are unable or unwilling to appear in court due their work, family, and other obligations during daytime. These tenants are often forced from their homes in cities that do not have a right of counsel. Right to counsel programs provide legal representation that instantly solves this problem. Attorneys appear in court and file paperwork on behalf tenants.

Pollock said advocates are encouraging more law students to become tenant’s attorneys in hopes of building a “pipeline” from graduate law schools to state and local programs that guarantee legal defense for tenants.

“We view this as a cutting-edge civil rights fight, which it is; we view this as part of the fight for the right to housing,” Pollock said.