ATLANTA—The journal Housing Policy Debate has published a timely special edition of more than 20 research articles examining the causes, consequences and potential policy responses for evictions in the United States, a challenge faced by more than a million households annually prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kathryn Howell, an associate professor of urban/regional studies and planning at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University and Dan Immergluck, a professor of urban studies in the Urban Studies Institute in Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies co-edited “Evictions: Shedding Light on the Hidden Housing Problem,” which includes articles from dozens of research experts. They see the collection of articles as a critical toolkit for policymakers and other decision makers as eviction protections expire for several million U.S. households.
“When we released the call for articles on this special edition in November 2019, we had no idea that eviction – and the policy responses to it – would quickly become a central policy concern across the country due to stay-at-home mandates and job losses due to COVID,” Howell said. “However, by March 2020, the pandemic had closed schools and dealt families a variety of employment challenges that impacted housing stability.”
Topics examined include the challenges of creating a national database of eviction processes in cities; growing evidence of the strong relationships between gentrification, displacement and eviction; the impact of evictions on the short- and long-term welfare of households, particularly those with children; and supply-side factors in evictions.
A study of Fulton County, Georgia, for example, found investor purchases are associated with a 33 percent increase in the odds of a subsequent eviction spike. They also led to significantly fewer Black residents in the associated census block group, suggesting ownership changes play a role in racialized gentrification.
In another study of housing subsidies and eviction filings for multifamily rental buildings in the five-county metropolitan Atlanta, Immergluck and his co-authors found that subsidized, non-senior multifamily properties have eviction rates that are not substantially lower than market-rate properties in similar neighborhoods. The article closes with a discussion of the implications of their findings for housing policy and practice.
“The federal and local responses to evictions during the pandemic offer opportunities to meet immediate needs for rental assistance and eviction prevention,” Immergluck said. “However, the need to understand its root causes, data challenges, policy responses and impacts has become even more important. We encourage decision makers to be aware of the lessons offered in this special edition. They offer critical support as rental assistance winds down and protections expire.”
Urban Studies Institute
Dan Immergluck is a Professor in the Urban Studies Institute. His research concerns neighborhood change, housing markets, neighborhood change, urban poverty and racial dynamics, financial markets and urban form, and community and economic development practice and policy. Professor Immergluck is the author of four books, more than sixty scholarly articles, numerous book chapters and encyclopedia entries, and scores of applied research and policy reports. His latest book is Preventing the Next Mortgage Crisis: The Meltdown, the Federal Response, and the Future of Housing in America (Rowman and Littlefield, 2015).