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Matthew Desmond's "Evicted" gets the public's attention--will it catalyze change?

    "Evicted" is all over the news. Author Matthew Desmond has a "hit" on his hands with a new book entitled "Evicted." The book focuses on the lives of poor families in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the devastation caused by the constant threat of involuntary displacement and the risk of homelessness.
    RHINO members know that we covered the problem of eviction months ago (with less fanfare). You can read that series here.
    Hopefully Desmond's appearances on national radio, the great reviews and his scheduled appearance at this year's COHHIO conference will help fan the flames for eviction reform.
    You can find links to news stories about "Evicted" here and read RHINO's series on Eviction in Ohio. 

What's News?
October 21, 2017, Who in Ohio will make eviction reform an issue?
      NextCity reports on efforts by Philadelphia's mayor and council to protect tenants from eviction. "Earlier this month, City Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. introduced a bill that would require landlords to provide a 'good cause' when seeking to evict tenants after a lease ends. It would also dictate that a landlord who wants to raise rent must first give an existing tenant the chance to accept the new rate. And it would give tenants the right to appeal a landlord’s “good cause” finding to the Fair Housing Commission. The proposal is modeled after other cities, like Seattle and Oakland, that have “just cause” eviction provisions on the books."

October 20, 2017 Revisiting Eviction
     Apartment List says "Clearly, America is increasingly confronting the eviction crisis that its renters face. But, with that said, it is difficult to address a problem that we can’t fully measure, and there is currently a serious lack of comprehensive nationwide data on evictions. Using court records, we can track evictions adjudicated in legal proceedings, but those records are not stored in a central database and fail to capture the many evictions that occur informally. For every household that goes through eviction, there are many others struggling to pay rent and living with the threat of eviction close at hand."
      The Apartment Life study also captures some of the impacts of eviction that don't show up in the court data. "Missed rent payments often lead to eviction, which uproots households, destabilizes families and communities and creates an instability from which it can be extremely difficult to recover. Evictions are a leading cause of homelessness, and research shows that frequent moves lead to poor educational performance and increased behavioral problems in children. Even when they do not face eviction, members of households that struggle to pay rent live with the fear of housing insecurity, which often means sacrificing other basic needs, such as food and transportation."
Take a read through this important study as you consider how to reduce eviction where you live and work.
     More on the Apartment List Study here.

NextCity profiles Baltimore Housing Court
Guess what.  Same story for Baltimore tenants-pay up or move.  NextCity says that these no choice options perpetuate bad housing and segregation. "Each courtroom visit, the same complaints are made, the same issues described, and the same ultimatum given: Jennings must pay her rent or risk eviction. Although the conditions of her house are poor — the basement sink had water running for two months straight, paint hangs from her roof and water has settled in the ceilings — Jennings is in no position to negotiate. “You can start talking, but then the judges say, ‘I understand, but we’re here in reference to this rent, do you owe this rent?’ They don’t want to hear whether or not you have any issues, 'Jennings says. “They don’t want none of that'.”

November 8, 2014 Canton Repository Canton addresses eviction
A story in the Canton Repository says: "Evictions remain steady locally. Despite the improving economy, the amount of evictions in western Stark County have remained steady. Officials arlooking for way to keep tenants out of eviction court" The article describes the use of mediation and supportive services to keep a roof over the heads of a family. "Fichter, who hears eviction cases every Wednesday, said these cases are the hardest part of his job. Though, at least when he sends a defendant to jail she has a roof over her head and food to eat. When I evict someone, there may be nowhere to go,' he said. 'A lot of them have young children.' ”