The Eviction Crisis Is Already Here and It's Crushing Black Moms

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  john-russell  •  2 weeks ago  •  31 comments

By:   vice

The Eviction Crisis Is Already Here and It's Crushing Black Moms
Mass evictions could be enormously destabilizing for communities of color, experts and housing advocates warn.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Mass evictions could be enormously destabilizing for communities of color, experts and housing advocates warn.

In late March, Lacresha Lewis was fired from her job as a package handler at FedEx. She had called out of multiple shifts because she couldn't find anyone to care for her three kids, she said. Once the coronavirus pandemic closed schools, they were stuck at home.

"I knew without that job, I wasn't going to be able to make the full payment of rent," said the 35-year-old single mother, who is Black.

She pays $1,025 a month for an apartment in Beaumont, Texas, and her stimulus check came just in time for her to make April's rent. But in the months that followed, Lewis quickly fell behind, since she, like many Americans, hasn't yet received the unemployment benefits she applied for. About two weeks ago, her landlord told her they'd proceed with evictions in August, Lewis said.

"I understood where they were coming from, because they're under contract with people that they have to pay to, but also everybody knows what everybody is going through," she said. "Everybody should be more understanding."

Amid widespread job loss, reduced hours, and pay cuts, more than 12.5 million renters, like Lewis, were unable to make their most recent payment, according to survey data collected last week and released by the U.S. Census Bureau Wednesday. And nearly 24 million people have little to no confidence in their ability to pay next month's rent, Census data show. Approximately 56% of those anxious renters are Black or Latinx — the populations that are also more likely to rent, and more likely to spend a bigger portion of their income on housing. That's while Black and Latinx people have been disproportionately harmed by the virus itself, and the resulting job loss.

Housing advocates anticipate that eviction filings against those vulnerable, non-paying households could eventually build into an onslaught of homelessness, especially as the patchwork safety net created to prevent widespread poverty during the pandemic erodes.

More than half of all U.S. states, including Texas, now lack the eviction moratoriums that were temporarily implemented by court or executive order at the onset of the pandemic, leaving the decision to move forward with proceedings up to local courts, city governments, and landlords. The CARES Act eviction protection for tenants living in federally backed properties expires July 25, and Congress is still determining whether it will extend or slash the extra $600 weekly benefit for unemployed workers that's set to end this month.

For some Americans, the eviction crisis is already here.

While the pandemic was raging, thousands of new residential eviction cases were filed against tenants nationwide. And nearly two-thirds of those cases were among renters living in communities with above-average minority populations, according to a recent Center for Public Integrity report that examined more than 8,000 cases filed between March 27 and July 10.

That disparity was present before the virus, too. Over the past few years, as the affordable housing shortage has deepened nationwide, regional studies of eviction records in Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Chicago, and Boston have shown that renters residing in predominantly Black neighborhoods face higher rates of eviction filings. And women are especially vulnerable. According to one January analysis of eviction data from the American Civil Liberties Union, landlords filed evictions against Black women at almost twice the rate of white renters in 17 out of 36 states between 2012 and 2016.

"The overwhelming majority of our housing clients are Black mothers," said Isaac Sturgill, the housing practice group manager at Legal Aid of North Carolina, which represents low-income tenants. "That problem is just going to be exacerbated."


"It's a very dark thought."

Dana Karni, a Houston-based managing attorney for Lone Star Legal Aid's eviction right to counsel unit, can see now how the cycle of poverty might play out.

Black and Latinx renters — primarily women, often single mothers — will be evicted during a global pandemic. They'll build up credit card debt while trying to survive. Their cars will be repossessed because they can't make payments, potentially leaving them without a place to shelter. And they may wind up in bankruptcy court.

"I don't want to think about what our society will look like when a good number — large numbers — of single moms, are unemployed, struggling to raise their kids, dealing with homelessness and hygiene issues," Karni said. "It's a very dark thought."

Mass evictions could be enormously destabilizing for communities of color, experts and housing advocates warn. Evictions can wear on a person's credit score, stain their rental history, and push families into substandard rental units as they search for affordable housing in a country that increasingly has little of it to go around.

'I'm not prepared'

Lewis, for example, was evicted last year and was homeless for several months as a result. To get back on her feet, she had to work two jobs, her children had to receive social security benefits, and she had to be willing to pay twice the usual security deposit on the apartment she moved into in December. She doesn't want to go through that again.

"I'm not prepared," Lewis said. "But I know what to look forward to."

A spokesperson for FedEx, when asked about Lewis' firing over child care issues, told VICE News that "FedEx Ground takes these concerns seriously and will have the appropriate representative contact Ms. Lewis to clarify this matter."

A wave of evictions may ultimately erase the little progress that's been made in addressing housing segregation over the past few decades, said Eric Dunn, director of litigation at the National Housing Law Project. People with eviction records will be pushed out of more desirable homes and communities and into the neighborhoods where landlords are willing to overlook tarnished credit and rental histories.

"What it's really going to do is re-segregate communities the same as redlining and other policies of that nature did over the preceding decades," Dunn said.

That could be compounded by foreclosures, too. Homeowners are also suffering, even if not on quite the same scale as renters. Nearly 15 million owner-occupied housing units have little to no confidence in their ability to pay next month's mortgage bill, according to Census data. Nearly 2 million of those homeowners are Black, which is especially concerning since that demographic has already faced declining rates of homeownership.

"The foreclosure cases are definitely coming," Sturgill said.

And the landlords who've gone months without payment may be among them.

The domino effect

There's a domino effect that takes place when property owners can't collect rent, said Robert Pinnegar, the chief executive officer of the National Apartment Association. Landlords aren't paying just their mortgages but also often the salaries of their own staff, maintenance costs, and property taxes.

Already, properties that low-income renters can afford are in short supply, in part because they're not profitable to build.

If operators of the nation's remaining affordable buildings are forced into foreclosure or selling off their units, the squeeze on affordable housing could become even more dire.

"You only need to get one or two months behind in rent, and the whole model, especially for smaller operators, becomes in jeopardy," said Pinnegar. "We had a housing affordability crisis going into this, and my fear is that harm is done to the delicate balance of our housing stock, and we have an even worse problem on the other side of this."

Pinnegar supports direct rental subsidies to those "that truly need help," he said, in addition to widespread mortgage forbearance. In the meantime, he said, property owners should work with their residents to keep them in place by offering payment plans.

The ramifications of eviction

Democrats proposed shoring up renters and homeowners with $100 billion in emergency rental assistance and $75 billion in mortgage relief in the HEROES Act, the $3 trillion relief package that the House of Representatives passed in May. There's also a bill, introduced in June by Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others, to stall many evictions until March 2021.

But those proposals are unlikely to succeed in their current form in a Republican-controlled Senate.

"Without significant federal intervention, there will be a wave in evictions and a spike in homelessness across the country," said Diane Yentel, the president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Natasha McLean was laid off from her job transporting kids with disabilities to and from school in March. She hasn't paid the $775 monthly rent for her Richmond, Virginia apartment since then, and is now among the renters who are currently on the knife's edge of eviction and frustrated with government inaction.

McLean only just began receiving unemployment benefits in June, right around the time Virginia's supreme court allowed the state's eviction moratorium to end. By that time, she was already months behind on her rent. Her landlord took her to court for non-payment on July 13.

"We're supposed to be the richest country in the world, and I don't feel like there's help for people in my predicament," the 42-year-old said.

Her attorney, Palmer Heenan of the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, successfully requested that her case be delayed until September, using a new state law that temporarily protects tenants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic from immediate removal if they request help in court. That gave her a bit more time to catch up.

"I can't say that eviction is worse than going through a criminal prosecution, but if it's not worse, it certainly comes close," Heenan said. "The ramifications of eviction are catastrophic."


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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

There are millions of people who need a steady income for them to make rent.  So now we will have countless single mothers and their children living on the streets because we don't want to raise the deficit. The federal government can print money to avert disasters  but these single mothers and other paycheck to paycheck people cannot. 

 
 
 
Dean Moriarty
2  Dean Moriarty    2 weeks ago

I see two big problems here.

1. Single mothers
2. Having kids they can’t afford. 

 
 
 
Release The Kraken
2.1  Release The Kraken  replied to  Dean Moriarty @2    2 weeks ago

It doesn't help that white kids are marching around and burning their homes and businesses while other white people make excuses for it because they think it's a worthy cause.

It also doesn't help that their mayors continue to impose their anti-capitalist restrictions on local economies in the name of public safety when it's clear that poverty is a much greater threat.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.1.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Release The Kraken @2.1    2 weeks ago

800

 
 
 
XDm9mm
2.1.3  XDm9mm  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @2.1.2    2 weeks ago
Maybe you should actually look at the facts. 7 out of 10 single moms are white. 

Maybe you should check your own "facts" PH....

Four out of ten is more likely, unless of course, you add Latinos and Asians in to come up with your seven of ten number.

But then when you do the stare and compare as to percentages of population, the number change yet again.   Whites (Caucasian) are about 70% of the population, so four out of ten single female households as compared to three out of ten of a percentage of the population that represents about 13% is a significant difference.  

 
 
 
Release The Kraken
2.1.4  Release The Kraken  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @2.1.2    2 weeks ago

Maybe you should respond with recent data, minority single mothers were doing much better six months ago.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
2.1.5  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Release The Kraken @2.1.4    2 weeks ago

You've got to be kidding. The data is the most recent and I doubt much has changed in 2 years. Have you seen any huge changes in our society that would change the data. If anything more white people are going that way.

 
 
 
r.t..b...
2.1.6  r.t..b...  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @2.1.5    2 weeks ago
If anything more white people are going that way.

Agreed. And until then, nothing of substance will change.

 
 
 
Tessylo
2.1.7  Tessylo  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @2.1.2    2 weeks ago

Facts/Shmacts

 
 
 
r.t..b...
2.2  r.t..b...  replied to  Dean Moriarty @2    2 weeks ago
I see two big problems here. 1. Single mothers   2. Having kids they can’t afford. 

To put that under a microscope;

1. Absentee fathers

2. Absentee fathers

 
 
 
Kathleen
2.2.1  Kathleen  replied to  r.t..b... @2.2    2 weeks ago

“Absentee fathers”

Unless it’s from death or divorce,  maybe some of these women should be more selective with whom they have sex with. 

I can never understand why some of these women pick these men that are not responsible and take off....

 
 
 
lady in black
2.3  lady in black  replied to  Dean Moriarty @2    2 weeks ago

Some mothers may be widows ever think about that.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
2.3.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  lady in black @2.3    2 weeks ago

Of course he didn't! They're all welfare moms and have never been married! Hell, each kid has a different daddy!

SARCASM FONT OFF!

 
 
 
Dean Moriarty
2.3.2  Dean Moriarty  replied to  lady in black @2.3    2 weeks ago

Yes in urban liberals dumps like Detroit a male is lucky to make it through his twenties. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
3  seeder  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

Why don't we have government housing for EVERYONE who is susceptible to being evicted because they lose income for two or three months? 

Or you prefer millions of homeless families? 

 
 
 
XDm9mm
3.1  XDm9mm  replied to  JohnRussell @3    2 weeks ago
Why don't we have government housing for EVERYONE who is susceptible to being evicted because they lose income for two or three months?

Easy answer.....   the low income housing that was being built was BURNED TO THE FUCKING GROUND.

Fires continued to smoulder Thursday morning at the site of Midtown Corner, a partially built apartment building in Minneapolis that burned down during a night of protests over the killing of George Floyd .

The project was run by developer Wellington Management; Executive Vice President David Wellington confirmed that the building was his and that all members of his team were safe.

This is a rendering of the proposed Midtown Corner apartments. They're on the corner of 26th Avenue South and East Lake Street in Minneapolis

WELLINGTON MANAGEMENT

The project broke ground in the summer of 2019, and was expected to finish later this year. The exterior of all six floors was already finished but only the first floor, designated for retail use — and, unlike the stick-built upper levels, made of concrete — was left standing.

Midtown Corner's upper five stories were planned affordable housing . The building would have had 190 units, with rent keyed to households making between 60 and 80 percent of the area's median income.

The apartments were the final piece in Wellington's development of the former Rainbow Foods space on East Lake Street. It had already finished adding an Aldi and a charter school called Universal Academy. Both of those buildings were also damaged in the protests.

 
 
 
charger 383
3.1.1  charger 383  replied to  XDm9mm @3.1    2 weeks ago

you can't even build places for them to live in. Ungrateful they are, also loud and mouthy

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
3.1.2  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  charger 383 @3.1.1    2 weeks ago

The amazing thing is, in my opinion, there are a lot of homeless people who would love the same kind of consideration. Especially our homeless veterans as I am sure they would appreciate it just as much if not more. But yet here we are. Picking winners and losers..........again. Or is that turning losers INTO winners.........

 
 
 
Tessylo
3.1.3  Tessylo  replied to  XDm9mm @3.1    2 weeks ago
"Easy answer.....   the low income housing that was being built was BURNED TO THE FUCKING GROUND."

So that's the case EVERYWHERE FOR PEOPLE BEING EVICTED BECAUSE THEY CAN'T PAY THEIR RENT DUE TO CO-VID OR OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES?

 
 
 
Tessylo
3.1.4  Tessylo  replied to  charger 383 @3.1.1    2 weeks ago

So uppity of them that they live in poverty and they have such an equal playing field.  

 
 
 
Texan1211
3.1.5  Texan1211  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @3.1.2    2 weeks ago

spot on.

why should single moms be given deference over vets?

 
 
 
Texan1211
3.2  Texan1211  replied to  JohnRussell @3    2 weeks ago
Why don't we have government housing for EVERYONE who is susceptible to being evicted because they lose income for two or three months? 

Because it is not economically feasible, and how long do you think it would take to build those units?

And what do we do with the units when the crisis is over?

 
 
 
Tessylo
3.3  Tessylo  replied to  JohnRussell @3    2 weeks ago

Well that's only been a problem for about two years now and now with the Co-Vid19 situation, well . . . and all the problems of the world are the fault of democrats and liberals don't you know?

But I digress . . . . 

https://www.countable.us/articles/30651-trump-homelessness-phenomenon-started-two-years-ago-says-administration-intercede

Trump: Homelessness ‘Phenomenon That Started Two Years Ago,’ Says Administration ‘May Intercede’

What’s the story?
  • President Donald Trump told   Fox News   that his administration “may intercede” to combat people “living in hell” due to homelessness in major U.S. cities.
"We may intercede. We may do something to get that whole thing cleaned up. It's inappropriate. Now, we have to take the people and we have to do something. We're really not very equipped as a government to be doing that kind of work."
  • He added: "You can't have what's happening—where police officers are getting sick just by walking the beat. I mean, they're getting actually very sick, where people are getting sick, where the people living there living in hell, too."

What are the numbers?

  • Trump’s comments came in response to   recent figures   showing the number of homeless people in Los Angeles County ballooned 12% in the past year.
  • San Francisco saw a   17% jump   in the number of homeless residents over the last two years.
  • Nationally, the number of homeless people in the U.S. remained relatively level between 2016 and 2018, rising from 550,000 to 553,000 last year.

Who’s to blame?

  • Trump blasted the “liberal establishment” and sanctuary cities run by “very liberal people” for the homeless crisis.
  • “It's a phenomenon that started two years ago. It's disgraceful,” Trump said, alluding to when he took office.
“You see what’s happening in California, where they just announced a plan to give free healthcare to illegal immigrants, when it could very well be used — all of that money — to provide housing and hospitalization and medical for the rising number of homeless people. Then the Democratic-run cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco — do you see what’s happening to those cities?”
  • Mental illness, he said, may also be a factor.
“Some of them have mental problems where they don’t even know they’re living that way,” he said. “In fact, perhaps they like living that way. They can’t do that. We cannot ruin our cities. And you have people that work in those cities. They work in office buildings and to get into the building, they have to walk through a scene that nobody would have believed possible three years ago.”

What’s the solution?

  • Trump lamented the problem of foreign nationals visiting Washington, D.C., and seeing a surfeit of homeless.
  • "When we have leaders of the world coming in to see the president of the United States and they're riding down a highway, they can't be looking at that," he said. "They can't be looking at scenes like you see in Los Angeles and San Francisco... So we're looking at it very seriously. We may intercede. We may do something to get that whole thing cleaned up."
  • Trump said he personally “ended” the homeless problems in D.C., but did not elaborate on how.
"You know, I had a situation when I first became president. We had certain areas of Washington, D.C., where that was starting to happen, and I ended it very quickly. I said, 'You can't do that.' "
  • Homeless numbers in the D.C. are, indeed, at their lowest level since 2001, but they had been dropping before Trump arrived in the capital.
  • In January 2018, the administration announced $2 billion in grants for local agencies trying to help the homeless.
 
 
 
charger 383
4  charger 383    2 weeks ago

This is a lesson for future decisions,  Birth control and abortions are cheaper than paying all these people's rent,  Don't have kids you can't afford,  

 

 
 
 
lady in black
4.1  lady in black  replied to  charger 383 @4    2 weeks ago

Some women may be widows, ever think about that

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
4.1.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  lady in black @4.1    2 weeks ago

From what I understand, you are a widow are you not? Just HOW do you make it /s

 
 
 
charger 383
4.1.2  charger 383  replied to  lady in black @4.1    2 weeks ago

That is why they sell life insurance, 

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
4.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  charger 383 @4    2 weeks ago

Conservatives don't want to hear that, tho....abortions and birth control

 
 
 
Tessylo
4.3  Tessylo  replied to  charger 383 @4    2 weeks ago

I'm sure they'll take that into consideration 

jrSmiley_78_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Texan1211
4.4  Texan1211  replied to  charger 383 @4    2 weeks ago

I agree that abortions an BC are cheaper.

I hate that it has to come down to what we have to pay because others won't take personal responsibilit , though.

 
 
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