Although renter protections and economic assistance programs implemented since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic have reduced the overall number of evictions filings over the past two years, communities across Pennsylvania are still struggling with evictions, according to a recently released study by the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, of which LAMPa is a member. Read the full report.

The communities hardest hit by eviction filings in 2021 also experienced high levels of eviction filings before the pandemic. The study found that communities most at risk of evictions include neighborhoods with a high proportion of renters of color, cost-burdened renters, and female-headed households with children.   In comparing eviction filing rates by ZIP code to the percentage of renter households that were headed by a person of color (specifically, someone who is not White and/or Hispanic or Latino), there is a clear relationship—the higher the percentage of renters who are people of color in a ZIP code, the higher the eviction filing rate. Previous research has shown that the presence of children in households is an important predictor of eviction risk.  Households headed by females with children is also a predictor of evictions in Pennsylvania. ZIP codes with more female-headed households with children is also a predictor of evictions in Pennsylvania.

“Though we cannot make causal claims from these relatively simple analyses, the disparities shown along racial and socioeconomic lines remind us that evictions are a strong driver of continuing inequalities in our housing system,” the report states. “Analyzing eviction data helps us understand who is affected by evictions and allows us to evaluate the effectiveness of different eviction prevention programs.” See local data.

“This study is important for the light it can shed on what is happening in our communities — what is and isn’t working,” said LAMPa Director Tracey DePasquale.  “Although eviction doens’t necessarily lead to homelessness, it is incredibly traumatic for families. Whether triggered by a life crisis or a global pandemic, the disruption of eviction often leads to further negative health and economic consequences. Evictions tear apart community and exacerbate racial inequality.”

LAMPa advocates worked to secure renter protections during the pandemic and continue to focus on housing affordability through state and federal policy. Contact us to join the effort.

According to the ELCA social message, Homelessness: A Renewal of Commitment, “The Gospel does not provide ready-made solutions to homelessness. God’s love in Jesus Christ does, however, move us to care for homeless people as God cares for all. Christians who have shelter are called to care, called to walk with homeless people in their struggle for a more fulfilling life and for adequate, affordable, and sustainable housing.”

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