Background on the Eviction Crisis

Read more about the eviction crisis in the U.S. with these links to articles, radio shows, and databases.
This page has a collection of reports from individual cities on their data on who is being evicted, how the eviction process works, and what interventions are being tried.

National Overviews

Academic research + data repositories

The Eviction Lab at Princeton University‘s map and data overview of evictions across the country.

Desmond, Matthew, 2012. “Eviction and the Reproduction of Urban Poverty,” American Journal of Sociology, 118(1), pp.88–133. Available at: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/666082

Desmond, Matthew, and Carl Gershenson. Who Gets Evicted? Assessing Individual, Neighborhood, and Network Factors.Social Science Research 62 (2017): 362–77.

Steinberg, Jessica. “Informal, Inquisitorial, and Accurate: An Empirical Look at a Problem-Solving Housing Court.Law and Social Inquiry 42, no. 4 (2017): 1058–90. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.268900.

Bezdek, Barbara. “Silence in the Court: Participation and Subordination of Poor Tenants’ Voices in Legal Process.” 20 Hofstra L. Rev. 533 20 (1992): 533–608.

Summers, Nicole. “The Limits of Good Law: A Study of Housing Court Outcomes.” University of Chicago Law Review 87, no. 1 (2020): 3.

Northridge, Jennifer, Olivia F. Ramirez, Jeanette A. Stingone, and Luz Claudio. “The Role of Housing Type and Housing Quality in Urban Children with Asthma.Journal of Urban Health 87, no. 2 (March 9, 2010): 211–24.

Garboden, Philip ME, and Eva Rosen. “The Threat of Eviction: How Landlords Shape a Contingent Tenure.City & Community, January 2019, 1–38.

Humphries, John Eric, Nicholas Mader, Daniel Tannenbaum, and Winnie van Dijk. “Does Eviction Cause Poverty? Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Cook County, Il.” SSRN Electronic Journal, 2019.

Pastore, Clare. “Gideon Is My Co-Pilot: The Promise of Civil Right to Counsel Pilot Programs.” University of the District of Columbia Law Review David A. Clarke School of Law 17, no. 1 (2014): 75–130.

News Media feature pieces

Desmond, Matthew, 2016. “The Eviction Epidemic: Forced Out.”The New Yorker.

Badger, Emily, and Quoctrung Bui. “In 83 Million Eviction Records, a Sweeping and Intimate New Look at Housing in America.” The New York Times: Upshot, 2018.

On the Media radio show from WNYC: The Scarlet E series on Eviction in America, June 2019.

Fresh Air radio show from NPR: First-Ever Evictions Database Shows: ‘We’re In the Middle Of A Housing Crisis’, April 2018.

Mead, Joseph, and Marissa Pappas. “When Calling 911 Makes You a ‘Nuisance’ and Gets You Evicted.The New York Times. November 9, 2017.

Policy Reports + Proposals

Ginger, Kristen. “Eviction Filings Hurt Tenants, Even If They Win,” Shelterforce, 2018.

Sandstrom, Heather, and Sandra Huerta. “Low-Income Working Families Fact Sheet: The Negative Effects of Instability on Child Development Low ‐ Income,” Urban Institute, 2013. www.urban.org.


Local Spotlights

California: Bay Area

Inglis, Aimee, and Dean Preston, 2018. “California Evictions Are Fast and Frequent.” Tenants Together. http://www.tenantstogether.org/sites/tenantstogether.org/files/CA_Evictions_are_Fast_and_Frequent.pdf 

Treuhaft, Sarah, Jessica Pizarek, Ángel Ross, and Justin Scoggins, 2018. “Solving the Housing Crisis Is Key to Inclusive Prosperity in the Bay Area Contents.” San Francisco, CA. https://www.policylink.org/resources-tools/solving-housing-crisis-bay-area

Otis R. Taylor, J., 2018. “So, you got an eviction notice and have a few weeks to find an apartment…” San Francisco Chronicle. Available at: https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/otisrtaylorjr/article/So-you-got-an-eviction-notice-and-have-a-few-13270312.php

NPC Research, 2017. “Evaluation of the Sargent Shriver Civil Counsel Act (AB590) Housing Pilots.” Judicial Council of California. https://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/Shriver-Housing-2017.pdf

John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest. “San Francisco Right to Civil Counsel Pilot Program Documentation Report.” Stanford, CA, 2014.

Illinois: Chicago

Housing Action Illinois, 2018. “Prejudged: The Stigma of Eviction Records.” http://housingactionil.org/downloads/EvictionReport2018.pdf

Housing Action Illinois. “Eviction in Illinois.” Chicago, IL, 2019. https://housingactionil.org/downloads/EvictionBrief_February2019.pdf

Chicago Evictions: https://eviction.lcbh.org/

Maryland: Baltimore

Public Justice Center. “How Renters Are Processed in the Baltimore City Rent Court.” Baltimore, Maryland, 2015.

Michigan: Detroit

“Detroit Eviction Right to Counsel Summit Slide Deck.” 2019. https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/4408380/Detroit-Eviction-Right-to-Counsel_3-12-19.pdf

Ohio: Akron and Cincinnati

Jones, Bob. “Akron Facing Highest Eviction Rate in Ohio, 24th Highest in the Country.” ABC News 5 Cleveland, December 16, 2019.

Nick Swartsell, October 2018. New Cincinnati Program Will Aim to Prevent Eviction. CityBeat.

Elaina Johns-Wolfe, June 2018. You are being asked to leave the premises”: A Study of Eviction in Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio, 2014-2017. Sociology Department, University of Cincinnati.

Lucy May and Craig Cheatham, June 2018: What Nearly 50,000 eviction filings in four years have done to Hamilton County, I-Team 9.

Nick Swartsell, April 2018. These Cincinnati neighborhoods suffer the most evictions. CityBeat.

Affordable Housing Advocates and Northern Kentucky University, Eviction/Displacement Video interviews, Part 1: Faces of Displacement (6:25 minute video) and Part 2: Housing Court (5:40 minutes).

A FAQ from the court clerk on eviction process in Hamilton County.

New York City and New York

NYU Furman Center. “Implementing New York City’s Universal Access to Counsel Program: Lessons for Other Jurisdictions.” Policy Brief, no. December (2018). http://furmancenter.org/files/UAC_Policy_Brief_12_11-18.pdf

New York County Lawyers’ Association. “The New York City Housing Court in the 21st Century: Can It Better Address the Problems Before It?3 Cardozo Pub. L. Pol’y & Ethics J. 601, no. 1 (2006). www.nycla.org.

Seron, Carroll, Martin Frankel, Gregg Van Ryzin, and Jean Kovath. “The Impact of Legal Counsel on Outcomes for Poor Tenants in New York City’s Housing Court: Results of a Randomized Experiment.” Law & Society Review 35, no. 2 (2001): 419. https://doi.org/10.2307/3185408.

Make the Road New York. “Home Court Advantage: How Landlords Are Winning and Tenants Are Losing in Brooklyn Housing Court.” Brooklyn, NY, 2011.

New Settlement Apartments’ Community Action for Safe Apartments, Community Development Project, and Urban Justice Center. “Tipping the Scales: A Report of Tenant Experiences in Bronx Housing Court,” 2013.

Scherer, Andrew, John Pollock, Kate Donald, Glenn Lau-kee, Tom Waters. “Housing Justice: What the Experts Are Saying on New Yorkers’ Right to Counsel in Eviction Proceedings.” New York, 2014.

Mironova, Oksana. “NYC Right to Counsel: First Year Results and Potential for Expansion.” Community Service Society of New York. New York, March 2019.

Right to Counsel NYC Coalition. “Right to Counsel Toolkit.” New York, NY, 2020.

Barker, Kim, Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Grace Ashford, and Sarah Cohen. “The Eviction Machine Churning Through New York City.” The New York Times. May 20, 2018.

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia

City of Philadelphia, “At Home: Eviciton Prevention & Response Progress Report“, September 2019.

Reinvestment Fund, Policy Brief: Evictions in Philadelphia, January 2017.

Philadelphia Bar Association and Stout Counseling, Economic Return on Investment of Providing Counsel in Philadelphia Eviction Cases for Low-Income Tenants, November 2018.

Philadelphia’s Mayor’s Office’s Taskforce on Eviction Prevention and Response, June 2018.

Washington: Seattle

Cookson, Tara, Maragret Diddams, Xochiti Maykovich, and Edmund Witter. “Losing Home: The Human Cost of Eviction in Seattle.” King County Bar Association, Seattle Women’s Commission, 2018. https://www.kcba.org/Portals/0/pbs/pdf/Losing Home 2018.pdf

Washington, D.C.

Lebowitz, Julie, Auditor-In-Charge Nancy Augustine, and Kathleen Patterson. “Housing Code Enforcement: A Case Study of Dahlgreen Courts.” Washington, DC, September 24, 2018. www.dcauditor.org.


Organizations working on the eviction crisis

  • National Housing Law Project: “The National Housing Law Project’s mission is to advance housing justice for poor people and communities.  We achieve this by strengthening and enforcing the rights of tenants, increasing housing opportunities for underserved communities, and preserving and expanding the nation’s supply of safe and affordable homes.”
  • National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty: “The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., and is the only national legal group dedicated to ending and preventing homelessness. We operate programs across the United States that serve America’s more than 3.5 million homeless families, children and individuals.”
  • National Housing Trust: “The National Housing Trust is the nation’s leading expert in preserving, improving and maintaining affordable housing – ensuring that privately owned rental housing remains in our affordable housing stock and is sustainable over time. Using the tools of real estate development, rehabilitation, finance, policy advocacy in conjunction with sustainable practices, the Trust is responsible for saving more than 36,000 affordable homes in all 50 states, leveraging more than $1.2 billion in financing.”
  • National Low Income Housing Coalition: “Founded in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, NLIHC educates, organizes and advocates to ensure decent, affordable housing for everyone. Our goals are to preserve existing federally assisted homes and housing resources, expand the supply of low income housing, and establish housing stability as the primary purpose of federal low income housing policy.”
  • National Housing Conference: “NHC is all about connection. Our unique vantage point in the housing community means we can connect research to practice, advocate across the continuum of housing and deliver the research, resources and experts you need to do your work to move housing forward. Whatever your interest in housing, you can come to NHC for information to fuel your work and to collaborate for positive policy change at every level.”
  • Just Shelter: “Just Shelter was founded by Matthew Desmond and Tessa Lowinske Desmond to raise awareness of the human cost of the lack of affordable housing in America and to amplify the work of community organizations working to preserve affordable housing, prevent eviction, and reduce family homelessness.”
  • National Alliance to End Homelessness: “The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose sole purpose is to end homelessness in the United States. We use research and data to find solutions to homelessness; we work with federal and local partners to create a solid base of policy and resources that support those solutions; and then we help communities implement them.”
  • National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel: “The National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC), organized and funded in part by the Public Justice Center, is an association of individuals and organizations committed to ensuring meaningful access to the courts for all.  Founded in 2003, our mission is to encourage, support, and coordinate advocacy to expand recognition and implementation of a right to counsel for low-income people in civil cases that involve basic human needs such as shelter, safety, sustenance, health, and child custody.”