Eviction Resolution Project
Preventing Displacement and Fostering Housing Stability in Guilford County
CHCS has conducted research on evictions in Greensboro for several years. Now, in partnership with Legal Aid of NC and the Greensboro Housing Coalition, we are launching a one-year demonstration project to intervene in eviction cases and help tenants remain in their homes. This innovative program will provide legal assistance and in appropriate cases emergency financial assistance to tenants. The program also will link tenants to needed social services addressing long-term issues of health care, domestic violence, job training and substance abuse. This way, in addition resolving the immediate eviction crisis, the program will try to get at the underlying contributing factors and break the endless cycles of eviction and homelessness. With the demonstration project launched, CHCS will assume the role of program evaluator. We are in the process of developing and securing funding for developmental and summative evaluation to continue over the one-year term of the program and around six months afterward.
Eviction In Greensboro
In general, evictions have a negative impact on at least three groups:
- Matthew Desmond’s book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in American Cities offers a vivid description of the multiple impacts of eviction on tenants. Tenants, like the families in Evicted, who lose everything they have acquired and must start over, now with limited options due to evictions on their records and with psychological scarring from the trauma.
- Landlords who lose rent, pay court filing costs and spend time in court, prepare the house or apartment for re-renting, market it, and wait until new tenants pay deposits.
- Local institutions: Public schools whose students enroll and withdraw repeatedly; hospitals whose patients’ chronic diseases become uncontrolled in the stressful process; homeless shelters who provide temporary space for displaced tenants; and other community agencies and support systems.
In our recent analysis of summary ejectment court proceedings, we found that 99% of cases involve non-payment of rent (based on landlord filing). While other municipalities have begun to consider “right to counsel” ordinances in eviction cases (see righttocounselnyc.org), tenants in Greensboro seldom appear in court (1 out of 4 cases) and lack legal representation when they do appear. We also conducting interviews with individuals who were evicted. Here’s some of what heard:
- Evictions being used as a collections tool – “Every Time I’m late, which is almost every month, they file the eviction papers and I get charged the late fee and the court fee. That’s an extra $200 a month. Ever since my husband had lost his main job, and I been waiting on disability; we get filed on every month.”
- Evictions being used to move out old tenants and make way for higher rent – “About 3 years ago my landlord at the time, after 18 years, sold the property I’m renting. They went up on the rent and I’ve just had a hard time paying it with all the other bills.”
- Poor property maintenance leading to inability to pay full rent ”we asked the landlord to start making repairs to the bathroom. She refused to repair. Because we were doing some repairs here and there ourselves, and because the bills were sky high because of the lack of energy efficiency of the structure, we started making partial payments. She evicted us because we wouldn’t pay the full rent when she refused to make the property livable.”
Recent coverage of our research on evictions in the press:
O’Neil, Bill. “Reasons behind Greensboro high eviction rate.” WXII News. June 1, 2018 http://www.wxii12.com/article/reasons-behind-greensboro-high-eviction-rate/21056312
Maciag, Mike. “Where Evictions Are Most Common” Governing Magazine. June 2018. http://www.governing.com/topics/health-human-services/gov-eviction-epidemic.html
Yost, Scott D. “Guilford County and UNCG, Looking for New Answers to Old Problems with Data Mining” Rhino Times. May 17, 2018. http://www.rhinotimes.com/news/guilford-county-uncg-looking-new-answers-old-problems-data-mining/
Green, Jordan. “Citizen Green: Dangerous housing, evictions, supply all go together” Triad City Beat. May 17, 2018. https://triad-city-beat.com/citizen-green-dangerous-housing-evictions-supply-all-go-together/
Stasio, Frank and Terry, Dana. “Greensboro Eviction Rates Are Among The Highest In The Country” WUNC Radio The State of Things. May 10, 2018. http://wunc.org/post/greensboro-eviction-rates-are-among-highest-country#stream/0
Rickard, Tim. “Report: Greensboro among top cities in the nation for evictions” Greensboro News and Record. May 4, 2018 http://www.greensboro.com/news/local_news/report-greensboro-among-top-cities-in-the-nation-for-evictions/article_79009d48-27e3-546c-ba96-3dcb04d5cd93.html