Eviction in the Aftermath of COVID-19

Awarded Scholars:
Matthew Desmond, Princeton University
Peter Hepburn, Rutgers University, Newark
Project Date:
Mar 2021
Award Amount:
$124,811

Because of stagnant wages and rising rents, a quarter of all renters spends more than half of their income on housing. In 2016, a time of robust economic growth, 3.7 million eviction cases were filed. This suggests that the pandemic and resulting recession came at a time when millions were already at high risk of eviction. The Eviction Lab’s COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard assesses state-level renter protections on a scale from zero to five stars; 39 states have one star or below. The pandemic could lead to a surge in eviction, displacement, and homelessness, and increase COVID-19 case rates and mortality. To date, however, there has been no data infrastructure that tracks evictions in real-time. Matt Desmond and his colleagues will augment an innovative system for tracking real-time eviction filings, providing new data, and informing research and public policy. The Eviction Tracking System monitors eviction filings across the country in real time. The PIs will increase the data sharing capabilities of the ETS and address two research questions using the data. First, to what extent do evictions in the wake of COVID 19 aggravate existing inequalities and which new populations are being exposed to housing precarity? Second, how effective are various policy solutions and political institutions in reducing residential displacement?

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