Local and National Research on Evictions and Eviction Prevention

April 6, 2021 

COVID-19 has drawn back the curtain of the precariousness of housing stability for families across Pennsylvania. The study of evictions and eviction prevention has received a lot of attention in the past several years including the advent of Eviction Lab compiling and analyzing nationwide eviction data (including data on PA evictions from 2000 to 2016) to Allegheny County’s in-depth eviction study. Studies and reports such as these help us better understand who is being impacted by evictions and the underlying reasons for evictions. With this knowledge, we can better craft and advocate for effective eviction prevention and diversion solutions. Below is not an exhaustive list of research on evictions and eviction prevention, but includes several resources we use repeatedly. 

Allegheny County DHS In-Depth Evictions Study 

Allegheny County Department of Human Services and The Pittsburgh Foundation wanted to learn more about evictions in the region: How many evictions cases are filed each year, and for how much money? How many cases are filed against low-income tenants? And how many cases do tenants win in comparison to landlords? This report describes the available data about landlord–tenant cases in Allegheny County from 2012 to 2019 and the quantitative insights we have been able to learn from it. 

Landlord–tenant cases in Pennsylvania are governed by statewide law. With the exception of Philadelphia, which has its own municipal court system, the rules are the same no matter what county the case is heard. The Allegheny County Dept of Human Services outlines the eviction process in this document

The Reinvestment Fund Studies Who is Facing Eviction Filings in Philadelphia by Race and Ethnicity 

In Evictions in Philadelphia: Race (and Place) Matters, the Reinvestment Fund studied how many Black and Latino renters were impacted by eviction filings compared to other racial and ethnic groups. The study also looked at the demographic makeup of eviction filings in different census tracts to see where the most evictions were being filed in the city by the race and ethnicity of the defendants.  

Urban Institute’s Emergency Rental Assistance Priority Index 

The Urban Institute developed a tool, the Emergency Rental Assistance Priority Index, that can help administrators of the Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Program know where to prioritize these critical funds. The tool is an index at the census tract level to show where need may be greatest so that emergency rental funds can be targeted equitably. The tool creates an index of where to prioritize emergency rental assistance funds based on the three sub-indices: housing instability of the area, where COVID-19 could have the largest impact, and equity.  

New Research and Case Studies from the National Low Income Housing Coalition  

Our national partners, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), in addition to releasing its annual The Gap report that measures the availability of rental housing affordable to extremely low income households, recently released several other reports and case studies. NLIHC released, Study of Emergency Rental Assistance Programs Identifies Barriers and Best Practices. This research provides their findings and recommendations for program design and implementation of emergency rental assistance programs.  

NLIHC also released, New Case Studies Examine Advancing Racial Equity and Serving Extremely Low-Income Households through Emergency Rental Assistance Programs. These study briefs example two rental assistance programs and how they incorporated racial equity into their program design.  

U.S. Government Accountability Office Examines Eviction Moratorium Efficacy 

In its COVID-10 Housing Protections report, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that while the CDC eviction moratorium did prevent eviction filings, that some eligible renters did not benefit from it. The GAO also found that the number of eviction filings were higher under the CDC moratorium than previous CARES Act moratorium on evictions. In addition, eviction filings were higher in localities where there was not a separate local or state moratorium on evictions in addition to the CDC eviction moratorium.  

National Housing Law Project Reviews the Current CDC Eviction Moratorium

The National Housing Law Project provides an in-depth review of the CDC Eviction Moratorium including its provisions through its most recent extension to June 30, 2021.