Affordable Housing, Community Development, Homelessness, Reports and Publications

Poor, Black Women are Disproportionately at Risk of Eviction

American Journal of Science

Poor, black women are disproportionately at risk of eviction according to a new study “Eviction and the Reproduction of Urban Poverty” by Matthew Desmond of Harvard University which looked at eviction in Milwaukee from 2003 to 2007. During that time, 16,000 people were evicted each year in a city that has 6,000 housing units. It is an average of 16 evictions a day where almost half occurred in predominately black, high poverty neighborhoods.

Of the evictions in the predominately black, high poverty neighborhoods, 60.6% of those evicted were women. In Milwaukee, women in black neighborhoods account for 9.6% of the population but consist of 30% of those evicted. The report noted that in predominately black neighborhoods, women tend to be leaseholders due to the high levels of incarceration and unemployment experienced by men in those neighborhoods.

The study found that stagnant incomes, welfare stipends and higher housing costs all contributed to the eviction of those in the study. Additionally, some of the households involved in the study paid 80%-90% of their household income to rent, making them more susceptible to situations that would result in eviction.

Once evicted, households had a hard time finding affordable housing again since many landlords are averse to renting to someone who has been previously evicted. Previous evictions are also grounds for application rejection for the Milwaukee Section 8 waiting list. These policies put many households at risk for housing instability and homelessness. The report offers a few suggestions on how to best assist households at risk of eviction.

Visit the NLIHC website for a summary of the report. 
Click here for the full report. 


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