Fannie Mae Foundation
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This article presents the limited existing data on evictions and the eviction process and suggests a number of ways to reduce the incidence and impact of evictions, which disproportionately affect lower-income and minority tenants. Chester Hartman and David Robinson contend that creating a national database of detailed information on evictions would help to determine the scope of the problem, bring national attention to this issue, and develop housing policies and programs that might decrease the occurrence and effect of evictions. The authors compile what little data exist on evictions, analyze the data, and call for the creation of a national eviction database. They also confront key definitional issues related to evictions to ensure that the full range of ways in which tenants are forced to vacate rental units is included in the discussion. The authors acknowledge that given the definitional issues related to evictions, data collection will be challenging. Evictions where there are no formal court proceedings will be difficult to track. Further, many different actors in the eviction process, such as the courts, government entities, and nonprofits, would all have to standardize data collection and change the type of information they presently collect. The authors present evidence that the impact of evictions can be severe: Evictions can result in homelessness and can trigger negative changes in the lives of the displaced. Evictions are disproportionately experienced by minority and poor tenants. Hartman and Robinson point out deficiencies in the legal system, where tenant protections against evictions are weakening. Calling for the creation of a national database on evictions, they cite the need for solid data to help create remedies to prevent and limit the number of evictions and lessen the impact of forced moves.


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