The Eviction Crisis Is Already Here and It’s Crushing Black Moms

July 27, 2020

Amid widespread job loss, reduced hours, and pay cuts, more than 12.5 million renters were unable to make their most recent payment, according to survey data collected last week and released by the U.S. Census Bureau Wednesday. And nearly 24 million people have little to no confidence in their ability to pay next month’s rent, Census data show. Approximately 56% of those anxious renters are Black or Latinx — the populations that are also more likely to rent and more likely to spend a more significant portion of their income on housing. That’s while Black and Latinx people have been disproportionately harmed by the virus itself, and the resulting job loss.

Housing advocates anticipate that eviction filings against those vulnerable, non-paying households could eventually build into an onslaught of homelessness, especially as the patchwork safety net created to prevent widespread poverty during the pandemic erodes. 

That disparity was present before the virus, too. Over the past few years, as the affordable housing shortage has deepened nationwide, regional studies of eviction records in Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Chicago, and Boston have shown that renters residing in predominantly Black neighborhoods face higher rates of eviction filings. And women are especially vulnerable. According to one January analysis of eviction data from the American Civil Liberties Union, landlords filed evictions against Black women at almost twice the rate of white renters in 17 out of 36 states between 2012 and 2016. 

“The overwhelming majority of our housing clients are Black mothers,” said Isaac Sturgill, the housing practice group manager at Legal Aid of North Carolina, which represents low-income tenants. “That problem is just going to be exacerbated.”

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