LSC Eviction Project Issues Second Research Brief and New Data Tool

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The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) released a research brief today examining the impact of different eviction protections offered to renters. LSC also launched its Eviction Tracker, an interactive online tool that provides real-time access to data on eviction filings around the country.

These new resources are part of LSC’s 18-month study of the eviction crisis in the United States. Congress directed LSC to conduct the study to address concerns about the high rate of evictions in the country and the patchwork nature of local laws and regulations governing the eviction process prior to the emergence of COVID-19.

Since the onset of the pandemic, policymakers, housing advocates and researchers have been sounding the alarm about a deepening eviction crisis in the U.S. In response, various eviction moratoria have been put in place at the federal, state and local level to help stem the tide of evictions.

The just-released brief looks at both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium and state-implemented moratoria in five counties: Cass County, North Dakota; Greenville County, South Carolina; Harris Country, Texas; Hennepin County, Minnesota; and New Castle County, Delaware. LSC’s investigation of eviction filing trends in the five counties shows that the number of filings decreased significantly when moratoria were designed to intervene early in the legal process of eviction — by preventing filings or hearings rather than later in the process, like the CDC moratorium. Under the CDC moratorium, landlords can still file eviction cases and initiate the eviction process.

“LSC’s analysis demonstrates the profound effect eviction moratoria enacted by local governments can have on keeping people in their homes during this time of economic and health peril,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “A moratorium can provide additional time for tenants and landlords to tap into the rental assistance Congress has appropriated or to make other arrangements that will reduce the devastating and often prolonged effects that evictions have on families.”

The LSC Eviction Tracker allows users to see eviction filings in different counties across the U.S. in real time. Users can also examine historical filing numbers. The tracker currently features court data for 434 counties in 15 states and LSC will continue adding locations as data become available.

The CDC moratorium is set to expire on July 31, placing millions of renters at risk of homelessness and insurmountable debt as back rent comes due before state and federal rental assistance can be fully dispersed. LSC’s findings indicate that tenants in states with additional, continued protections will be shielded from many of these consequences as their states have stemmed the legal eviction process upstream. However, the majority of states do not have state-level eviction moratoria currently in place.

Read the brief or see the LSC Eviction Tracker for more insights on different eviction protections. LSC released the first brief in the eviction study, A Common Story: The Eviction Process in Shelby County, TN, on January 21. 

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

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