Eviction Prevention Today
As the pandemic evolves, so does the eviction situation. In September, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled President Biden’s extension of the eviction moratorium unconstitutional. Since then, we’re starting to see a rapid uptick in evictions in North Texas.
Eviction filings have been trending upward since February 2021, with September returning the highest number of filings—2,645—we’ve seen since before the pandemic hit. For reference, in February 2020, there were 3,951 filings.
The fact that eviction numbers aren’t yet back to pre-pandemic levels indicates that eviction prevention measures like DRAC are helping people stay in their homes. However, with the eviction moratorium over, it’s likely that we’ll see more people kicked out of their rentals every month.
And while hiring has improved throughout 2021, today renters are also facing higher costs. According to data from RealPage, rents rose 10.3% nationwide in the third quarter of the year alone. Landlords are eager to make up money lost during the height of the pandemic, so they’re increasing rent on existing tenants. Or, in extreme cases, landlords are purposefully pricing their current tenants out of a property so they can market the home or apartment at a much higher price—leaving some renters with nowhere to go.
Like so many other aspects of the pandemic, evictions are affecting women and Black residents the most. Current data shows us that 69% of households accessing rental assistance are Black and 71% have female heads of households.
“Housing instability and homelessness are inextricably linked to long-standing racial disparities and have been amplified during the pandemic,” Brundage explains.
However, there’s hope, she says: “Unprecedented federal resources have been made available during the pandemic that can be mobilized to address housing instability and homelessness. We need everyone’s help spreading the word about the availability of rental assistance. Together, we can improve access to housing stability for our neighbors.”